About lower back pain
Back pain is one of the most common symptoms of ill health.
Up to 80% of adults suffer from backache or back pain at some time, but only 10% is caused by an underlying illness.
The symptoms of back pain can vary, but there are generally muscle pain and spasms in the majority of cases.
Back pain is the most common cause of disability in adults over the age of 45 and by age 50, 80 to 90% show evidence of degenerative disc disease at autopsy. Despite the frequency of low back pain it is poorly understood and physical examination is often unrewarding with diagnostic tests often being negative or falsely positive.
Backache is usually caused by muscles in the back becoming overstrained or injured in some way and may be caused by a mechanical disorder affecting one of the structures in or around the spine.
Pain may be caused by damage to the ligaments, muscle or one of the small vertebral joints or discs. These discs are located between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column and contain a central gelatinous core surrounded by a fibrous ring. With age or injury, the discs can rupture causing the contents to spill out and press on the nerves that radiate from the spinal cord. This can then lead to referred pain, as experienced by people effected by sciatica with pain in the lower back that radiates to the buttock and down the back or/and side of the leg and sometimes all the way to the calf.
The most common causes of back pain include:
Bone structure abnormalities: even minor ones, can place slight but constant stress on the muscles and vertebral joints.
Poor muscle tone and posture.
A general lack of fitness.
Poor seating and sitting for prolonged periods.
unaccustomed lifting, poor lifting practices or manual work all increase the chances of contracting acute back strain.
Obesity: aggravates backache even if it’s not the initial cause.
Pregnancy: Hormones that are released in pregnancy may loosen the ligaments.
The weight of the baby, carried in front, may cause the spine to arch in order to balance, putting strain on the back muscles.
Stress or depression: can make the back muscles tense up, causing aching, pain.
Insomnia or any interference with sleep can further aggravate an already existing condition.
Trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents.
Acupuncture is often extremely effective in producing lasting benefit in cases of low back pain, the treatment aims to reduce spasm and inflammation and promote healing by treating the underlying energy imbalances. A large body of research and clinical trials attests to the value of acupuncture for back pain.
Acupuncture is a holistic approach to medicine, where the aim of the treatment is not only to cure health problems but to balance your body, which has the effect of strengthening your immune system and preventing illness form getting a foothold.
When attending your acupuncture appointment the acupuncture consultation will be dedicated to a detailed system of TCM diagnosis (Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Successful acupuncture treatment depends on an accurate TCM diagnosis, therefor the initial consultation begins with typical questions such as:
Your complete medical history.
The symptoms you are experiencing including any pain you have had or are suffering from and what makes it feel better or worse.
Your sleep patterns.
Whether you experience any sensations of hot or cold.
Whether you experience dizziness.
What you’re eating habits are.
Bowel movements and family health history.
During the consultation the acupuncturist will also note certain observations, such as: Your posture, facial colour, facial expression, the brightness of your eyes or lack of, for example: a white face is linked to disharmony within the body or a feeling of being cold can mean a deficiency syndromes, a yellow complexion is related to dampness and a red complexion is a sign of an excess heat syndrome.
The tongue is observed and the pulse is taken and again this is carried out according to TCM principles. The colour, shape and coating of the tongue can reveal many patterns of illness and the pulse can give an indication of how individual organs are working in the body and whether they are underactive or overactive which informs the practitioner as to whether your body is in a state of excess or deficiency.
Once your initial consultation is complete a TCM diagnosis is formed and from this diagnosis an acupuncture point selection is then possible.
The length of treatment will depend on several factors, such as: the type of illness you have and its duration i.e. chronic or acute, your age, your individual healing abilities, how well you respond to acupuncture and whether you can avoid the conditions/cause of your presenting health issue. However many people can feel a difference in their health with only one or two appointments, but in general you should see some improvements after 3-4 treatments.
Because everyone is an individual, response times to acupuncture can vary, for example. After your first acupuncture appointment you may feel very little improvement in your presenting complaint, however many people feel sleepy, revitalized, or sometimes a little spaced out after treatment. Alternatively you can also feel an immediate improvement after treatment. Acupuncture can also bring emotional, mental and physical problems to the surface, however this is a positive sign so don’t worry about it. As with any treatment, complete recovery takes time and patience. For more information on what to expect from acupuncture treatment please refer to our FAQ page.
A case of low back pain.
Chris W. 61 years old presented to the clinic with lower back pain and stiffness, he had suffered with this pain for 20 years and seemed to be getting worse. Chris works as a self employed horticulturist and tends to do a lot of work in a bent over position which aggravates his back pain. Chris made an acupuncture appointment, hoping it would relieve some of his pain.
Chris had acupuncture treatment 3 times per week for 2 weeks and twice weekly for another 1 week. followed by weekly sessions for a further 4 weeks, at the end of each acupuncture session either Bowen therapy or cupping was added, a herbal anti-inflammatory was also recommended and a do at home exercise plan was created for Chris that was tailored to his particular back pain.
Over a 2 month period Chris experienced an 80% improvement in his pain and stiffness, he also decided to have an acupuncture treatment once per month as a maintenance treatment.
In Chris’s case it was not possible to completely relieve his back pain and stiffness, as he has had the problem for 20 years and he also maintains it has been caused by his job which he cannot avoid doing, however with an 80% improvement Chris is over the moon.
A case of lower back pain.
Brian H. 35 years old presented to the clinic complaining of lower back pain which he has suffered from for over 6 years, he maintains that his problem started when he was working as a sales rep 6 years ago, his job included a lot of driving around the country visiting his customers and being in a seated position for hours on end has caused this pain and stiffness that seems to be getting worse.
Brian’s treatment commenced with acupuncture twice weekly for 4 weeks and then weekly for another 4 weeks 12 acupuncture appointments in total. He was given an exercise programme to do at home which was tailored to his condition and Bowen therapy at the end of every acupuncture session. By the end of Brian’s treatment plan he claimed an 90% improvement in his condition. Brian has also changed his job and can now avoid the conditions that caused his back pain. Brian was also recommended a supplement that is specific for joint pain and stiffness and after taking this supplement for 1 month his back pain has completely resolved 100%.
Regardless of your medically diagnosed condition natural medicine has something to offer.
If you would like to find out if acupuncture can help your health and wellbeing then call, 94781415 or email us via our contact page to discuss your requirements or to find out more about acupuncture please go to our FAQs page. Alternatively give acupuncture a try and make an appointment now.
Best of health.
Paul Neilson CMP. L.Ac. ND. DHM.