How Acupuncture Treats Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem--it affects 80% of all individuals at some time in their lives. In fact, it is one of the top reasons people seek medical care. Unfortunately, back pain isn't always easy to diagnose or treat. Low back pain in particular can become a chronic or ongoing problem.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are very effective in treating back pain naturally. They can also be used together with traditional Western medical treatments to maximize your healing and recovery.
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An Acupuncturist’s Approach to Back Pain
There are many possible causes for back pain. Improper lifting, sudden movements or traumatic injury can result in strained muscles or ligaments. Other culprits can include arthritis, structural abnormalities of the spine or the discs between the vertebrae bulging or rupturing and pressing on a nerve. Depending on the specific diagnosis, back pain is generally treated with medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care and in some cases, surgery.
A more natural approach Practitioners of acupuncture and TCM view back pain another way. An acupuncturist will not only work to relieve your symptoms, but will also
aim to find and treat the underlying cause(s) of your pain. In a study conducted at a Swedish hospital, doctors concluded that acupuncture provided long-term pain relief along with improvements in physical activity levels, quality of sleep and diminished use of pain medication.
In a recent German study, patients reported the acupuncture treatments that they received were more effective for lower back pain than most conventional treatments. This study yielded such impressive results that acupuncture is now considered a mainstream treatment in Germany and is covered by state health insurance.
Acupuncture and TCM are based on the concept that Qi (pronounced “chee”), the vital energy, flows through the body in pathways called meridians. If Qi becomes stagnant, unbalanced or deficient, symptoms such as back pain, ache and inflammation can result. This can happen for any number of reasons, such as injury, illness, stress or external factors i.e. wind or dampness. According to TCM, types and possible causes of back pain are:
Stagnation A pain that is often linked to sudden, stabbing, severe pain that is related to sprains, strains or trauma. It can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness and becomes worse with rest. If it occurs often in the same area(s) it may reflect an underlying deficiency.
Cold, damp obstruction A pain that is generally worse in the morning and exacerbated by cold or damp weather. This type of pain condition may be associated with numbness, swelling and a sense of “heaviness.” Heat improves this condition.
Deficiency A pain is usually a chronic condition that presents with a “dull” pain and improves with rest.
Restoring Balance Once your practitioner has determined the cause(s) of your back pain, he or she will design a specific treatment plan to address your concerns and boost. Your overall health and vitality. During acupuncture treatments, your practitioner will insert fine, Sterlite needles into specie acupuncture points along the meridian pathways in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi. He or she may also perform acupressure or other types or therapy, based on your unique issues and symptoms.
Effective Back Pain Self-Care Techniques
Improving your posture. Examine your posture in a mirror. Try to balance your weight evenly when walking and standing.
Keep your core muscles strong with regular exercise. Yoga and Qi Gong are both gentle and effective.
Managing stress. Stress can take a toll on your health and contribute to pain. Meditation or deep-breathing techniques can help you stay calm and relaxed.