Acupuncture and Chinese
Herbal Medicine
Relief For Lower Back Pain

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine doctor reveals his lower back pain treatment strategies that he has found useful; including ideas on how can get pain relief and understand your condition better.

This article helps you understand lower back pain, how a Chinese medical doctor can help you get relief and what you can do to help yourself become free of pain.

Acupuncture and Chinese  Herbal Medicine Relief For Lower Back PainMen, women and teenagers can all suffer from back pain

Of all back pain, lower back pain is the most commonly affected area in humans. It is fair to say that most people would have experienced pain in the lower back at least once in their lifetime.

For acupuncture back pain relief, you need to know that one of the main reasons for pain in the lower back is that as humans the lower back commands a position of strength and stability for the entire body and it was not designed for that.

When compared to four-legged animals that rely much less on their lower back, humans stand and walk on two legs so we have had to adapt our lower back to offer more strength and stability, including the need to flex and extend our lower back, much more frequently that our four-legged friends.

Although the area between the lumbar vertebrae 1 and the sacral vertebrae 3 (L1 –S3) is the area that is referred to as the lower back, the L5/S1 segment is the most common area of complaint because it is the weakest segment in the lower back.

Lower back pain predominantly manifests on one side of the body, however the pain may spread right across both sides of the spine.

Apart from localised pain in the lower back, you can also suffer with stiffness, muscle spasm, a sense of weakness in the lower back, a sensation of swelling, a burning feeling, decreased range of motion, radiating pain to the legs which can continue right down to the toes, or sciatica.

So in order to be able to successfully treat the pain in your lower back with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, correct diagnosis needs to be made.

This of course will depend on every piece of information you are able to provide. The more aware you are of your body, the better the feedback you’ll be able to provide to your acupuncturist.

So take note of very sign, symptom, sensation or feeling and make sure you describe this information accurately to your acupuncture doctor. We also need to know when it occurred, how long you’ve had the low back problem and what you think could have possibly caused the problem in the first place.

Below are some ideas that can help you in the treatment of your lower back pain.

Important measures I’ve found useful to ensure you get back pain relief with acupuncture

To establish an accurate diagnosis, I find that taking into consideration the age of the patient is important. It is common with growing boys and girls to suffer from lower back pain due to a weakness in the lower back. When a daily feeling of extreme weariness is reported, the spine should be checked for lateral curvature. Even a slight curvature of the spine can lead to this feeling of extreme weariness.

In the elderly, osteoarthritis should be suspected. The lower back can be very tender to touch, there may or may not be any deformity, and a permanent rigidity of the back can be felt in the morning.

Regardless of age in most people, inappropriate exertion or sudden incorrect movement such as lifting or twisting something too heavy, not only gives sudden severe pain but can cause disc herniation. One or both legs can be affected and movement becomes very limited. So be very careful. Prevention is the best cure!

Keep in mind that if severe pain in the lower back radiates down the leg, it suggests tension on or compression of the nerve root(s). This often points to a herniated lumbar disc so extra care should be taken so that you don’t further damage the disc.

In acupuncture, I’ve also found it to be very useful to use various orthopaedic tests such as leg length comparison, Straight Leg Raising Test, and the FABER hip test.

Weather conditions and seasons are most important, especially in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I’ll explain this a little later.

In addition, the VAS score (visual analogue scale) pain level should also be recorded. This is a very simple record. You are asked to rate the pain from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most severe or highest pain level.

The patient’s range of motion, the restricted ability to move freely should also be determined, for example, degree of flexion, extension, rotation and side-bending with passive and active resisted movements should be measured.

The VAS score for the level of pain, the range of motion in the lower back and surrounding areas and the findings of the orthopaedic tests are used to determine your diagnosis and later, your progress in treatment.

It is quite easy for you to take note of these measures yourself, for example you could note how far you can touch your shin before you begin treatment and then compare that with another measure after a few sessions. Apart from the severity of pain, this helps you to know how well you are responding to treatment and how much relief you are getting from your lower back pain.

I have found some basic Orthopaedic Testing to be very useful in clinic. For lower back pain, especially with radiation into the leg, the Straight Leg Raising Test (SLRT) is indispensable. The Braggard's Test, an extension of the SLRT, is also useful. A positive test can indicate tension on or compression of nerve roots, which is often caused by a herniated lumbar disc. Therefore, further investigations are necessary to confirm diagnosis and treatment strategy.

If you are troubled with lower back pain or any type of joint pain, please contact me here if you'd like to begin a course of treatment.

Further investigations that may be necessary for lower back pain relief

There are times when CT scans or X-Rays will be necessary in order to fully determine the extent of your lower back pain, and to determine prognosis. The results of these investigations are beneficial to both doctor and patient.

In particular, it is necessary for you and your acupuncturist to be prudent if your lower back aches at night, or if pain is not relieved by rest or if pain is present with local bone tenderness. Metastatic malignancy in the spine, such as those from cancer of the prostate, breast, lung, thyroid, and kidney or even multiple myeloma could be a cause.

What if your spinal movements are not painful and the range of motion in your back is not affected?

Then we may have to look for signs of a primary disorder, especially if there is a deep, aching pain.

So you need to cooperate and provide as much accurate information as you can. The cause of your back pain can be from another source, such as peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, endometriosis, or even an aortic aneurysm. Usually, the source of the primary disorder can reflect through the level of the body where the pain manifests.

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© Copyright Pier Tsui-Po 2005-2014. All Rights Reserved.
Dr Pier Tsui-Po Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic
Berwick Specialist Suites,
Suite 8 - Level 1, 50 Kangan Drive, Berwick 3806,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Telephone: 9796 2388

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