When your back hurts
You are not alone! Back pain, especially low back pain, is one of the plagues of modern life. Nearly eight out of ten people get it at some point. Healthcare systems worldwide spend billions treating it. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that western medicine can do. Pills or shots may temporarily hide the pain. Surgery usually fuses vertebrae together and makes you less mobile.
Fortunately, there’s a less invasive option. Acupuncture is safe and gentle, and is recommended by the World Health Organization. It balances the body to bring muscles, nerves and bones into harmony.
What brings on the pain?
Given that so many people suffer from it, it’s probably related to a sedentary lifestyle. We’re tied to our desks about eight hours a day, and when we come home we want to relax. For others, stress is a major component. Of course there are also injuries — did you move the wrong way and get jolted by a bolt of pain? Structural considerations like scoliosis or a slipped disc can cause it too.
What to do
For most people, the pain sticks around and makes the area more susceptible to injury. Getting bodywork such as acupuncture is usually a reliable way of dealing with it. In an acupuncture session, treatment depends on what kind of pain you have. Is it chronic? Acute? Sharp? Achy? Constant? You’ll be diagnosed according to those questions and others, and the treatment plan will address what your body needs. If you want to know more about how acupuncture works, check out my previous article here.
Chronic vs. acute
New or acute pain is often faster to treat than chronic pain, especially if it’s been going on for years. But I’ve seen very good results for both when people get a series of weekly acupuncture treatments. It basically reeducates the body to hold itself in a better way, so that muscles aren’t pulled, bones don’t grind together and nerves don’t get pinched. The body needs time to learn the new pattern, which is why one treatment frequently isn’t enough. But having an hour to yourself to relax, reduce stress and possibly fall asleep (one of the common side effects of treatments) are other great benefits to regular treatment.
It’s also important to take matters into your own hands. Acupuncture can be very effective at relieving pain and gently reforming the meridians (which means balancing the physical terrain), but you’ll get the best results if you also exercise. Get advice from a practitioner about which forms of activity are right for you, and do it regularly. Many people find yoga to be helpful.
Find your strength
After giving over 10,000 treatments, I’ve seen how the body is designed to adapt. You may be in pain right now, but if you give your body different input (via treatments and self-care routines) you’ll see a response. We’re designed this way. Even on a cellular level we’re constantly changing and growing, responding to the influences around us. So take heart — a better quality of life can be in your hands!