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Acupuncture For Low Back Pain

By Kimberly Guorong Du

The treatment in traditional Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicine and TuiNa (Chinese medical massage). Traditional Chinese Medicine is a very effective way to treat lower back pains. Clinically, lower back pains can caused by various diseases. Some well-known causes are renal diseases, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, spondilitis, osteoporosis, traumatic injury of the lumber region, etc.

According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, lower back pains can be separated into three main types based upon their causes:

  1. Caused by Dampness in the Cold Air

    This type of lower back pains usually occurs after patients are exposed to cold and damp weather. This type of lower back pains is aggravated during rainy days. Usually patients experience heavy sensation and muscle stiffness in the loin region, and limitation of extension and flexion on the back. The pain may radiate downwards to the buttocks and lower limbs. The patients may have a cold feeling around the affected area. Patients' tongue coating is white and sticky, and their pulses are usually deep and weak or deep and slow.

  2. Caused by Kidney Deficiency

    The symptoms of this type of pains include gradual onset and prolonged pains or soreness accompanied by lassitude and weakness of the loins and knees. The pains are aggravated by fatigue and alleviated by bed rest. If the Yang energy in the patients' kidney is deficient, patients may have cramp-like sensation in the lower abdomen, somber white facial complexion, cold limbs, pale tongue, deep thready or deep slow pulse. If the Ying energy in patients' kidney is deficient, patients may experience irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and throat, flushed face, feverish sensation in the chest and palms and soles, reddened tongue proper with scanty coating, thready weak or thready rapid pulse.

  3. Caused by Trauma

    The patients with this type of pains were usually sprained. They may a history of strains in the lumber region, or rigidity and pains at the lower back, which is generally fixed in a certain area. The pains are aggravated by pressure or by turning the body. This type of pains can be diagnosed by pink or dark purplish tongue and string-taut hesitant pulse.

Above three types of lower back pains are not absolutely isolated. Sometimes they may combine together or transform one type into another. For example, gradual onset of low back pain can arise from recurring lower back strains. Kidney deficiency weakens the muscles strength in the loin. Then the patient can be easily strained and the dampness in the cold air will easily invade the patient's body and cause him experience pains at his lower back. Depending upon the type of lower back pains, a Chinese medicine doctor will choose different herbal formula, or different acupoints, or different needle manipulating methods if using moxibustion and cupping to treat the patient.

Many people think that chronic nonspecific lower back pains are difficult to treat because it is difficult to find their causes. Usually patients live with pain-relief medicines. However, gradually the pain-relief medicine could help less and less. Chinese medicine is a good alternative or complementary choice for treating nonspecific lower back pains. Why not try an alternative ways to live without pains?