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Sore back? The solution may be at the business end of a needle. A recent meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found acupuncture to be more effective than a placebo prick at treating chronic pain, especially musculoskeletal back and neck pain.
“Putting a needle in your body stimulates the release of a host of neurochemicals – some have pain relief properties, and some have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr Brian Berman, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Expect the pain to ease in four to 10 sessions that last 30 minutes to an hour. (And don’t freak out if your first appointment starts with a tongue exam. That’s normal; the practitioner is looking for indicators of your overall health.)
Most patients who opt for acupuncture treatment get needled on a weekly basis. For pain that’s especially severe, though, you can go twice a week. Acupuncture is not only good for treating back pain, but is also good for treating symptoms such as headaches – see 5 More Ways Acupuncture Can Fix You Up.