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Pain Relief for Low Back Pain with Electroacupuncture

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Presented by Jean Kim


Disclaimer: Do not try to acupuncture yourself or others unless you are a licensed practitioner. There are risks with incorrect needling techniques. This is for educational purposes only. Please speak to your attending acupuncturist if you are interested in electroacupuncture.

Chronic Low Back Pain

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is pain that lasts for at least 3 months.

Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting the adult population, with a prevalence of up to 84%.

Muscle injuries of the lower back are commonly caused by an improper lift, lifting while twisting, a sudden movement, a fall, improper posture which may cause lower back pain, and many other structural sources in the lumbar spine.

In an Acupuncturists Perspective: If the Qi and/or blood stagnate in the channel(s), specifically through the region of the low back, there will be pain. Qi is essentially the energy that circulates throughout your body. Qi travels through all twelve meridians channels in your body, very much like how blood travels through vessels. Traditional Oriental Medicine method is to ensure that Qi is able to move freely, that it is moving in the correct direction, just like safeguarding your body’s homeostasis. If Qi does not move freely through your meridian channels, pain can develop.


So What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture: an intervention consisting of the insertion of needles at specific acupuncture points.

When acupuncture needles are inserted into the human body, the needles may go through multiple layers including the skin (epidermis and dermis), subcutaneous tissue, and muscles. Each of these layers contains special structures and cells that may respond to needling. There are three kinds of reactions to acupuncture, a neuronal reaction, a biophysical reaction, and a biochemical reaction.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles.


Possible Causes of Lower Back Pain


Qi Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain:

Qi is basically the energy that circulates throughout your body. Qi travels through all twelve meridians (channels), very much like blood through vessels. Chinese Medicine works to ensure that Qi is able to move freely, that it is moving in the correct direction, and that there is an abundance of Qi. If Qi does not move freely through the channels, pain can develop. Qi Stagnation causes pain! There is a Chinese saying:


“When there is pain, there I no free flow, when there is free flow, there is no pain.”


Blood Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain:

Blood stagnation has different reasons: one is local trauma. This could be caused by heavy lifting, a sport’s injury, or perhaps even an automobile accident. Any specific trauma to the back will give rise to what we call Blood Stagnation. The treatment principle is the same as with Qi Stagnation. Blood Stasis is the local inflammation, bruising, and purple thick blood that’s found at the site of the trauma. The other cause of Blood Stagnation is a long history of Qi Stagnation. Qi moves the Blood, which means if Qi stays stagnant long enough, then the local body fluids that are supposed to be flowing begin to stagnate as well.


Liver Qi Stagnation can cause Lower Back Pain

There may also be an emotional component in this particular pathology; for instance, long history of stress, frustration, resentment, anger, or keeping it all inwards, as well as other really bitter emotional pathology can lead to Liver Qi Stagnation. As it turns out, the Liver governs over the movement of Qi throughout the body. We all get frustrated once in a while and that can give rise to Liver Qi Stagnation back pain, but if it goes on for long enough muscles become tighter and more reactive. In this case, the body begins to manifest that stagnation in the form of lumps, knots, sharp pains, or circulatory problems.


Kidney Deficiency & Adrenal Fatigue, Causing Lower Back Pain

Kidney Deficiency lower back pain is not necessarily related to nerve impingement syndrome but can be due to weakness of the lower back. Yin deficiency tends to include lower backache that is a long-term problem with no history of trauma; it just started hurting one day and never went away. With this said, it is important to understand that longstanding Kidney Deficiency may produce weaknesses that make one susceptible to injury and trauma. Other symptoms of Yin deficiency include hot flashes night sweats, tinnitus, irritability, restlessness, and the feeling that your hands and feet are too hot. Herbal tonics are consistent with TCM strategies of re-enforcing the Kidneys & Adrenals to treat the root cause of the pain.


Deficiency of Kidney Yang

Could also give rise to lower back pain. Other symptoms of Kidney Yang deficiency would be early morning diarrhea, cold hands and feet, fatigue pale face, hearing loss, feeling cold all the time, frequent urination, infertility, and low libido


Liver-Kidney Imbalances Causing Lower Back Pain with PMS

Lower back pain is sometimes found in women with painful periods and PMS. Dull achy pain is typically experienced just before the onset of menstruation. Additionally, women may notice a bout of very loose stools at the onset or just before menstruation begins.