Got a “bad back?” If so, you’re not alone – over 80% of Americans suffer from some form of back pain during their lives. As such, back pain is one of the most disruptive health conditions in our society on a day-to-day basis. From missed days at work to sleepless nights, costly surgeries to opioid dependence, our “bad backs” are lowering our quality of life and putting us at greater health risks.
As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I don’t believe in “bad backs” – just a lack of the right support. The body has an amazing ability to heal, regenerate, and revive itself when we give it the resources to do so. Thankfully, acupuncture and cupping are two powerful and effective ways to relieve both chronic and acute back pain.
Let’s explore how these simple, non-invasive therapies can help you relieve your back pain and enjoy a healthy, active, pain-free future!
Back Pain Relief with Chinese Medicine
In Chinese medicine, the secret to pain relief is flow. An old adage says that where there is free flow of qi and blood, there is no pain. Likewise, where there is no free flow (such as a blockage, an emptiness, or overflow) there will be pain.
So, how do we get our “free-flow” back? Here’s what Chinese medicine recommends:
Improve the circulation of qi and blood.
Healthy qi and blood circulation is essential for the health and function of all body tissues, including the vertebrae, spinal nerves, back muscles, and fascia. Consistent blood flow oxygenates and moisturizes these tissues and supports any repair or healing that needs to be done. A consistent flow of qi (which is an activating force in the body) is also needed to keep the body’s tissues and organs functioning. Proper muscle and joint movement, tissue repair, and pain relief are all depending on adequate qi flow.
Rebalance the body’s connections.
Chinese medicine sees the body as a big integrative web of connections. We can see these connections when we look at the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the nervous system, our fascia, and more. In Chinese medicine, however, those connections run even deeper through energetic pathways and connections called meridians (or channels) and the acupuncture points. When these connections are blocked or imbalanced, we can experience a range of issues, including pain.
Correct or remove any structural issues that might block healthy flow through the body.
Issues like scar tissue, adhesions, muscle knots, and misalignments in the spine can cause a roadblock in the body’s circulation and lead to increased pain. If these issues are present, they must be corrected for long-term pain relief.
Nourish and support the back while addressing the root of the issue.
In many cases, chronic back pain stems from an underlying issue, such as an imbalance in a certain organ system or systemic inflammation. For long-lasting change and true healing, we have to also address the root of the issue while kicking pain to the curb. These needs will differ from person to person, which is why we take a truly individualized approach to back pain at Wellnest Denver.
Set a self-care plan to maintain back pain relief.
Chinese medicine offers several strategies for back pain relief, but healing doesn’t stop in the clinic. An important aspect of a holistic treatment plan is knowing how to protect and support your back at home. Along with Chinese medicine treatments, diet advice, exercise, and lifestyle habits are often recommended as part of a comprehensive healing plan.
These strategies offer a well-rounded approach to treating back pain naturally with Chinese medicine. Now here’s how we make the magic happen at Wellnest…
Wellnest Denver Relieves Back Pain with Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an essential aspect of a holistic treatment plan for back pain. Along with cupping, herbal medicine, exercise, and lifestyle changes, acupuncture offers a simple, safe, and affordable way to manage chronic and acute back pain.
Research shows that acupuncture works to relieve back pain in a few different ways. First, it stimulates circulation and guides the flow of qi to areas of injury or weakness. This helps to stimulate a stronger healing response and promote faster recovery. Acupuncture also relieves inflammation and any pressure on the spinal nerves or painful joints.
When pain is present at the time of treatment, acupuncture helps calm and soothe tense areas by naturally releasing endorphins and feel-good hormones. Because of this effect, it’s normal to experience both pain and stress relief even after one acupuncture treatment.
Last but not least, acupuncture helps stabilize and support the back to prevent future injury or strain. Techniques like distal needling or dry needling for back pain can help to re-establish balance in the body and correct any knots or blockages. Acupuncture also nourishes the muscles and tendons of the back which helps them become more supple and strong.
Types of back pain acupuncture can help:
- Generalized, chronic back pain
- Acute back pain or strain
- Low back pain
- Mid-thoracic back pain
- Neck pain, cervicalgia
- Muscle tension, or muscle spasms
- Hip pain and Sciatic pain
- Bulging, damaged, or ruptured disks
- Stress-induced muscle tension
- Skeletal irregularities, scoliosis
- Unexplained or stubborn back pain
- General health and maintenance
Other pain-related symptoms acupuncture can help:
- Pain-related insomnia or sleep issues
- Stress, depression, anxiety
- Headaches or migraines
Wellnest Denver Eases Back Pain and Tension with Cupping
Cupping has become a popular therapy in the past few years, with both celebrities and our humble neighbors sporting characteristic cupping marks. But cupping is more than just a trend; research shows that cupping can effectively reduce muscle soreness, increase blood and lymph circulation, and even improve respiratory conditions.
From the Chinese medicine point of view, cupping is a powerful way to unblock any areas of stagnation, remove toxins or excess fluids, and flush the tissues of the back with healing nutrients. Cupping also works to calm the mind and relax the body, much like a massage.
Types of back pain cupping can help:
- Generalized back pain
- Muscular pain and tension
- Trigger points or knots
- Pain over wide areas of the back
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Chest or back tightness
- General health and maintenance
Wellnest Denver Offers Lifestyle Tips to Manage Back Pain Naturally
Managing back pain holistically doesn’t stop after treatment. For healthy healing in between visits, we recommend a few back pain-fighting lifestyle habits and self-care techniques. While these may vary from person to person, here are some of the most common way we teach our patients to care for their backs at home:
Exercise naturally relieves pain by improving your blood and qi circulation and keeping your back strong. Plus, exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and improve your overall health. The key is to stay active, but not overdo it. Overexercising can cause further injuries or increase pain and soreness.
Eat for health.
Pain can be exacerbated by certain food choices, especially foods that are high in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, dairy, or processed ingredients. When managing a pain condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is often the best choice to keep inflammation under control and provide nutrients that support healing.
Meditation is one of the body’s best defenses against pain and stress. Research shows that those with back pain who meditate or practice mindfulness report lower pain levels and a better quality of life.
Holistic Back Pain Solutions at Wellnest Denver
At Wellnest, we take a truly integrative approach when helping our patients relieve their back pain. Our treatments are aimed at both providing quick relief and laying the foundation for a healthy, strong back and a pain-free life.
Stop living with pain and start living in flow. Schedule your acupuncture and cupping visit with the best acupuncture clinic in Denver and never claim to have a “bad back” again!