What is Lower Back pain?
Lower Back pain is as simple as pain that occurs in the lower back region however it can then be further categorised into three main categories;
- Acute pain. This type of pain typically comes on suddenly and lasts for a few days or weeks, and is considered a normal response of the body to injury or tissue damage. The pain gradually subsides as the body heals
- Subacute low back pain. Lasting between 6 weeks and 3 months, this type of pain is usually mechanical in nature (such as a muscle strain or joint pain) but is prolonged. At this point, a medical workup may be considered, and is advisable if the pain is severe and limits one’s ability to participate in activities of daily living, sleeping, and working.
- Chronic back pain. Usually defined as lower back pain that lasts over 3 months, this type of pain is usually severe, does not respond to initial treatments, and requires a thorough medical workup to determine the exact source of the pain (1).
“The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for flexing and rotating the hips while walking, as well as supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the muscles in the pelvis, legs, and feet” (1).
Lower Back Pain is one of the most common presenting complaint at our clinic, with lumbar strain being one of the most common injuries which cause people to seek Acupuncture at Balanced Life Health Care. Many “weekend warriors” experience injuries and pain from trying to tackle large home projects, such as painting the exterior of their home or doing their own landscaping.
What causes Lower Back pain?
The Lower Back is susceptible to strain because of its weight-bearing function and connection in movements, such as twisting and bending. Muscle strain is caused when muscle fibers are over-stretched or torn. Inflammation is common at the site of injury, usually accompanied by pain with movement. Muscle cramping or spasms can occur, as well as decreased function and/or range of motion (2).
Other common causes of back pain are important to rule out include;
- Misalignment of vertebrae
- Bulging disc or reduction of gap
- Kidney stones or infection
- Referral pain
Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine treatment of Lower Back Pain?
Acupuncture has a long history of being used in treatment of Sciatica and Lower Back pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine stainless steel needles into particular sites within the body. Acupuncture aims to;
- Release a cascade of natural painkillers (endorphins and enkephalins)
- Increase blood flow to the painful area
- Relax the muscles in the surrounding area
To read more about how Acupuncture works treats pain. In a typical session to treat sciatic pain at Balanced Life Health Care our Acupuncturist places acupuncture needles along the inside of the lower calf/ankle and along the wrist/forearm area. We take a two-pronged approach. First, we target the lower back, to increase blood flow and muscle relaxation around the lumbar vertebrae.
Acupuncture has shown clinically and in research to be effective at treating lower back pain (3). Researchers based at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, U.K., examined many studies from around the globe on acupuncture for back pain. The results of this examination will be distributed in the April 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine (link coming soon).
“For individuals with chronic back pain, this examination demonstrates that acupuncture is unmistakably powerful in giving impressive relief from discomfort,” said Eric Manheimer, research paper author and director of database and evaluation for the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. “The exploration likewise demonstrated that acupuncture gave genuine relief from pain. The advantage was not only because of placebo.”
At Balanced Life Health Care we also believed in a combined approach based on your unique diagnosis, sometimes you will receive Acupuncture alone. However sometimes you may be cross referred to one of our resident Chiropractors or Myotherapist based on your individual needs. Our job is to take the guess work out of which therapy best suits you condition as we know that sometimes if can be confusing. We believe in getting you better and out of pain as quickly as possible.