Acupuncture for Low Back Pain
The biggest benefit of getting acupuncture for low back pain as a therapy compared to taking pain killers, muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory medication, is that acupuncture works to treat the root of the problem. Medications are effective in stoping pain but do little to correct underlying imbalances. There is also greater risk associated with taking medication as all medications have unwanted side effects or pose a risk to other structures and tissues of the body.
Low back pain that is both acute and chronic is the most commonly treated condition in Kristin’s practice. Low back pain is commonly caused by:
- sedentary lifestyle
- repetitive motion
- weakness of the abdominal and back muscles
- history of injury
- acute strain
- mental/emotional stress
- congenital factors
- improper footwear
- high impact activities
- poor posture
- overweight and obesity
There are many causes for low back pain and acupuncture provides a safe and effective treatment for both acute and chronic pain.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the low back is consider the abode of the Kidneys. The Kidneys have some unique and distinct functions in TCM that differentiate the functioning of the kidneys in the conventional sense.
The Kidneys in TCM have the function of regulating aspects of urination and work in conjunction with the heart to regulate blood pressure, but there is a much more expansive function of the Kidneys from a TCM perspective.
The Kidneys govern the lower body including the low back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Kidneys govern the bones, sex organs, hormones and fertility, regulate urination, produce head hair, and store the Essence or Jing. Because of their physical location in the low back, the Kidneys are always responsible for the strength and health of the low back muscles.
While all cases of low back pain involve inflammation, from a TCM perspective there are many factors which may contribute to the diminishing strength of Kidney energy resulting in low back pain.
Understanding which factors are contributing to the decline of Kidney qi (energy) is important for creating a treatment strategy that both addresses the immediacy of the pain and prevents low back pain in the future.
In TCM, it is the practitioners job to understand how imbalances arise. Some of the causes of low back pain include:
- poor or weak constitution
- exposure to cold
- excessive sexual activity
- inadequate rest and sleep
- high stress
- severe shock, fright or psychological trauma
One of the fundamental principles of TCM is living a moderate lifestyle.
Being too extreme in any behavior creates weaknesses in the system. There is no prescriptive guide to determine how much of something is too much or not enough. This is entirely dependent of the individual nature and constitution of the individual.
Imagine the Kidneys are like the internal battery of your body and are the main source of power fueling all activity in the body. This battery is depleted when we are excessive in our behavior and is replenished when we eat a wholesome diet, get plenty of rest, do regular exercise and live a moderate lifestyle.
The more aggressive and excessive the lifestyle, the quicker the battery is depleted of its “juice”. Kidney qi deficiency manifests in many different ways, but low back pain is one of the more common complaints associated with it’s decline.
Acupuncture for low back pain works by:
- down-regulating inflammation
- increasing blood flow and oxygen to the tissues of the low back
- replenishing Kidney energy
In this way acupuncture not only treats the symptoms of low back pain, but it also addresses the root problem of qi deficiency.
Many patients who seek help through acupuncture for low back pain spend too many hours sitting at a desk, have high levels of mental/emotional stress, and don’t get enough sleep.
Through acupuncture for low back pain all of these issues can be addressed, but treatment is further enhanced through lifestyle integration and modification.
Meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and yoga are all exercises which directly support and strengthen the vitality of the low back and are advised for anyone who has a history of low back pain.
It is also important to do exercises which keep the abdominal muscles and low back muscles toned and strengthened.
For patients who are overweight, especially around the abdomen, a weight loss program is strongly recommend to prevent future problems.
Acupuncture for low back pain during pregnancy is one of the safest methods of treatment available. While some over-the-counter and prescriptions medications may be safe to take during pregnancy, avoiding their associated risks is prudent during this important developmental period.
If you have been suffering with low back pain, acupuncture provides safe, effective and instant relief.