Ouch No More: The Natural, Advanced & Total Approach to Managing Back Pain
by Rene Ng (AP, L.Ac)
In my clinic, I can honestly say that at least 75%, if not more, of the patients I see on a daily basis present with some form of back pain. This is usually of a chronic nature, persists throughout the day and has persisted for some time.
Many of the patients simply shrug their shoulders and exclaim, “I’m just getting old,” assuming they can do nothing about the discomfort. Some try cortisone, epidural or other forms of analgesic injections to ease their pain, while others opt for surgery. Some seek out chiropractic care, while others grasp at virtually any alleviating “quick-fix.”
This is true for all types of back pain––whether from trauma, injury, aging-related degeneration or illness. But before saying, “Been there done that,” and simply giving up, let’s consider a powerful option that you might not have considered. I call this option the “Natural, Advanced and Total (NAT)” approach to managing back pain.
The NAT Approach to Healing Back Pain:
The human body can be divided into the following three components:
- The Skeletal System: Our bones make up this system and form the basic foundational structure of our bodies. The bones provide protection for organs, contain the marrow (the main source of blood formation) and store vital minerals such as calcium.
- The Muscle and Soft Tissue System: This system is located both on top and bottom of the bones to surround the joints and help the bones stimulate bodily movement.
- The Organ Systems: This system includes the kidneys, heart, liver and other organs which operate the various functions of our bodies. They are essential for maintaining full-body function and sustaining human life.
These three components constantly interface and work alongside one another. What affects one component will also effect all the others––either immediately or in due time. For example, let’s say you fractured your right ankle. That issue will gradually, if not immediately, also begin affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues surrounding it. In order to heal, the ankle and its supporting soft tissues require a strong circulatory system that can supply oxygenated blood to the area. If this is not possible, the healing process will be slower and more difficult.
Therefore, to correctly address the injury, all other systems must be concurrently addressed. The NAT approach uses several modalities at the same time, depending on the individual situation and cause of pain. These therapies include the following examples:
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
In order for the body to direct rich, healing blood to the injured area, the organs need to maintain optimal function. Chinese Medicine, herbs and Acupuncture are used to determine he body’s current health state, identify areas of imbalance and administer treatments that heal the injury, optimize circulation, attain homeostasis and stimulate healing throughout other systems as well.
In addition, they also strengthen the organ systems to enhance bone density, promote bone and soft tissue health, alleviate swelling or bruising, and eliminate pain. Finally, they address possible side-effects caused by simultaneous allied therapies like Chiropractic.
In a large percentage of back pain situations, the spinal column is not properly aligned. This occurs due to various causes, ranging from traumatic accidents to disk degeneration and more. The misalignment impedes a smooth flow of positive Qi (the body’s essential life energy) and blood along the spinal column––to the brain and other parts of the body.
In cases of disk degeneration, scoliosis, stenosis and similar issues, the muscular structure around the impaired area is also affected, causing tenderness, strains, tightness, and spasms. In many cases, re-aligning and straightening the spinal column remedies those symptoms. Also, in dermatomes, pain and tenderness are often “referred pain,” directly attributed to spinal issues that correlate to the pain’s physical location. Chiropractic therapy can go a long way towards addressing these issues.
Depending on how long the pain has persisted, the sufferer might continue to assume an issue exits, even if the injured area has been healed. In this case, some form of physical therapy is needed to re-condition the weakened muscles to re-program the memory to understand that healing has taken place, and the affected muscles no longer require underperformance to protect that “injured” area. Slow, repetitive motions are generally more effective in reconditioning the injured muscles versus the heavy weight, hard impact exercises associated with body building.
Specialized massage therapy, like Chinese DitDa and TuiNa, help the tendons, muscles, ligaments and tissues heal faster through direct manipulation of the injured area. Herbs are also topically applied to stimulate tissue healing, elimination of bruises and swelling, pain management and infection treatment.
In addition, deep tissue circulatory massage, directly to the injured area, promotes oxygenated blood flow to facilitate healing. Cranial sacral lymphatic drainage massage is also suggested when the lymph nodes near the injured area become energetically clogged. If this is not released, then healing will be slow or even non-existent. Lymphatic drainage massage will clear congestion in these nodes.
Essentially, “you are what you eat.” Nourishing foods and beverages are vital for speeding up the healing process. When you visit a holistic healthcare practitioner like an Acupuncturist or a Chiropractor, you will likely be advised on which types of foods are beneficial for your injury––depending upon your individual constitution and health condition. Take advantage of this. However, if you are not offered that option, then take the initiative and conduct your own research, as that information plays an important role in whether your pain heals, persists or even worsens.
In summary, a comprehensive and integrative treatment plan, like the NAT approach, that combines multiple types of therapies to doing so, as this could make a significant impact on the quality of your life.
Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac., is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. He is also a four-time winner of Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” award. For more information, call 941-773-5156, email RNG@ChineseMedicalSolutions.com or visit ChineseMedicalSolutions.com.
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