Acupuncture for all Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see an acupuncturist. It has been estimated that up to 80% of the world’s population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, with the lower back at the most common location of pain. Although most episodes of low back pain last less than two weeks, research has shown that recurrence rates for low back pain can reach as high as 50% in the first few months following an initial episode.
The use of acupuncture to treat this condition has increased dramatically in the past few decades, based in a large extent to controlled studies and the emperical evidence from China that have validated it as a reliable method of healing. As many as half of all adults experience back pain in a given year, and back-related symptoms are one of the leading reasons for patient visits to emergency rooms, hospital outpatient departments and physician’s offices. Its one of those stubborn problems that nearly everyone experiences every once in a while, caused by either bad posture or wrongly lifting heavy objects, or weakness in the back caused by lack of exercise, there can be a multitude of causes.
Bad posture can be one of the many reasons for low back trouble. People simply do not know how to create a good posture. As well as using acupuncture I also teach “Postural Dao Yin Training” to patients with back problems. This is an ancient Taoist or Daoist method of standing correctly to enable all the joints and muscles in the body to realign. A lot of people think that to make your posture better you must stand like a soldier and pull both shoulders back at the same time sticking out the chest; this old fashioned view of good posture is imprinted in many people’s minds. Pulling back the shoulders too much only serves to create tension in the chest and impairs proper breathing; it also creates over-curvature of the lumbar spine which in turn locks out the knees creating stress in the knee joints. Here is a brief outline of proper posture- feet about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent (never locked) tail bone slightly tucked in stomach and chest relaxed, head level and chin slightly tucked in, shoulders not pulled back, but also not drooped forward, breathing into lower abdomen, not with chest rising and falling. Having the body placed in this position not only balances the body but the mind also becomes much more centred and de-stressed creating harmony not just within the body but also within the whole person physically, mentally and emotionally.
The back is the place that we put all our issues that we do not want to look at right now; we believe that if we put it behind us then we cannot see it and no one else can either for the time being. Backache indicates a desire to run away from something or someone, to turn our back on it or them, we do not want to face it right now, so we continually put it behind us, this builds up energy and tension in the back area leaving it very susceptible to injury because a tight back muscle can and will be easily pulled. We need to desperately get rid of some issue we are carrying around, to get it off our back so to speak. It may be that we are holding on to stagnant energy in the area of the back and releasing this means that we have to look at all the issues that will come up as a result. Most of the time we are not aware we are actually doing this, we subconsciously carrying stuff around with us. We it find hard to connect our mind set to a physically manifested problem like back pain. In Chinese medicine the mind body connection to any disease is one the Chinese practitioner will always be mindful of when healing a person; he will make his patients subtly aware of this connection so that they can make some lifestyle changes to help bring about a lasting cure to the problem.
Back pain is a source of much suffering for many people, it can if consistent enough be very troublesome, and can get a person down affecting energy levels. A variety of factors can lead to low back pain, injury, and overwork and kidney deficiency. Tension and stress can also manifest itself in severe upper or lower back pain. One of the most common forms of back pain is osteoarthritis and sciatica. In Western medicine various treatment options have been proposed to provide relief of symptoms, including rest, exercise, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Unfortunately, few of them are completely effective, and some produce side effects more troublesome than the condition itself. In my own clinics I use a combination of acupuncture and cupping therapy. Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice in which special glass or bamboo cups are applied to the skin over the needles to form a strong vacuum; this increases the local circulation there-by reducing blood stagnation in the injured area. For sciatica I would always use electro acupuncture combined with heat.
Kim- Dip.Ac. Lic.Ac. C.Ac. China MQP is a registered licensed practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Treatments are VHi, LAYA healthcare, Irish Life, St Pauls Garda Medical Aid Society, and HSF Healthplan approved.
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