Therapist talk:

Acupuncture Treatment in Oriental Medicine

 

By Eitaro Hamano

(Acupuncturist)

3. Acupuncture and a strained back

 

This time, I will take a closer look at the relationship between a strained back and acupuncture. The waist is a very important area of the body. Perhaps the largest number of patients come to our clinic complaining of pain in the lower back and buttocks. Of these, the so-called "acute low back pain" is a common visit throughout the year. In Europe, because of the severe nature of this sudden pain, I have heard an expression that it is said to be the "Witch's blow". After getting this pain, most people have to crawl to the bathroom because the pain is so bad, and it may take up to 3 days until they can stand and walk.

The most common times when people can strain their back is upon waking up in the morning, bending down to wash their face, bending down to lift a heavy object, or trying to get up from a sitting position. In this case, most people will be diagnosed with acute myofascial low back pain or lumbar sprain in hospitals. In short, there are no abnormalities in the bones or joints, which means that the damage will be to the muscles and the fascia that covers them.

Why do you suddenly get a low back pain when you are doing something that you normally do not care about? As with any illness, there should be some warning signs that your body emits in the time leading up to the injury, such as feeling a little stiff, heavy or having a cold body. Many patients are busy with their lives so easily miss these signs in their bodies. Looking back on your life for a week or two before you got a low back pain, the cause was likely there. You may think that you have been sleep deprived, or you have always been nervous due to work stress, or you have been much eating and drinking at parties a lot recently. If such a life habit continues for a while, the blood circulation of the body deteriorates, nutrition is not distributed to each tissue, fatigue accumulates, and the functions of tissues such as muscles, fat, soft tissues, and ligaments deteriorate.

Muscles lose their elasticity, particularly their stretching and contracting ability. Also ligaments and soft tissues lose their ability to support bones and joints. When that happens, the body becomes inflexible, with the range of motion of the joints unknowingly reduced. If you continue to have the same lifestyle even though your physical condition has reached its limit, any small movement could become the "Witch's blow", which triggers off the back pain.

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Now let's think about low back pain in Oriental medicine.

In my second talk, in Oriental medicine, the five invisible functions that make humans alive are "wood, fire, earth, gold, and water" (moku, ka, do, kin, sui) in the natural world. I wrote that Oriental medicine reduces components into elements as a way of classifying the state of the disease.

Which factors are involved in low back pain?

Speaking of the motion of stretching and contracting muscles, this falls into the category of "wood", which includes the work of the liver, the optic nerve and the hormonal system and is also related to various stresses and feelings of anger.

In addition, the fat that protects the body and the soft tissues that support it fall into the category of "earth". The functions of the digestive system such as the gastrointestinal tract, and emotions such as worries, and fear are related.

Bones and joints fall into the "water" category, which includes the functions of the urinary system such as the kidneys. This also involves feelings of fear, and sleep. 

All of this affects the fundamental vital energy. If stress continues, it affects the function of liver - the muscles and ligaments. If there is too much over-drinking and over-eating, it affects the function of spleen and soft tissues. If sleep deprivation continues, it affects the function of kidney and the bones and can cause low back pain.

In Oriental medicine acupuncture, we focus on these factors; we classify the causes, and work on each meridian to operate in a balanced manner. The acupuncture points callled "Jinyu", "Shishitsu", "Dichouyu", "Yokan”. "Ichu", "Yoryosen" and "Konron" on the outside of the heel are used.

By the way, sciatica, which causes pain and numbness from the buttocks to the legs, is mostly caused by tension and rigidity of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. It is related to the bladder meridian that run from the waist to the legs. The acupuncture points, "hokou" and "chippen" on the buttocks are often used. From the perspective of oriental medicine, the lower back pain is closely related to the base of the spine and the kidneys that control vital energy, and when it weakens, it affects the entire mind and body. I think it's a good idea to keep in mind the habit of sitting upright for a few minutes on a regular basis.

Immediately after an acute lower back pain occurs, the tissue is inflamed and heat is generated, so it will be easier if the affected area is cooled and rested. If you force it when the inflammation is strong, it will get worse. Please come to our clinic for the treatment when you can stand and walk for a few days. It is better to come once the acute pain has subsided.

Next time, I will talk about various symptoms related to acupuncture and autonomic nerves.