Polar Vortex! Snowmageddon! There’s been an awful lot of shoveling and maneuvering of icy sidewalks, and sometimes the back sure does get tweaked.
Back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. What causes it? Some of the top causes are sprains (overstretching one or more of the ligaments in the back (why can’t they make shovels like they used to?) and strains (a rip or tear in the muscle caused by sudden force). This can happen from an injury, poor posture, or improper lifting.
Another source of back pain comes from a herniated disc — which is a disc that bulges out from its place between two vertebrae.
Sciatica is also a culprit that causes pain in the back. Sciatica, (also known as sciatic neuritis) is the result of the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. It produces pain and/or numbness in the lower back, the glutes, and even down the entire length of the leg.
Treatment options vary depending on the specifics of the case. Muscle spasms, tight tendons and connective tissue, bulging or herniated discs, misaligned spine, or spinal degeneration is often the cause for sciatica. In most cases, relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve can be achieved without undergoing surgery. That means no recovering-from-surgery-time!
Back problems are also, by far, the primary reason for appointments with acupuncturists. Acupuncture is wonderful at releasing the extra tension that causes the tendons, and muscle spasms, to irritate the sciatica nerve bundle. When symptoms are closer to the origin area in the lower back, the outer nerves are irritated in the bundle. As the symptoms reach (radiate) farther down the leg to the foot, and pick up numbness, the deeper nerves in the bundle are also getting irritated. And so might you be!
This is obviously something for everyone suffering from sciatica — you want to be trying acupuncture pronto to stave off surgery. Many patients feel immediate improvements which is very encouraging. The tension clears faster if you can catch it early. Point sites will be local to the lower back, but also up to the upper back and neck area (where some great exit points live).
With acupuncture, we look at your whole health history, sports traumas, falls, bumps and bruises, as well as all other stories. The body likes to remember its history to help protect you. Acupuncture helps to reduce the residual effects that linger, sometimes for years. There is more information on the tongue and the pulse, in addition to your history. Also, when there is flinching during touch or treatment, we know there has been trauma.
Back pain is one of the most frequently treated symptoms, and most people experience great results. Now get back out there and finish that shoveling! (Or bribe the neighborhood kids!)
For more information about back pain and how acupuncture can help, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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Photo by Peter Griffin