Nearly 8 out of 10 people will experience some type of back pain in their lifetime. If you have ever dealt with back pain, you know how miserable it can be. It can affect your mood, your work, your activities, basically the enjoyment of your life. How can you possibly be in a good mood when you are in pain? Have you ever had to call in sick to work because your pain was so severe? What activities have you had to stop since you have been in pain, can you enjoy your time with your kids. But many do not see any hope, they think that it is something they have to put up with and that is just not the case, there are things you can do to reduce or even eliminate your pain.
HOW DID I GET HERE?
Let’s look at some of the causes of back pain. Often it is due to the way your spinal joints, muscles, discs and nerves fit together and move. Herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, inflammation and pinched nerves are some examples of how all of these interlocking pieces can cause pain. Poor posture, obesity, lack of exercise and even smoking are some lifestyle triggers that can contribute to back pain. Arthritis, pregnancy and even stress can cause back pain.
TYPICAL APPROACHES TO BACK PAIN
If you go to a western medical practitioner, pain medications are on the menu, possibly physical therapy, maybe even surgery. We all know, pain medications are (or should be) a short term solution, and when you think about it, they are not really a solution at all because they do not fix anything AND they come with side effects. Physical therapy can be good, but chances are it will be for a fairly brief period of time and once it stops, the pain will come back. Surgery? Sometimes the end result is worse than the original symptoms and I have seen people who have had multiple surgeries just to try and correct what the original surgery has done!
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO BACK PAIN
Acupuncture has been clinically proven to be more effective at relieving back pain than conventional treatments! At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, I see patients get immediate and lasting relief from their pain. But, if you look at my last blog on stress relief under the “What can I do” heading, you will see that lifestyle changes are part of an overall approach to healing. In my clinic, I work with patients to provide them with attainable lifestyle changes that will help them get better more quickly and completely relieve their pain. Depending on what is causing the problem, there are other things that we suggest such as:
Exercise: Strengthening muscles in the back is key to eliminating back pain from a variety of causes. Strong muscles will help stabilize joints so that pain from things like disc problems and arthritis is relieved. If obesity is contributing to the problem, exercise will help patients lose weight. We know that exercise helps with stress and even back pain from pregnancy can be helped with proper exercise. As I mentioned in my last post, exercises like yoga, tai chi and qi gong are nutritive exercises that nourish you on many different levels and are good for just about everyone and any stage of life, especially as you get older. When you are dealing with back pain high impact exercises can exacerbate the problem so I normally recommend one of the above exercises to my patients.
Heat: Unless the problem is due to an acute injury, heat is always the best thing. A heating pad, every day will help relax the muscles in the area. It will also dilate blood vessels, bringing more blood and oxygen to the area, speeding up the healing process. A hot bath with Epsom salt is also great.
Topical Herbs: I have some fantastic topical solutions in my clinic that are safe, effective and provide great relief.
As noted above, acupuncture has been proven to be effective in treating back pain. The use of acupuncture induces the brain to release pain relieving endorphins and other healing factors, improving circulation, bringing oxygen to the tissues while removing waste. It is also important to rest to heal and I often have patients ask if they can stay just a little longer to rest a bit more because they get some of their best rest while on my table! Call Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist today, there is no reason to suffer for even another minute!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!