Acupuncture for back pain can be effective. The most important treatment effect is commonly believed to be the repeated stimulation of mechanoreceptors in or under the skin. This stimulates afferent nerve fibers, which are thought to inhibit pain signals from passing through the spinal cord to higher centers in the brain via an endogenous opioid system. Acupuncture might also help with back pain as it activates the release of neurotransmitters from peripheral sensory terminals.
Acupuncture has a low risk of side effects and might also benefit recovery after surgery for back problems. There are many studies on this treatment.
The effects of acupuncture to treat back problems are not clear. A recently published overview showed that acupuncture is safe, but its effectiveness for low back pain remains unclear. Some people reported benefits from having acupuncture for their back problems, but others did not.