Using Acupuncture For Spinal Stenosis


Spinal stenosis is a degenerative disorder where the spinal canal gradually narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, and causing various symptoms

The symptoms of spinal stenosis can vary greatly, ranging from mild discomfort to severe, life-altering pain. Many individuals report a constant ache in their lower back, accompanied by radiating pain, numbness, or tingling sensations that extend into the buttocks, legs, and feet. These symptoms can intensify with prolonged standing or walking, only to subside upon sitting or resting. But the good news is, you can manage your symptoms with the help of acupuncture for spinal stenosis. 

Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to eliminate pain caused by spinal stenosis. Acupuncture also supports a healthy immune response and can even be used to treat nerve damage. 

What is spinal stenosis and what causes it?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spaces within your spine narrow, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This condition often results in pain, numbness, or weakness, primarily affecting the lower back and legs, though it can also impact the neck and arms.

While the causes of spinal stenosis vary, aging is a primary factor. However, it’s encouraging to know that numerous treatment options, such as acupuncture, are available to manage its symptoms. As we age, our spinal bones can thicken and expand due to wear and tear. Osteoarthritis may also cause bone spurs that narrow the spinal canal. Additionally, herniated disks, thickened ligaments, and spinal injuries can contribute to the narrowing of the spinal canal, leading to this condition.

Acupuncture relieves pain from secondary soft tissue tightness and muscle spasm

Acupuncture prompts the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals, easing discomfort from muscle spasms and tightness. By targeting specific acupuncture points, practitioners can directly influence the muscles affected by spinal stenosis, promoting relaxation and reducing tension.

Acupuncture also promotes improved blood circulation to the affected areas. This enhanced circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, facilitating the release of built-up toxins and metabolic waste products that contribute to muscle stiffness and spasms. 

Additionally, acupuncture’s holistic approach considers the interconnectedness of the body, addressing not only the physical symptoms but also the underlying imbalances that may contribute to muscle tightness and spasms. By restoring balance to the body’s energy flow, acupuncture helps prevent future episodes of muscle spasms and promotes overall musculoskeletal health, similar to soft tissue mobilization.

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Acupuncture can help improve range of motion and overall movement

Acupuncture helps improve the range of motion and overall mobility in patients with spinal stenosis through several interrelated mechanisms. One of the primary benefits is pain management. Acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which can significantly reduce the chronic pain associated with spinal stenosis. This reduction in pain allows patients to move more freely and with less discomfort.

Another crucial aspect is the reduction of inflammation. Acupuncture has anti-inflammatory effects that help decrease swelling around the spinal nerves and joints. By reducing this inflammation, there is less pressure on the nerves and spinal structures, which can enhance mobility and flexibility.

Better blood flow from acupuncture ensures the spine and surrounding tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, helping tissue repair and maintaining spinal health. This improved nourishment can lead to better overall function and less stiffness.

Additionally, acupuncture helps relax tight and spasmodic muscles. Muscle tension can severely limit the range of motion and worsen pain. By relaxing these muscles, acupuncture reduces this secondary source of discomfort, further improving mobility.

Acupuncture can help reduce nerve irritation and compression

Acupuncture reduces swelling and inflammation around the spinal nerves, which commonly cause compression and irritation.

By enhancing blood circulation, acupuncture ensures better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas, facilitating tissue repair and reducing pressure on the nerves. It also helps to relax tight and spastic muscles that can contribute to nerve compression. The insertion of fine needles at specific points can disrupt pain signals and improve nerve function, providing relief from symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness. 

Acupuncture can help with stress and anxiety

Acupuncture eases stress and anxiety in spinal stenosis patients by triggering the release of chemicals that promote relaxation and well-being. It balances the body’s energy flow, reducing physical and emotional tension. By addressing pain and discomfort, acupuncture indirectly reduces stress levels, as chronic pain is a significant source of anxiety. The calming nature of acupuncture sessions also provides a mental respite, contributing to improved overall mental health and quality of life.

How many acupuncture sessions are needed for spinal stenosis?

Acupuncture is a gentle holistic therapy that helps the body heal on its own. That said, it’s also quite powerful and can quickly produce results. Some patients experience relief within the first few sessions, while others may require ongoing treatments to maintain pain relief and improve mobility. It is difficult to say how many acupuncture sessions are needed for spinal stenosis, patients might start with a course of 6 to 12 sessions, typically administered once or twice a week. 

During your acupuncture session, your acupuncturist will insert hair-thin needles towards the lumbar zygapophyseal joint and remain in place for an average duration of 10 to 40 minutes. 

Book your first appointment today

Spinal stenosis can make life challenging, but you don’t have to endure the pain alone. We’re here to help. At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we have extensive experience relieving pain for patients from all walks of life. We believe in treating each patient as an individual, not just a diagnosis.

From your very first visit, we’ll work closely with you to determine the most effective treatments for your unique needs. Reach out to us today to learn more and to book your first appointment with us. You’ll be amazed at how transformative acupuncture can relieve your pain and improve your quality of life.

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