Does Acupuncture For Facet Joint Pain Work?


You never realize how much you use your back until it starts hurting. Facet joint pain is a type of back pain that affects the facet joints, which are located on either side of each vertebra. These joints help stabilize the spine as you bend, twist, and straighten up. But when these joints become inflamed, either due to an injury, repetitive stress, or a degenerative condition, they can make every movement painful. If you’re suffering from back pain due to facet joint inflammation, you may be wondering if acupuncture for facet joint pain really works, and if it can finally help you find relief. 

Acupuncture is particularly effective for treating facet joint pain. Not only does acupuncture reduce inflammation of the facet joints, but it also alleviates referred pain in the hips, buttocks, thighs, and knees.  

How does acupuncture fight facet joint pain?

Although acupuncture has many benefits to offer, including reducing stress and enhancing emotional well-being, it is primarily used as an alternative treatment for pain. Acupuncture is particularly effective for treating musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Because acupuncture views the body from a holistic perspective, it can help you overcome not just your facet joint pain, but also any referred pain you may be struggling with as a result of it. 

When acupuncture needles are inserted, this has an immediate effect on the nervous system. First, it causes the muscles in the surrounding area to twitch and release built-up tension. Next, it boosts blood flow, triggering a surge in oxygen and nutrients to the inflamed tissues. This increase in circulation also enables the body to remove inflammatory cells, like cytokines, so the injured tissues can heal more quickly. Lastly, acupuncture modulates pain by increasing circulating levels of endorphins — the body’s all-natural painkillers. 

With your facet joint pain in check, your referred pain will soon be diminished. So if you’re struggling with hip pain, knee pain, or neck pain as a consequence of your facet joint inflammation, these symptoms will be improved, too. Because acupuncture fights inflammation from multiple angles, it is an incredibly effective natural treatment for all types of back pain, including lower back pain and sciatica

Are you a candidate for acupuncture for facet joint pain?

One of the great things about acupuncture is its versatility. Acupuncture is a viable treatment method for people of all ages and activity levels. It’s gentle enough to assist patients who have recently had surgery, yet powerful enough to support hardcore athletes who push their bodies to the physical brink every day. Acupuncture is a fantastic all-around treatment for anyone and everyone, which is one of the many reasons why it’s going mainstream in medicine

Whether you’re just now starting to experience facet joint pain, or whether you’ve been dealing with this type of inflammation for years, acupuncture can help you feel better. Acupuncture treats acute injuries by reducing swelling and increasing circulation. And it treats chronic injuries by stimulating collagen synthesis to eliminate scar tissue and improve your range of motion. Regardless of how long you’ve been struggling with facet joint pain, acupuncture can support you on your road to recovery. 

What can you expect during your acupuncture session?

If you’ve never had acupuncture for facet joint pain before, you may be wondering just what to expect. During your session, your acupuncturist may first perform a physical exam and strength assessment. Understanding your current level of pain, as well as your flexibility, will enable your acupuncturist to gauge the extent of your musculoskeletal dysfunction and create a treatment strategy that works for you. Your treatment plan may include additional alternative therapies, like dry needling and cupping, too. 

Once your acupuncturist has determined the best course of action, your session will begin. Sterile needles will be inserted into various points across your body. These needles are typically left in place for 20 to 40 minutes, during which time you will be asked to lie still and relax. When your session is over, the needles will be removed. Your acupuncturist may advise you to avoid exercise after your appointment to give your body a chance to recuperate. 

In the hours following your acupuncture session, you should notice a marked improvement in your facet joint pain. Your muscles will likely feel more flexible and supple, and far less tense than before. Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing to your appointment so you can move comfortably throughout your acupuncture session. 

How many acupuncture sessions do you need to treat facet joint pain?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including your health history and how long you’ve been experiencing facet joint pain. Mild acute cases may be successfully treated in just a few sessions. For some individuals, this is all that’s needed to restore normal function. But chronic inflammation, especially if it’s due to a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis, will require more extensive treatment. 

It’s worth noting that even if a handful of acupuncture sessions enable you to overcome your facet joint pain completely, anyone can benefit from ongoing acupuncture sessions. If your facet joint pain is the result of an underlying imbalance, regular acupuncture sessions will help you correct those issues so you can prevent future flare-ups. 

Talk to your acupuncturist during your session to determine the best path forward. They will be able to answer all of your questions and help you determine how often you need to be treated to maximize your results. Depending on your situation, your acupuncturist may recommend orthopedic acupuncture or sports acupuncture to support you on your healing journey. 

Booking an acupuncture appointment

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and get acupuncture for your facet joint pain, we’re ready to help you get started. At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we are committed to helping our clients get to the root of their musculoskeletal dysfunction so they can eliminate their pain naturally and get back to enjoying all of the things they love. Contact our office today to learn more and to book your first appointment so you can get back to living your life to the fullest. 

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