I've tried acupuncture. I think I recommend it embarassingly often.
Actually, I had a herniated disk in 2001. So incredibly painful! I tried acupuncture for the first time then, and I don't know that it helped.
(But I was also doing chiro, homeopathy, herbs, modern western medicine... I don't know what actually fixed me at this point.) The thing is, that was a practitioner recommended by a relative who is supposed to be great, but it was a busy office in Chinatown (hard to get to/traffic) and just generally, the whole experience was stressful for me. I can get weird about certain situations--almost like a social anxiety.
But about a year ago, a friend told me about a wonderful acupuncturist very near here (no traffic!), a woman (more comfy for me), who'd cured my friend of an ear infection. I went to her when I had a sinus infection and I wanted to avoid antibiotics. I felt an immediate "click" with her--I love her!--and she cured my sinus infection to my doctor's and my satisfaction, and she reduced my PMS at the same session. Last summer, she needled me for improved fertility (I consider this a success), and during my pregnancy she's alleviated my morning sickness and my dizzy spells. I also feel an incredible sense of well-being during/after the treatments.
So, if I had a back problem again now, I would definitely go to this acupuncturist and see what she could do, even though I did not feel that the first experience with a different acupuncturist helped, because I think your openness with your practitioner will make a huge difference, and I just trust this woman so totally.
I hope this helps!
p.s. Rock_dr, I don't know where you are in the "west", but I know several people in various places in Oregon who regularly see acupuncturists. I'm sure I could get you names for that region of acupuncturists that people like.