Back pain is a condition that many of us know all too well. If you’ve ever lifted something that was just a little too heavy, spent too many hours hunched over a computer, or slept on a lumpy couch, then you probably know what we’re talking about. According to the CDC, approximately 30% of men and women over the age of 18 experience low back pain. Many more experience pain in their upper or mid backs as well.
Back pain has numerous etiologies, from acute injuries to chronic stress. Regardless of the cause, acupuncture and other modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have a variety of strategies to safely and effectively treat any type of back pain. The next time your back is acting up, schedule an appointment and discover how TCM can help.
Acupuncture for Back Pain
Acupuncture is the most known modality of TCM and the one most commonly used to treat all types of pain, back pain included! When treating back pain, acupuncture needles work by activating your immune system to reduce inflammation and increase circulation, which allow your body to heal itself faster. Acupuncture also has analgesic and nervine effects to calm your system and reduce pain to allow recovery to happen.
Cupping for Back Pain
Cupping is frequently used in conjunction with acupuncture to treat many different types of back pain. Cupping is the application of glass, plastic, or silicon cups that are applied to the body with suction. Once applied, the suction lifts the tissue and allows muscle knots and adhesions to separate. You’ve probably seen examples of cupping in the media, most commonly on athletes like Michael Phelps. While cupping does leave marks, they are rarely as extreme as what you see on professional athletes and usually go away within a few days.
Chinese Herbs for Back Pain
We prescribe herbs for a variety of conditions, back pain included! Herbs are prescribed in a formula, which is a combination of 6-15 different ingredients. Each formula is tailored to the individual and can be given in a variety of forms.
Most commonly, we prescribe herbs in pill form (which can be tablets or capsules) or in powder form (you can think of this like a herbal instant-tea). Herbs given for back pain usually focus on increasing circulation and reducing inflammation and can have additional beneficial effects depending on the individual formula. Herbs rarely have side effects and can be a great way to continue your treatment beyond the acupuncture table!
Stretches, Exercises, and Life-Style Changes
The purpose of TCM is to treat each individual holistically. When treating back pain, we consider what you do at home as well as how you present in the clinic. As part of our treatment plans, we will often recommend at-home stretches, workstation advice, or other postural corrections to help strengthen your back and change habits to prevent future re-injury.
Get Back to Doing What You Love
One minute you’re fine and the next your back hurts so badly you have to lay on the floor. Back pain can strike anytime. Back pain can be so intense that you miss out on things. We want to help you feel better with our time-tested TCM therapies so you can do the things you love.
To get started, head to our booking page and schedule your first appointment. If you’d like us to check your insurance benefits, we’d be happy to take care of that for you. We are in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross, Aetna, and the VA Community Choice Network.