Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.

In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.

The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:

Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months, and pain in at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

From the perspective of western medicine, Fibromyalgia is an enigma since there’s no medically explained syndrome. There are no laboratory tests that can confirm this diagnosis either.

While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:

  • Chronic pain
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Joint stiffness
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dryness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness
  • Tingling or poor circulation in the hands and feet
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Restless legs syndrome

Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of Fibromyalgia increases with age.

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Research shows that up to 90 percent of people with Fibromyalgia have turned to complementary or alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has been shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

From A Chinese Medical Perspective

Chinese medicine does not recognize Fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the symptoms unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.

Since symptoms of Fibromyalgia vary greatly from one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments have been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome.

From a Chinese medical perspective, Fibromyalgia is viewed as a classical case of “Severe Stagnation of Qi and Blood.”

The theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”—which means when the Qi (vital energy force) and blood flow smoothly, there can’t be any pain. The disruption of Qi that results in Fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney, and Heart systems.

Since pain is a hallmark symptom of Fibromyalgia, our treatment protocols focus on pain reduction primarily, along with stimulating the flow of Qi and blood in patients’ bodies. We also look into emotional/psychological components very seriously in treating Fibromyalgia.

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If you have Fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be what you’ve been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality.

Call us today – don’t delay, don’t live in pain – we are here to help you! Call us at 201-760-8811!

Qigong Breathing for Fibromyalgia Symptom Relief

Qigong breathing means breathing fully from your abdomen or from the bottom of your lungs. It is exactly the reverse of the way you breathe when you’re anxious or tense, which is typically shallow and high in your chest. This is the way we breathe when we were a baby. All mammals breathe this way whenever they are in a state of relaxation, i.e., when there’s no clear and present danger in their environment.

quigong breathing

Qigong breathing helps center your awareness in your body, rather than in your head, so that you feel more physically and energetically grounded. It helps you to relax your neck, shoulders and arms. It improves the circulation of blood and the flow of Qi in your internal organs.

Belly breathing provides a wonderful massage for your internal organs and increases the blood circulation throughout your internal organs. It expands our oxygen intake to a maximum, and releases accumulated toxins rapidly.

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Steps of Qigoing Breathing

Qigong breathing can be done sitting down, laying on a floor, or walking. To practice abdominal breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Take several slow and deep breaths through your nose, focusing your mind only on your breaths.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  3. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose from your abdomen in a circular motion, as if you’re drawing a circle with your breath. You will see your stomach rises (inhale for 5 counts, and gradually increase to 10 to 20 counts).
  4. When you inhale fully, pause for a moment and squeeze your sphincter muscle (around your anus) slightly.
  5. Exhale slowly through your nose for 5 counts which can increase at a later point. (Some prefer to exhale through the mouth and/or a longer exhalation, but they are not critical). Imagine your belly flattens all the way back to your spine, when you exhale.
  6. Repeat the above process as long as your feel comfortable, up to 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Resume your Qigong breathing when you are about to sleep.

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This will induce a peaceful and restful sleep.