Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain Relief Strategies

Back pain is the #1 reason that patients consider and pursue Chinese medical treatment including acupuncture, acupressure, herbs and essential oils. Learn effective self-care protocols that get to the root causative factor of back pain here. The causes of back pain broken down by the specific patterns of pain syndromes making self-treatment protocols more accessible to you.

Related Article: Chinese Herbs for Trauma and Sports Injuries

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Acupressure Point Combination for Lower Back Painessential oils for acupressure

Learn everything you need to know about using acupressure for self-care here!

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Kidney Deficiency Causing Lower Back Pain

Kidney Deficiency is the most common underlying cause of lower back pain and lower back pain is a diagnostic indication of Kidney Deficiency. it is especially indicated with organic yin-valley tonic herbslower back pain that is chronic and did not occur because of an injury or traumatic event. However, even with an injury or traumatic event one could have had a predisposition to lower back injury due to chronic Kidney Deficiency.So to clarify, with Kidney Deficient pathology, lower back pain is not necessarily related to nerve impingement syndrome but can be due to weakness of the lower back.

Kidney Yin Deficiency and Lower Back Pain

Yin deficiency can 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 can 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 Chinese medical strategies of re-enforcing the Kidney Energetic Organ System to treat the root cause of the pain. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Kidney Yang Deficiency and Lower Back Painorganic-tcm-kidney-yang-plaster-stick-2oz.png

A 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, lack of energy, pale face, hearing loss, feeling cold all the time, frequent urination, low libido. Also, the lower back would likely feel cold to the touch. This pattern of pain would be relieved with the application of heat.

Consider our organic Ancestor Treasure Yang formula used with our organic Yin Valley formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

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Blood and Qi Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain

In Chinese medicine it is often said that one cannot have pain without Blood and Qi Stagnation. Another organic-tcm-trauma-5-lower-back-pain-and-strain-2oz.pngprimary theory states that where Qi goes Blood follows; where Blood goes Qi follows. While Qi and Blood Stagnation are generally seen together, one condition may be more pronounced that the other.

Qi Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain

Qi is pronounced "Chee" and is sometimes spelled Chi; Qi is basically the energy that circulates throughout your body. Qi is Yang in nature and is responsible for animation of the human form. Qi travels through the 12+ meridians (channels) very much like blood through vessels. Chinese medicine works to insure that Qi is able to move freely, that it is moving in the correct direction, and that there is an abundant availability of Qi. If Qi does not move freely through the channels, pain can develop. Consider our organic Great Mender formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Blood Stagnation Causing Lower Back Paingm-herbs-for-trauma-pain.jpg

There are two main causes of Blood Stagnation; one is that there was some 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 is found at the site of the trauma. The other cause of Blood Stagnation is a long history of Qi Stagnation. The Qi is said to move the Blood. Should the Qi remain Stagnant for long enough, then the local body fluids that are supposed to be flowing begin to stagnate as well. Consider our organic Great Mender formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Blood Deficiency Causing Lower Back Pain

Often you will see this condition in the elderly as they become dry, brittle, and inflexible. This is because aging naturally results in Yin Deficiency if measures such as regular Yin tonic herb consumption is not practiced as one ages. Blood is a Yin substance; Liver Blood bathes and nourishes the joints; and the spine is a series of joints. Consider our organic Sage Mountain herbal formula with our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

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Pain Lower Back, Upper Back, Neck, and Spine

The Bladder Channel travels from the inner canthus of the eye, over the head, down the back (twice_ and lower-back-pain-and-strain essemntial oilsdown the back of the leg to the outer edge of the foot. This is why points on the foot are able to alleviate back pain. The Small Intestine Channel starts at the ulner side of the pinky finger and travels up the arm, crisscrosses the scapula, traverses the neck to end near the ear. Acupressure Point Small Intestine 3
coupled with acupressure point Bladder 62 to activate what is known as an extraordinary vessel; in this case, the Du channel which travels the length of the entire spine. This is why these two points used together can alleviate pain so broadly. Therefore, this would be an appropriate protocol for bulging disks, herniated disks, or muscle strain.

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Lower Back Pain that Radiates Down the Leg

Often, those with chronic lower back pain experience pain that runs down the leg. In Chinese medicine we use channel theory to differentiate pain depending on where the pain is located.

Pain Radiates Down Back of Leg

The Bladder Channel runs down the back of the leg. The Kidney energetic organ system and the Bladder energetic organ systems are paired organ systems. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula, our organic Great Mender formula, and our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Pain Radiates Down Side of the Legsciatic-pain-therapy-essential oils

The Gallbladder Channel runs through the sciatic area down the outside of the leg to the lateral malleolus (ankle). The Gallbladder and Liver energetic organ systems are paired in Chinese medicine. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula, our organic Great Mender formula, and our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

Related Article: Sciatica Pain Relief

Back Pain That Radiates to the Groin and Front of Leg

Pain from back pain causing sciatica radiating from the SI Joint Radiating to the Front of the Leg and Groin Area is a Gallbladder/Liver Channel association. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula, our organic Great Mender formula, and our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

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Liver Qi Stagnation Causing Lower Back Pain

There may also be an emotional component in this particular pathology; for instance, a long history of free-and-easy-wanderer-organic herbsfrustration, resentment or some 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 the Qi Stagnation type of back pain, but if it goes on for long enough muscles becomes tighter and more reactive. In this case, the body begins to manifest that stagnation in the form of lumps, tumors, sharp pains or other blood circulation problems

Consider our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

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. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula and our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!

Acupressure Point Combination Strategy:

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Our typical image of pain killers and analgesics are drugs that block nerve conduction signals to the brain; lower-back-pain-acupressure kitnatural pain treatments work much differently and optimally initiate true healing and long term relief from pain. As with any chronic condition one would have to apply these natural healing modalities over a matter of many months to achieve long-standing relief from back pain. This is where people often get confused with natural therapy thinking that they only use the remedies at the time they are suffering from pain, like one would take an aspirin. Instead, Chinese medicine the goal is not masking the symptom (being pain), but resolving the actual imbalances that are causing the pain; this takes time. Chinese medicine recognizes these common causes of lower back pain:

  1. Trauma-Trauma due to a sports injury, car accident, improper lifting, or strains are the most common cause of lower back pain and results in Blood Stagnation, Qi Stagnation, and inflammation. This type of lower back pain is acute, and is typically sharp and severe in nature, especially in the early stages. Related Article: Chinese Herbs for Trauma and Sports Injuries
  2. Deficiency-Overworking, poor lifestyle habits and aging lead to Kidney Deficiencies in Chinese medicine. This condition is typically chronic in nature with dull, achy pain and progresses gradually. Other Kidney Deficient symptoms such as knee pain, tinnitus, coldness, and low energy could also present with this type of lower back pain. This is probably the most important aspect of attaining true and lasting relief from lower back pain. Chinese Kidney Tonic Herbs can be taken over a number of months to restore vitality and strength naturally. The concept of the Organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine is radically different from that of contemporary Western medicine. Understanding this difference is very important because the physiology and pathology of the Organs is fundamental to the understanding and treatment of disease. 
  3. External Invasions-According to Chinese medicinal theory, environmental factors can have a dramatic effect on our health, especially if we are run down. Many people recognize that their pain syndromes are exacerbated with cold or damp weather. This type of lower back pain is often dull, achy and heavy in nature, improving with heat. 

Often, those with lower back pain have a combination of all three causes; someone with a weak back from deficiency would be more susceptible to injury. Similarly, if your back were injured and weak, you would be more susceptible to an external invasion of Cold and Damp.

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Healing Strategies for Lower Back Pain in Chinese Medicine

Stimulating the Free Flow of Blood and Qi
Blood in Chinese medicine is similar to the western medical concept, as it circulates nutrients and healing agents in the body. Where Qi goes, Blood follows. If a person’s Blood and Qi are flowing freely, he/she will be pain free; good blood circulation to the lower back will speed healing. Natural herbs such as Red Sage, acupuncture, massage, and essential oils such as cinnamon and rosemary all improve Blood and Qi circulation. 

Reduce Inflammation and Clear Heat Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process; however, herbal-ice-therapy-2oz.pngexcessive swelling can cause additional tissue damage in cases of trauma and strain. Cold therapy is often applied immediately after an injury to stop the inflammation, as cold is quite restricting. This restricting quality of cold therapies will cause increased Blood and Qi stagnation if it is used after the initial 24 hours of an injury. Although cold therapies applied to the lower back, even in deficient conditions, will provide temporary pain relief, it essentially aggravates the condition and delays lower back pain relief; this mistreatment of the condition sometimes results in chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. Learn the correct way to treat traumatic injury here.

More About Acupressure for Lower Back Pain

Backaches are a common pathology among people everywhere. Thanks to the westward expansion of Traditional Chinese medicine, people are coming to appreciate the age old medical wisdom of the Orient. This is especially true with regard to the alleviation of back pain. One of the most common reasons that people seek out an acupressurist/acupuncturist is because of lower back pain. Back pain is commonly considered a nerve impingement syndrome. The way it works is that there's some kind of structural problem that prevents the nerves from exiting the spinal cord through the spinal vertebrae and out into the body. When there is something pinching one of these nerves as it exits the spine it causes pain. The common term for this problem is a "pinched nerve".

Qi flows through a network of channels or meridians. This sounds much like our neurological system and some try to relate Qi stagnation as a pinched nerve syndrome; however, this is not entirely accurate because Chinese medicine is able to address back pain without mechanical adjustments to the body, manipulation of the spine, surgery to remove a herniated disc, or any other invasive procedure. Never the less, pain is relieved through Chinese medicine utilizing herbs that break up Qi Stagnation. This begs the question: Is the nerve impingement theory the correct explanation for back pain?

While debating the cause is interesting for theorists, it does little for the sufferer. Left untreated, Qi Stagnation can lead to Blood Stagnation, and what was a dull ache that radiates outward from the central location can become a very sharp fixed pain. Qi and Blood are actually inseparable; this means that prolonged Qi Stagnation will inevitably result in Blood Stagnation since Qi moves the Blood

One way in which doctors determine if there is a nerve impingement is by having the patient lean to the right, and then to the left in order to see if that movement has any effect on the pain. If it does, then a nerve is being pinched. If that pinching can be relieved, then, presumably, the pain will go away along with it. It is important to note that this is just one way of testing for a nerve impingement syndrome. This test isn't always an end-all diagnostic tool.

While removing the obstruction to the nerve should remove the nerve pain, it doesn't always work. Surgery, which is expensive at best and dangerous at worst, may be considered. Chinese Medicine sees these pains as having several possible etiologies with many possible strategies that are low risk. When Chinese medical practitioners are looking to resolve pain syndromes they consider the specific channels, symptoms, and other symptoms that would point to a specific pattern of imbalance.

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References

Meng CF, Wang D, Ngeow J, Lao L, Peterson M, Paget S. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain in older patients: a randomized, controlled trial. Rheumatology. 2003;42(12):1508–1517. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keg405. [Google Scholar]

Brinkhaus B, Witt CM, Jena S, Linde K, Streng A, Wagenpfeil S, et al. Acupuncture in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(4):450–457. [Google Scholar]

Witt CM, Jena S, Selim D, Brinkhaus B, Reinhold T, Wruck K, et al. Pragmatic randomized trial evaluating the clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;164(5):487–496. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwj224. [Google Scholar]

Cho YJ, Song YK, Cha YY, Shin BC, Shin IH, Park HJ, et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a multicenter, randomized, patient-assessor blind, sham-controlled clinical trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2013;38(7):549–557. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318275e601. [Google Scholar]

Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, McLean RM, Forciea MA; Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(7):514–530. doi:10.7326/M16-2367

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Dr. Browne's Shared Insights and Experiences

I worked with veterans with chronic lower back pain for years in VA hospitals, a major research medical center, and my own clinic. The VA recently began implementing the "Whole Health" program which advocates self-care modalities for veterans. This was a result of many research studies proving that alternative therapies and self-care education is more cost-efficient than standard healthcare. 

Many veterans I treated suffered with ongoing consequences of botched back surgeries; I have seen veteran patients who had over a dozen back surgeries and sometimes had spinal simulators. None-the-less, amazing results can be achieved for those with serious chronic back pain. The VA implemented classes in Tai-qi, chair yoga, anti-inflammatory diets, and meditation along with Chinese medicine; frankly, I was a little bit shocked by the improvements that veterans with severe chronic back pain experienced who took part in all of these self-care modalities on a regular basis over a number of months.

I am happy to be able to share treatment strategies that I have learned over the years and hope that this knowledge helps you to ease your suffering and want I to share this little downloadable booklet with more acupressure point combinations for back pain linked here