Auriculotherapy for back pain is a niche specialty of the acupuncture sector that focuses on the treating the external ear in order to resolve a host of problematic health complaints. Auriculotherapy shows promising results in treating chronic back pain, with virtually no risk or downside of therapy.
Auriculotherapy was originally created by a neurologist from France named Paul Nogier. His ideas were further modified and expanded upon by a virtual army of acupuncturists and Doctors of Chinese Medicine over the years.
Ear acupuncture certainly qualifies as alternative medicine for most back pain issues. Most patients would never even consider that the nerves and pressure points on their external ear, called the auricle, might be able to be manipulated to provide wide-ranging health benefits and possible back pain relief.
We pride ourselves in covering all the possible treatment modalities used by back pain sufferers to find relief. Therefore, our research eventually led us to further investigate auriculotherapy as a legitimate and possibly effectual dorsalgia care practice. This essay details our discoveries in using ear acupuncture to treat a variety of common back and neck pain syndromes.
The auricle of the ear is said to symbolically represent the various parts of the anatomy, much in the way that acupuncture theorizes different points and meridians throughout the body correspond to specific systems, organs and functions. In essence, a given point might exist on the external ear, but activating that point will provide an effect in its corresponding destination area of the anatomy. This is a basic tenet of all types of acupuncture, as well as other complementary healing practices, such as reflexology, chiropractic and trigger point work.
In similar fashion to other methods of care utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is only part of the complete treatment picture. Auriculotherapy can also be used to treat mental and psychoemotional health problems, such as ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder.
While western medicine remains at a loss to definitively explain the effectiveness of many Chinese medical practices, there is considerable research and clinical evidence that these treatments do work well for many patients and for many diagnoses, lending credibility to auriculotherapy, especially when it is performed by an expert practitioner.
When it comes to treating back pain, the auriculotherapy provider will determine the proper treatment locations on the ear using a variety of methods, including maps, clinical exam findings and some high-tech tools, such as lasers. The therapist can choose to treat the proper points and meridians on the external ear using any of the following methods of care: acupuncture using needles alone, acupuncture using needles and electric current, acupressure, massage, laser therapy or exposure to diathermy sources.
The therapist will continually reevaluate the points and meridians to be treated, since these are known to move in response to treatment and subsequent reactive changes in the causative condition. Nogier went on to develop what he called The Theory of Three Phases to explain how therapy actually causes the diagnosis to evolve and therefore treatment must move to different areas of the ear in order to remain effective and finish the healing process.
Care practices vary greatly from practitioner to practitioner, as do results. It is well known that some acupuncturists achieve far better outcomes than others, so it might be worth making the quest for the right caregiver a top priority before beginning any actual treatment.
Auriculotherapy is highly controversial among medical traditionalists, mostly because it flies in the face of conventional western medical science and has little evidence-based research to support its application.
However, this should be no surprise, since traditional western medicine scoffs at many forms of effective pain management. Research supporting the efficacy of these holistic and natural methods of care is not commonly performed, since the vast majority of large and expensive clinical studies are financed by manufacturers of surgical products or pharmaceuticals; not individual caregivers. Since there is no money to be made for big pharma and surgical suppliers here, no research is ever likely to gain acceptance among the conservative medical establishment.
Our own research shows a mixed bag of results from direct patient reports of treatment experiences. Some patients found mild to moderate relief, while only a tiny number cited truly significant or curative back or neck pain relief. Of the patients who did report good results, one must wonder how many might actually have benefited from placebo effect, rather than true efficacy. However, this is a major consideration from any type of treatment, including surgical interventions.
In the end, patients who are inclined to explore safe alternative medical care are encouraged to consider auriculotherapy, especially if they have enjoyed positive experiences from acupuncture treatment in the past. There really are no risks and the potential for relief is certainly possible, particularly when utilizing the services of a renowned therapist. To learn more, speak to your physician or contact an auriculotherapist directly for a consultation.