Alternative medicine and Spine care

Chi Tsai Tang, Craig Ziegler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Alternative medicine is gaining popularity within mainstream Western medical practice, and literature supporting various treatments is growing. Management of low back and neck pain include acupuncture, dry needling, cupping, chiropractic care, massage therapy, herbal medicines and supplements, yoga, and tai chi. Acupuncture involves inserting small needles in specific locations in the body, and dry needling can be viewed as a westernized form of acupuncture with a limited indication of managing myofascial pain. Acupuncture has the most evidence supporting it, and can provide improvements in pain and function immediately postintervention and potentially for several months in patients with chronic low back pain and neck disorders. Cupping provides suction to the skin to help increase blood circulation. Chiropractic care typically involves performing spinal manipulations using high-velocity, low-amplitude thrusts. Massage therapy involves manipulation of different layers of muscles and fascia. Several herbal medicines and supplements may be effective for managing acute or chronic low back pain. Yoga and tai chi are movement-based treatments that involve a meditative and breathing component, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrthopaedic Knowledge Update
Subtitle of host publicationSpine 5
PublisherWolters Kluwer Health
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781975118419
ISBN (Print)9781975117320
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Cupping
  • Dry needling
  • Herbal medicine
  • Massage therapy
  • Supplements
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga


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