How and why Acupuncture helps Lower Back Pain:
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes Herbal Medicine is amazing and powerfully supports
Lower Back Pain.
There are many reasons in TCM, why we can get of balance and the lower back may weaken or become painful and inflamed.
Lets look at some of the reasons, which cause lower back pain:
- Qi Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain:
Qi is basically the energy that circulates throughout your body. Qi travels through all twelve meridians (channels), very much like blood through vessels. Chinese Medicine works to insure that Qi is able to move freely, that it is moving in the correct direction, and that there is an abundance of Qi. If Qi does not move freely through the channels, pain can develop. Qi Stagnation causes pain! There is a Chinese saying:
“When there is pain, there I no free flow, when there is free flow, there is no pain.”
- Blood Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain:
Blood stagnation has different reasons: one is local trauma. This could be caused by heavy lifting, a sport’s injury, or perhaps even an automobile accident. Any specific trauma to the back will give rise to what we call Blood Stagnation. The treatment principle is the same as with Qi Stagnation. Blood Stasis is the local inflammation, bruising, and purple thick blood that ‘s found at the site of the trauma. The other cause of Blood Stagnation is a long history of Qi Stagnation. Qi moves the Blood, that means if Qi stays stagnant long enough, then the local body fluids that are supposed to be flowing begin to stagnate as well.
- Liver Qi Stagnation can cause Lower Back Pain
There may also be an emotional component in this particular pathology; for instance, a long history stress, frustration, resentment, anger, or keeping it all inwards, as well as other really bitter emotional pathology can lead to Liver Qi Stagnation. As it turns out, the Liver governs over the movement of Qi throughout the body. We all get frustrated once in a while and that can give rise to Liver Qi Stagnation back pain, but if it goes on for long enough muscles becomes tighter and more reactive. In this case, the body begins to manifest that stagnation in the form of lumps, knots, sharp pains or circulatory problems.
- Kidney Deficiency & Adrenal Fatigue, Causing Lower Back Pain
Kidney Deficiency lower back pain is not necessarily related to nerve impingement syndrome, but can be due to weakness of the lower back. Yin deficiency tends to include lower backache that is a long-term problem with no history of trauma; it just started hurting one day and never went away. With this said, it is important to understand that longstanding Kidney Deficiency may produce weaknesses that make one susceptible to injury and trauma. Other symptoms of Yin deficiency include hot flashes night sweats, tinnitus, irritability, restlessness and the feeling that your hands and feet are too hot. Herbal tonics are consistent with TCM strategies of re-enforcing the Kidneys & Adrenals to treat the root cause of the pain.
- Deficiency of Kidney Yang
Could also give rise to lower back pain. Other symptoms of Kidney Yang deficiency would be early morning diarrhea, cold hands and feet, fatigue pale face, hearing loss, feeling cold all the time, frequent urination, infertility and low libido
- Liver-Kidney Imbalances Causing Lower Back Pain with PMS
Lower back pain is sometimes found in women with painful periods and PMS. Dull achy pain is typically experienced just before the onset of menstruation. Additionally, women may notice a bout of very loose stools at the onset or just before menstruation begins.
Natural Lower Back Pain Strategies
Our typical image of painkillers and analgesics are drugs that block nerve conduction signals to the brain; natural pain treatments work much differently and optimally initiate true healing and long term relief from pain. Chinese medicine recognizes these common causes of lower back pain:
- Trauma due to a sports injury, car accident, improper lifting, or strains are the most common cause of lower back pain and results in Blood Stagnation and Qi Stagnation and inflammation. This type of lower back pain is acute, and is typically sharp and severe in nature, especially in the early stages.
- Deficiency-Overworking, poor lifestyle habits and aging lead to ‘Kidney Deficiencies’ in Chinese Medicine. This condition is typically chronic in nature with dull, achy pain and progresses gradually. Other Kidney Deficient symptoms such as knee pain, tinnitus, coldness, and low energy could also present with this type of lower back pain. This is probably the most important aspect of attaining true and lasting relief from lower back pain. Chinese herbs to tonify the kidneys can be taken over a number of months to restore vitality and strength naturally. The concept of the organs in TCM is radically different from that of contemporary Western medicine. Understanding this difference is very important because the physiology and pathology of the Organs is fundamental to the understanding and treatment of disease.
- External Evil Qi: In Chinese medicine, environmental factors can have a dramatic effect on our health, especially if we are run down. Many people recognize that their pain syndromes are often worse in cold and damp weather. This type of lower back pain is often dull, achy and heavy in nature, improving with heat.
Often, those with lower back pain have a combination of all three causes; someone with a weak back from deficiency would be more susceptible to injury. Similarly, if your back were injured and weak, you would be more susceptible to an external inversion of cold and damp weather. Healing Strategies for Lower Back Pain in Chinese Medicine are:
Stimulating the Free Flow of Blood and Qi:
Blood in Chinese medicine is similar to the western medical concept, as it circulates nutrients and healing agents in the body. Where Qi goes Blood flows. If a person’s Blood and Qi are flowing freely, he/she will be pain free; good blood circulation to the lower back will speed healing. Natural herbs such as Red Sage, acupuncture, massage, and essential oils such as cinnamon and rosemary all improve Blood and Qi circulation.
Reduce Inflammation and Clear Heat Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process; however, excessive swelling can cause additional tissue damage in cases of trauma and strain. Cold therapy, or even Cold Laser is often applied immediately after an injury to stop the inflammation, as cold is quite restricting. This restricting quality of cold therapies will cause increased Blood and Qi stagnation if it is used after the initial 24 hours of an injury. Although cold therapies applied to the lower back, even in deficient conditions, will provide temporary pain relief, it essentially aggravates the condition and delays lower back pain relief.
Acupuncture for Lower Back Pain
Backaches are a common pathology among people everywhere. Thanks to the expansion of Chinese Medicine in the western world, people are coming to appreciate the age-old medical wisdom of the Orient. This is especially true with regard to the alleviation of back pain.
One of the most common reasons that people seek out an acupuncturist is because of lower back pain. Back pain is commonly considered a nerve impingement syndrome. The way it works is that there’s some kind of structural problem that prevents the nerves from exiting the spinal cord through the spinal vertebrae and out into the body. When there is something pinching one of these nerves as it exits the spine it causes pain. The common term for this problem is a ‘pinched nerve’.
Qi flows through a channel network, called meridians. This sounds much like our neurological system and some try to relate Qi stagnation as a pinched nerve syndrome; however, this is not entirely accurate because Chinese medicine is able to address back pain without mechanical adjustments to the body, manipulation of the spine, surgery to remove a herniated disc, or any other invasive procedure. Never the less, pain is relieved through Chinese medicine utilizing herbs that break up Qi Stagnation.
Left untreated, Qi Stagnation can lead to Blood Stagnation, and what was a dull ache that radiates outward from the central location can become a very sharp fixed pain. Qi and Blood are actually inseparable; this means that prolonged Qi Stagnation will inevitably result in Blood Stagnation since Qi moves the Blood.
This all said, in TCM we will in our Initial Visit do a thorough Intake and find the correct differential diagnosis. From there we carefully plan a personal tailored treatment protocol, which addresses “Your” condition. The protocol may include exercises, herbs, nutrition advises and Yoga stretches. If appropriate we will also use electro acupuncture.
To find out if we can help you or if you have any questions contact us at:
And Vibrant Health