Lower back pain
Acupuncture can be one of the most effective therapies for relieving back pain.
Back pain is one of the most common conditions seen by acupuncturists. There are different types of back pain which are categorised into different ways in acupuncture theory as there are various symptoms, causes and treatment.
Lower back pain is often due to a weakness of the energy of the kidneys in Chinese medicine. Often the Kidney energy is weakened over time through overwork – this can relate to literally working very long hours, or may be related to general overactivity in life. In Chinese medicine the kidneys correspond to the element of water and physiologically / emotionally to willpower. Sometimes a person has a very strong will to keep on “doing” in life, however they may be overdoing it in relation to their energy. The season associated with the kidneys is winter. As nature outside lies dormant during the winter, the kidneys naturally need a place to “rest”. It is possible to support this deeper, resting aspect of the kidneys through having quiet or meditative time. Any activity which focuses the person’s attention inward; yin, instead of outward; yang, will nurture the fundamental energy of this organ. For the individual it is necessary for the outwardly focused willpower to be turned inward to a more contemplative way of being.
Sometimes exercise can also help to reduce lower back pain, but it may be that if it does not, or if it exacerbates the pain, that the kidneys are needing some of their natural “habitat” of quiet, rest, and inward reflection to really increase the energy. Certain types of exercise such as some types of yoga, and pilates have a meditative aspect to them so these may be more appropriate types of exercise for this type of lower back pain.
The kidneys also benefit from enough actual rest – through sleeping at night. Chinese medicine and acupuncture theory says the quality of sleep at night differs from that gained during the day. Night is more yin; quite, dark, less active and more restful. It might be that the person with the back pain benefits from deep, quality sleep at the appropriate time as this is another way to support and nourish the kidneys.
So, you may come to visit an acupuncturist hoping to “fix” your lower back pain and discover there may be a little more to it than that! Acupuncture treatment is very effective in relieving back pain, but there may also be other ways the treatment can be supported by your own behavior. Chinese medicine is truly a holistic modal, describing all of the inter-relationships of the human energetic system and hence you may be asked many questions or be given advice that could seem unrelated, but are very connected. As well as potentially reducing your symptoms more effectively and involving you in the treatment, this approach can help you to understand more about what lifestyle and habits really help you specifically to live your life with greater health.