There are discs sitting between the bones of the spine (the vertebrae). The inner portion of the disk can protrude through the outer ring due to injury or weakness. This is known as slipped disk, herniated, or prolapsed disk. Lumber disks are the common site to slip. This causes pain and discomfort at the low back. If the slipped disk compresses the nerves, pain and numbness may occur along the route of the nerve. The pain can happen on the back or neck depending on which disks are slipped. The pain is often beginning in the lower back and over time it spreads to other parts of the body. Sometime there is no symptom. This is because the slipped part of the disc is small which will not affect nerves or spinal cord. If sciatic nerve is affected the pain could travel from the low back, through the buttocks and down the legs to the feet. It could be also accompanied with numbness, tingling sensation in legs.
Acupuncture does not send slipped the disk back, but acupuncture treatment can help to release the pain and other symptoms. There are many studies about acupuncture on slipped disk. Here are some examples of the research.
A recent study has shown that acupuncture had better effects than that of Fugui Gutong capsule and ibuprofen for slipped disc. The scores of clincial symptoms and therapeutic effect were observed before and after treatment. Results In the electroacupuncture group, the effective rate was 84.4% (38/45), which was superior to that of 65.0% (26/40) in the medication group. After treatment, the scores of symptoms significantly decreased in the two groups, and the reduction of scores in electroacupuncture group was superior to that in medication group. Recent study involved in 30 patients with slipped disk has shown that acupuncture releases the pain caused by slipped disk.
Which acupuncture points are used to treat slipped discs? A study analysed data from recent 10 years. They found 49 main acupuncture points from 173 studies. there were 10 most common used acupoints on Bladder Meridian [Geshu (BL 17), Xiaochangshu (BL 27), Shenshu (BL 23), Dachangshu (BL 25), Pangguangshu (BL 28), Guanyuanshu (BL 26), Weizbong (BL 40), Zhibian (BL 54), Chengshan (BL 57), Kunlun (BL 60)], 2 on Gallbladder Meridian [Huantiao (GB 30), Yanglingquan (GB 34)], 2 on Governor Vessel [Yaoyangguan (GV 3), Shuigou (GV 26)], 2 on Stomach Meridian [Zusanli (ST 36), Juliao (ST 3)], 2 on Spleen Meridian [Sanyinjiao (SP 6), Xuehai (SP 10)], and the rest were extra points (Huatuo Jiaji) and Ashi points, so a conclusion could be drawn that the most common used acupoints were Bladder Meridian acupoints and supplemented by Gallbladder Meridian, Governor Vessel, Stomach Meridian, Spleen Meridian, extra points and Ashi points. The selected acupoints were most located on the lumbosacral region, leg and fewer located on the face, back and local part.
A recent review evaluate evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of slipped lumbar disk. 3503 participants were included in the study. Acupuncture has more pain reduction. The result has shown that acupuncture has better effect than other treatments including lumbar traction, ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, meloxicam, mannitol plus dexamethasone and mecobalamin, fugui gutong capsule plus ibuprofen, mannitol plus dexamethasone, loxoprofen and huoxue zhitong decoction.
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