Back To Back: Spine Surgery In The US
The United States has a higher rate of back surgery than anywhere else in the world. Strangely, for many patients suffering from back problems, surgery may not be necessary. But for those who do undergo surgery, postoperative pain can be a problem.
Pain killer alternatives
Postoperative pain can often arise after certain forms of extensive back surgery. This type of surgery includes minimally invasive spinal surgery and joint replacement surgery. Typically, after spine surgery, the doctor prescribes strong painkillers such as opioids, to combat the postoperative pain. Many people do not wish to take these drugs because of the risk of dependence. In these cases, acupuncture may be an alternative solution to postoperative back pain.
Fun fact about acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine. This form of therapy dates back more than 5,000 years. Acupuncture originated in China and was first discovered in an ancient document known as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which was possibly written around 100BC. Much of the text discusses the same acupuncture point locations on the body that are used today.
On pins and needles
Acupuncture is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine as an alternative therapy for the management of pain. Traditional acupuncture involves the use of very fine needles, which are inserted into the skin at certain points along the body’s meridians. In Chinese medicine, the meridians are believed to be channels of energy which run throughout certain areas of the body.
Inserting the acupuncture needles at certain acupoints on the meridians may be able to relieve pain. This is believed to occur because of the release of the body’s natural endorphins which act as pain killers. In addition, these needles may also release serotonin which is a neurotransmitter known to improve mood and a general sense of well being. Many people find that after minimally invasive surgery, using acupuncture to relieve pain is a great alternative to traditional pain killers.