If there is free flow, there is no pain;
If there is no free flow, there is pain.
You have been doing some annual spring-cleaning and bending over to move some heavy objects around the house when suddenly, you feel a nasty pull in your lower back. Chances are, that initial pain will only become more acute as time passes, and it will not go away. This may very well spell the beginning of a scary term associated with “back pain”, be it spinal osteoarthritis, slipped disc, sciatica, or muscular lumbar strain. The list goes on.
Studies have shown, 80% of adults will have encountered lower back pain at some point in their lives. If left untreated, the condition may turn chronic, and the pain may prove debilitating. You weigh your options; you can either heed your specialist’s recommendation to undergo spinal surgery, epidural injection, or some other form of equally painful-sounding intervention. But if there are no fractures, dislocations or disc herniation, you may very well find an ideal alternative in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
A River Runs Through It
The world of TCM resides in restoring the yin yang equilibrium in the body, where yin represents stillness and blood, while yang stands for function and qi, the energy or vital life force that flows through our entire body. When back pain occurs, TCM attributes this to four possible triggers; wet cold, which refers to long term exposure to a wet environment, moist heat, which refers to prolonged exposure to a hot and humid environment, qi deficiency and poor blood circulation, which may arise due to constant bad posture or trauma, or weak constitution, brought about by stress or illness. When pain occurs, this may be due to an invasion of wind, cold, dampness or heat into the lower back region, a stagnation of qi and blood as a result of an injury suffered through trauma, or a deficiency of qi brought about by poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle.
Clearing the Channels
TCM strives to restore the circulation of qi and blood in the body through modalities such as acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, tui na (acupressure) and cupping. They can be performed separately or administered at the same time to facilitate recovery by restoring the flow of qi and blood in the affected lower back regions. In particular, acupuncture has been identified as a popular treatment to effect pain relief. Recent studies have even shown that 57% of rheumatologists and 69% of pain specialists have referred their patients to acupuncturists.
Back To Back
Generally, a TCM practitioner can prescribe the right set of treatments after a diagnostic to understanding your back condition thoroughly. Acupuncture may be the most common and effective method for rapid pain relief, but this may be performed in conjunction with herbal prescriptions, cupping or tui na to complement acupuncture or optimise the efficacy of the entire treatment.