At 80, a Texas woman obtains back pain relief through acupuncture

Jun 13 2011
In this day and age, the advancements in medical knowledge and technology have made it possible for doctors to treat an array of conditions - from cancer to back pain - more effectively than ever before.

However, when it comes to back pain treatments, many health practitioners caution against starting with invasive procedures such as spine surgery, as these can have significant side effects that may include scarring, blood loss or infection risk.

Instead, after careful consultation with their physicians, many patients begin with conservative therapies, which often bring long-lasting pain relief. These include physical therapy, massages, anti-inflammatory medications as well as hot and cold compresses applied to the sore area.

Some people have also found successful outcomes with alternative healing techniques. Prominent among them is acupuncture, whereby patients are treated through the insertion and manipulation of needles at specific points in the body.

Hailing from China and practiced as early as 2nd century BCE, acupuncture has been used for a variety of conditions overtime, including infertility, headaches and stomach ailments.

More recently, scientific studies found evidence that acupuncture may help relieve some of the more bothersome side effects of chemotherapy such as dry mouth, and there have been reports of significant improvement of back pain symptoms from the technique.

A recent article published by the Associated Press profiled 80-year-old Roberta Land of Texas who had developed leg and back pain problems following nerve damage due to several surgeries.

Her therapist, Randy Zhang, who is a licensed acupuncturist through the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, says that "research is finding that endorphins are the natural painkiller in the body [and] acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins," as quoted by the news source.

As for his patient, she praises the results of her treatment that allow her to country dance twice a week.

Despite many promising studies on acupuncture's benefits, it is important to stress that alternative medicine should not be used in place of mainstream treatments, but rather as a complementary method, and only after consultation with a physician.