Back pain is one of the most commonly experienced complaints and has effected nearly everyone of us. Acupuncture and massage (tui na) would of have been one of the most earliest recorded treatment methods for the treatment of back pain. Hot baths and external herbal applications have also been recorded as far back as ancient Egyptian times.
Acupuncture for back pain is an approved treatment modality by ACC in New Zealand. There have been numerous research studies both in China and the West on acupuncture for back pain.
An ancient Chinese physician Huo Tuo many centuries ago founded a series of acupuncture points down the edge of the spine that relate to the modern day anatomy view of nerve roots and dermatones.
Traditional medicine theory also holds that the spine and bones are controlled by the kidneys and muscles controlled by the spleen. Acupuncture points that treat the kidneys and spleen are hence often selected to help with the deeper cause issues of back pain.
Heavy or incorrect lifting may lead to a back sprain or strain. Any injury from a Chinese medicine perspective results in blockage and stagnation of energy and blood flow. In Chinese medicine terms this is called qi and blood stagnation and there are specific acupuncture points such as xuehai and geshu that address these issues.
The bladder meridian flows along the edge of the spine located over the paravetrebral muscle group and acupuncture points here may be selected.
Sciatica also comes under the banner of back pain, even though there may be no pain at all in the back.
Grant Pearse, a well respected acupuncture practitioner based in Hamilton and fluent in Chinese says “Sciatica, even though it is a pain in the butt, actually comes from the spine. In simplified terms, I look at the key note symptoms of whether the pain goes down the side of the leg or back of the leg. This knowledge then lets me choose if the gall bladder or bladder meridian is the course of action. I also look at where there might be numbness or tingling and this then directs to me which vertebra is involved and I then I can select specific hua tuo jia jia points to address those issues”
Acupuncture is more than just inserting needles and moxibustion, cupping, massage, gua sha (scraping) and electro acupuncture can all be used. Grant Pearse says “I use any number of those modalities, no one method is best. Each case needs to be looked at individually. Sometimes for example, all I have done is just some simple cupping with great results. Using Master Tung’s specialist acupuncture treatment protocols is always a big part of my treatments now“.
There are over 700 members of Acupuncture New Zealand spread through out the country.