By Garrett Riedemann
Relief of back and neck pain – The second in a ten part series on how acupuncture can benefit you.
In today’s busy 24/7 world having chronic muscles and joints pain can make life difficult and sometime unbearable. If you are one of the millions that suffer from chronic lower back pain you know what I am talking about. Whether it is a stabbing and sharp pain or a dull deep ache it can be debilitating. Just know you are not alone, according to webmd.com “Nearly 8 out of every 10 people will have low back pain at some point in life. Back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. It is also the No. 1 reported reason for seeking acupuncture.”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when a patient comes in with back pain our first line of thinking is that the qi and blood are stuck in the area of the pain and that is what is causing the pain. What does that mean to the patient that is looking at you all confused because they don’t understand a thing you are saying? Well all that really means is that the fluids of the body and the energy used to move those fluids are pooling and not moving with the natural flow of a health body, causing pain.
From a western medical standpoint this would be considered inflammation, often treated with ice or heat, anti-inflammatory and pain meds or possibly some physical therapy but from at Chinese Medical viewpoint we look at this with a wider view. In TCM each person’s unique health picture is displayed through out his or her body and the pain is only the manifestation of the individuals unique picture. This means we want to look at each patient as a whole and address under lying patterns that may be setting people up for their qi and blood to be stuck.
I know what you are thinking, all that is fine and good but what about the pain now? Well I am glad you asked according to a Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Blog written by Daniel Pendick “Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%”. From the western medical standpoint acupuncture triggers the bodies own pain-mitigating chemicals such as endorphins, natural opioids and neurotransmitters to relieve pain. TCM says with the insertion of acupuncture needles locally where the patient is having pain and then distally at points specific to the patients unique health picture the acupuncturist helps to tonify (strengthen) and guild a patients qi and blood to flow properly. This eliminates the qi and blood stagnations (the pain) and created a balanced and healthier patient over all.