Oct 25

Are you struggling with low back pain? If so, you’re not alone. About 80% of adults will experience lower back pain throughout their lifetime, and it’s one of the most common issues we see here at our acupuncture clinic in downtown Edmonton. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of acupuncture for low back pain and share what you need to know before booking acupuncture for your lower back pain!


acupuncture for low back pain


First, What Type of Low Back Pain Can Acupuncture Help?

We will dive into some of the reasons you might be experiencing lower back pain below, but before we start talking about your muscles, here are some of the symptoms we treat under the umbrella of lower back pain:

  • Muscle spasms and tightness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Discomfort when transitioning from sitting to standing
  • Worsening pain while sitting but relief with walking or movement
  • A tingling sensation in the lower back that may extend to one or both legs (commonly known as sciatica).


Understanding the causes of low back pain

Before we delve into how acupuncture can help with low back pain, let’s first understand what causes this common condition. Various factors, such as muscle strains, herniated discs, arthritis, and poor posture, can cause low back pain. It can also result from underlying medical conditions, such as kidney stones or infections.

acupuncture for low back pain initial consultation with Monica Patt

Among the most common contributors are the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle, which connects the 12th rib to the lumbar vertebrae and iliac crest, playing a key role in lifting and twisting. Additionally, the SI joint, involved in almost 90% of lower back pain cases, can be a significant factor. Lastly, the Erector Spinae, Multifidus, and Glutes, which are large muscle groups, are also frequently implicated in lower back pain. Understanding these main areas can help identify and address the causes of this discomfort. Like anything we treat here in our clinic, each case is different, and we will always start with a thorough evaluation before recommending any treatment. Don’t worry – it’s not as intimidating as it sounds!



How does acupuncture work for low back pain?

Acupuncture is a safe, drug-free alternative to treat back pain. It works in a multitude of ways, but for the sake of brevity, here are four main ways that we use acupuncture for low back pain:


  1. Alleviating Pain & Inflammation: Acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins and other neurochemicals that aid in diminishing the perception of pain.
  2. Addressing tight muscle tissue and ligaments: By using motor point and acupuncture point needling, we can help relax tight muscles and improve joint mobility.
  3. Improving circulation: Acupuncture helps to increase blood flow to the area, which allows for improved nutrient delivery and increased healing. 
  4. Electrical acupuncture: to reduce pain and inflammation and improve blood flow and circulation to result in faster healing.


It’s important to note that the effectiveness of acupuncture for low back pain may vary from person to person. While some individuals report significant pain reduction after acupuncture treatments, others may experience more modest or temporary relief. The success of acupuncture also depends on factors such as the severity and duration of the low back pain, as well as the individual’s overall health and response to treatment. Please talk to your acupuncturist for more details specific to your treatment!


Benefits of acupuncture for low back pain

Acupuncture offers several potential benefits for individuals with low back pain. One of the main advantages is that it is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment option. Unlike medications or surgical interventions, acupuncture carries minimal risk of side effects and can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Research has shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic low back pain when combined with other therapies, such as exercise and medication. In addition to pain relief, acupuncture may also help improve sleep quality, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance overall well-being. Many of our clients report feeling a sense of relaxation and calm during and after an acupuncture session, which can have a positive impact on their mental and emotional health.



What to expect during an acupuncture session for low back pain

If you’re considering acupuncture for low back pain, it’s important to know what to expect during a typical session. We understand that you might be nervous before your first treatment. We do everything we can to prepare you and make your appointment as stress-free as possible. The first step is to find a qualified acupuncture practitioner with experience treating low back pain (hi – that’s us!), and then during your initial consultation, your acupuncturist will assess your condition and medical history to develop a personalized treatment plan. Someone on our team will examine your back, ask about your symptoms, and may perform additional diagnostic tests if necessary. This thorough evaluation will help your acupuncturist determine the possible underlying causes of your lower back pain and tailor the treatment accordingly.

Once the treatment plan is established, you will usually be asked to lie down on a comfortable treatment table. The acupuncturist will then insert thin, sterile needles into specific points on your body. The needles are typically left in place for 15 to 30 minutes while you relax and allow the treatment to take effect. You may experience a mild sensation during needle insertion, but it should not be painful. After the needles are removed, the acupuncturist may recommend additional therapies, such as cupping or herbal remedies, to complement the acupuncture treatment. They will also provide guidance on self-care techniques and lifestyle modifications that can support your recovery and prevent future low back pain. After all, we believe in a holistic wellness approach here.


explaining the causes of low back pain as an acupuncturist


Finding a qualified acupuncture practitioner

When it comes to acupuncture for low back pain, it’s essential to seek treatment from a qualified and experienced practitioner. After all, Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the body. Improper technique or inadequate training can lead to complications or ineffective treatment. 

To find a qualified acupuncturist, consider the following tips:

  1. Seek recommendations from your primary care physician or trusted healthcare providers.
  2. Look for acupuncturists who are licensed and registered with reputable professional organizations, such as the College of Acupuncturists of Alberta (CAA).
  3. Research the acupuncturist’s education, training, and experience in treating low back pain specifically.
  4. Read reviews and testimonials from previous patients to understand their satisfaction and results. You can read our Google reviews here!

But here’s the good news – you’ve already found exactly who you are looking for! You can learn more about our talented team here, or head here to book your first appointment with us!


Trying Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

In conclusion, acupuncture can be a viable treatment option for individuals suffering from low back pain. Especially when used in conjunction with other therapies, acupuncture has been shown to provide pain relief and improve functional mobility. By understanding the principles behind acupuncture, consulting with a qualified practitioner, and following a personalized treatment plan, you can take steps toward finding relief and improving your overall well-being. If you’re considering acupuncture for low back pain, we would love to hear from you. We answer some more frequently asked questions here, and when you are ready, you can book your initial consultation here. We would love to welcome you into our Edmonton acupuncture clinic!

Remember, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or therapy, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking medications. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.



Sudhakaran P. Acupuncture for Low-Back Pain. Med Acupunct. 2021 Jun 1;33(3):219-225. doi: 10.1089/acu.2020.1499. Epub 2021 Jun 16. PMID: 34239663; PMCID: PMC8236296.