Back pain is often mechanical meaning it stems from ligaments, muscles, discs, and small joints of the spine. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 people will suffer from some form of back pain in their lives and the NHS suggests that this is a leading cause of sick leave in the UK alone.
Muscular and skeletal wear and tear start from an early age, carrying heavy bags to and from locations, placing heavy loads on our physical body. We start work and often have physical or sedentary jobs that mean we either over burden our body or sit in positions that are not ergonomically friendly and challenge our posture.
We have a responsibility to maintain good health and that responsibility means that we should take good care of ourselves to enable us to live a long and happy life free from pain killers that our digestive systems must process.
We take good care of our motor vehicles, often taking them for regular service and MOT, we clean them and refuel every week but tend not to give ourselves the same love, care, and attention. We forget that if we don’t take good care of ourselves that we might not be able to drive the car, go to work or play with our children or grandchildren.
Instead, we wait for a sensation, a message sent to the brain from the body telling us that we are in trouble, that sensation can arrive in the form of pain. We might visit the doctor in the hope that the issue can be resolved. The standard protocol is a prescription of medication such as pain killers or steroids to mask the problem.
Our digestive system must process any medication prescribed and has the potential of disrupting the gut microbiome, which can cause further problems later in life.
When taking pain killers, one of three things may occur, either nothing and the pain doesn’t resolve, we get some relief, but the pain returns once the dose prescribed has finished or the pain seems to disappear completely.
In our experience pain rarely disappears completely instead it often finds another route.
It’s a bit like a plumbing system, where there is a leak in the pipes, we fix the leak but if there is a weak plumbing system in the first place the pain will find another escape route.
In clinical practice we often hear the words, ‘I seem to be falling apart’, ‘I resolve one issue and another problem occurs’, ‘it always seems to be on the left or right side’.
Modifying your Lifestyle
The good news is that with simple lifestyle modifications there is a lot you can do for yourself to Obtain some relief.
Hot and Cold Compress
Looking at Back Pain from a Chinese medicine viewpoint, if you are already aware that you have inflammation then applying heat might aggravate the trauma. A sign that inflammation might be present is a sharp stabbing pain. That said heat might be more beneficial if the pain is dull in nature, such as a constant nagging toothache.
Cold compresses or ice packs are often suggested to bring out inflammation or bruising. Coldness can often feel relieving because it has a numbing action. A rule of thumb is to try both and stick with what feels the most comfortable.
Change your sleeping position
A simple change such as placing a pillow under your knees can support the lower lumbar and take the pressure off the spine to help ease back pain. A towel under the elbow may be beneficial to support the arm or shoulder if this is your troubled area. Lying on your side in the foetal position with a pillow between your knees may align your pelvis and help if you are struggling with hip pain.
Exercises provided by your healthcare physicians and gentle movement may help relieve any tension within the muscular system.
Tai Chi, Qi Gong and yoga are some suggestions that move your energy and help stretch and ease muscle tension.
In the long term
- Do avoid lifting heavy objects alone and consider your company’s lifting and handling manual.
- Do engage in some form of exercise but only as much as you can manage, pushing the boundaries can make matters worse.
- Do consider regular movement, timely movement away from your workstation maybe all that is needed to keep you nimble.
- Do consider your footwear, high heels may need to be closeted if you are experiencing, back, knee or hip pain.
Why should I consider acupuncture over any other remedial work?
Acupuncture is designed to consider the whole body, so if you are experiencing back pain, it could be that it stems from the leg or the shoulder. Equally if you are experiencing migraines, it might be that you also have stomach problems such as irritable bowel syndrome IBS. Whilst acupuncture treatment is focused on your immediate concern other issues may resolve as well and you may experience improvements in energy or sleep, bowel movements and abdominal cramps, achy joints.
Following a thorough health history an acupuncturist will make an informed diagnosis that is designed with only you in mind.
To expediate your health concerns, a degree trained acupuncturist may have also engaged in continual professional development (CPD) such as TuiNa (deep tissue massage and manipulations), Cupping or Gua Sha (LINK) to get you back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
At Gaynor Grozier Acupuncture each of our therapies are considered to building a treatment package to help you on your journey to optimum health and wellbeing.