How does Acupuncture Treat Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. It is one of the most frequent causes of missed workdays and one of the most expensive conditions in the United States; according to a recent government report, in 1999, nearly one million people in the U.S. took time away from work to treat and recover from some sort of back pain. Back pain also called Lumbago which discussed in the following is mainly caused by chronic sprain of the lumber muscles and protrusion of lumber intervertebral disc. Back pain can be caused by damage of lumber muscles, adhesion of muscles and ligaments or joints; or by retrograde pathological changes of the spinal vertebrate complicated by lumber impairment, rupture of the fibrous ring of the lumber vertebrate and protrusion of pulpiform nucleus that press on the nerves, purist and ligaments. One recent review of 22 acupuncture studies showed that it provided short-term relief from chronic back pain. It also showed there was greater improvement in pain for people who got acupuncture compared to those who received a “sham” treatment. Other studies have found, though, that sham acupuncture can be as effective as actual acupuncture. Those studies also found that, compared to standard treatment, both actual acupuncture and sham acupuncture are more effective. Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that back pain is mainly caused by retention of pathological wind, cold and dampness in the meridians; or by malnutrition of the meridians and tendons due to kidney asthenia; or by inhibited flow of qi and blood in the meridians due to overstrain and impairment.
1. Obstruction by cold and dampness
Back pain usually occurring after exposure to cold and damp and aggravated with cold and on rainy days, cold pain, heavy sensation and stiffness of the muscles in the loins, limitation of extension and flexion of the back, pain radiating downwards to the buttocks and lower limbs, cold feeling of the affected area, or pain involving the buttocks and legs, inflexibility,white thin and white tongue coating and deep or slow pulse.
2. Stagnation of qi and blood
Sudden onset of back pain, aggravation in movement and pressure, limited movement of the waist, inability of the waist to straighten, difficulty in pronation and turning of the body or even standing, frequent supporting of the waist with the hands; or spasm of the local muscles on the lowers limbs, obvious tenderness and evident sprain history. Pricking and fixed pain, stiffness of the waist, inflexibility, purplish tongue or with ecchymoses, taut or hesitant pulse.
3. Deficiency of kidney essence
Slow onset, vague aching and lingering pain in the loins, aggravation with overstrain, weakness of loins and knees, pale complexion, dizziness, tinnitus, spiritual lassitude, cold limbs, frequent and clear urine, pale tongue, deep and thin pulse in the case of yang asthenia; flushed cheeks, dysphoria, insomnia, dry mouth and throat, feverish sensation over palms and soles, yellow urine and dry feces, red tongue, thin and rapid pulse in the case of yin asthenia.
Method: Points are mainly selected from the Governor Vessel and the Foot-Taiyang Meridian to promote the circulation of qi and blood , to relieve pain, to relax the muscles and to activate the blood circulation in the collaterals. Acupuncture and moxibustion are applied together for obstruction by cold and dampness type. n case of deficiency of kidney yang apply needling with reinforcing method and moxibustion. For deficiency of kidney yin, puncture with reinforcing method. For stagnation of qi and blood, apply reducing method or pricking to cause bleeding.
Acupuncture can play an important role in the reduction or elimination of back pain by reducing recovery time and preventing a chronic condition from developing. By reducing acute back pain, acupuncture may also reduce the chances of chronic back pain from occurring. It can help avoid the need for costlier and more invasive surgical procedures. And if back pain can be significantly reduced with acupuncture, it also lowers the need for painkillers or other medications that can either cause unwanted side-effects or prolong a patient's condition.