General Health

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain affects between 80 – 90% of the population at some point in their life.  So, it’s not surprising that it is second to the common cold as cause for days off at work, and for people going to see their GP.  In fact, lower back is also one of the main reasons people come and see acupuncture treatment.

The Chinese Medicine Perspective of Low Back Pain

Interestingly, over 3/4 of diagnosed back pain is classified as being ‘non specific’ in Western Medicine. When low back pain is looked at from a Chinese medicine perspective, it is seen as a blockage to the flow of qi within the meridians.  The pattern of disharmony is then identified by the practitioner and a specific treatment is given.

The disruption of qi which causes lower back can be due one of the following patterns:

Kidney Qi Deficiency – According to Chinese medicine, the lower back is considered the “home of the kidneys”. Most chronic lower back pain conditions are associated with a Kidney weakness. Kidney Deficiency type pain manifests as a dull ache which comes and goes. It is usually aggravated by over tiredness and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood - When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This manifests as a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness - Cold, damp type pain is worse in the morning and aggravated in cold and damp weather. Patients typically find that the pain is relieved with warmth and movement. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by rest indicates cold predominance while swelling, numbness and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

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