Acute lower back pain is one of the most commonly seen painful condition in the clinic with sudden onset and excruciating pain in the waist or to hip area. It is usually caused by abrupt and forceful pulling in the lumbar muscles. Most people don't know that acupuncture can be an effective option in alleviating pain and assist in reducing inflammation in the lower back. The key symptoms are painful and extreme difficulty bending over, turning to the side and stiffness. It can greatly impact daily routines as patients have difficulty sitting or lying down. At the same time any small movement may cause short burst of spasms.
In Chinese Medicine it is believed that “stagnation and malnourishment cause pain”.
Everything functions normally when the meridians have enough vital energy (qi) to support blood flow in vessels. Oxygen and nutrients can then reach joints and muscles. Pain starts when this pathway is obstructed. By inserting acupuncture needles into the meridians at the muscular layer, it acts as a muscle relaxant and stimulate peripheral nerves to down regulates inflammatory response.
How does acupuncture treat acute lower back pain?
1. Within hours to 3 days after initial onset of acute pain 2. Rule out the possibility of fractures or other internal injury 3. Distal needling - anywhere but the location of pain to minimise the chances of aggravating inflamed lower back muscles. 4. Moxibustion - the moxa herb can help stop pain by promoting circulation and relieve spasms. 5. Acupuncture is recommended every 3-4 days for up to 5 sessions. 6. Rub ointment into the skin first then followed by a heat pack over it - relaxes the muscle and the warmth pushes the ointment into the deeper layers.
Most people can walk out of the clinic better after treatment and with improved range of motion in the lower back. By taking it easy for the next couple of days (avoid bending back or heavy lifting at all cost) and continue with the step 6 every evening, the inflammation and pain should continue to reduce quickly without anti-inflammatory drugs. Avoid massaging the lower back as it can exacerbate symptoms.
The above can only serve as a quick guide about the general treatment of acute lower back pain. Please speak to us privately for any questions specific to your circumstances.