Neck & shoulder pains are one of the commonest problems for which a GP is consulted across the world. Based on epidemiological studies; at any given time about 10% of the population suffer from it!!
Back pain is one of the most universal of all the diseases affecting practically everyone at sometime or another in one's life across the globe. About 80% of the population suffer from back pain at some point of their lifetime!!
The possible common causes of back pain in today's lifestyle are -
- Lack of exercise
- Incorrect posture
- Long hours of sitting
- Over weight
- Bad dietary habits
- Improper exercise without proper guidance
- Spasms of back muscles and soft tissues
- Disc prolapse
- Degeneration of joints & bones
The effective solutions for the above problems is prevention by -
- Regular & consistent exercise
- Appropriate posture
- Weight management
- Healthy dietary habits
- Stress management
- Appropriate pain medication & Surgery in severe cases
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) & Acupuncture give us more natural and long term solutions for the management of back pain. They not only work to relieve the symptoms of back pain but also address the root cause of the disease. In a study conducted at a Swedish Hospital, doctors concluded that acupuncture provides a long term relief along with improvements in physical activity levels, quality of sleep and diminished use of pain medication.
It is understood that, according to TCM & Acupuncture there are energy channels called 'meridians' through which 'Qi' or 'Prana' flows. Excessive stagnation or deficiency in the 'qi' or 'prana' leads to ill health and then to disease when not taken care of at the right time.
According to TCM & Acupuncture it is understood that there are 3 most important factors which contribute for neck, back & shoulder pain. They are -
- Invasion of Cold
- Invasion of Wind
- Leading to Dampness
- When all three factors are combined, they lead to accumulation of heat in the channels causing pains, numbness or tingling.
- Deficiency of 'Qi'
Acupuncture through the insertion of needles on the meridians on specific acu-points along the meridians, helps to restore deficiency, expels wind, scatters cold and resolves dampness. At the same time, it will also help to nourish blood.
The result of a study published in Clinical Journal of Pain gives us sufficient proof that Acupuncture is quite safe and effective method of treatment in the management of low back pain.
Action Mechanism of Acupuncture therapy²
Scientific research into the mechanism of action of acupuncture began around 1950 when an important pharmacological study was published by a group at Peking University.They demonstrated that an induction time of 15 to 20 minutes is required for the development of an analgesic effect and proposed the participation of chemical substances in the analgesic actions of acupuncture . Endogenous opioid peptides (EOPs) were considered major candidates for a role in acupuncture’s action.
Along with acupuncture, yoga therapy and/or therapeutic massage could also be recommended by the practitioner for effective management of the complaints.
To prevent and sustain the benefits of Acupuncture, it is recommended to -
- Practice a correct sitting posture, when sitting for long hours
- Regular exercise practice like yoga, tai chi orany other recommended exercise by the practitioner. Check out cervical spondylosis exercise
- Prevent going out in cold weathers without adequate clothing.
- Avoid strenuous & jerky movements.
- Stress management.
More and more people are finding relief for both acute & chronic back pain through TCM& Acupuncture. Several research studies have proved this, time and again.
¹Carlsson C, Sj˜lund B.Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a randomized placebo-controlled study with long-term follow-up. Clinical Journal of Pain 2001;17(4):296-305
²Research Group of Acupuncture Anesthesia: Effect of acupuncture on pain threshold of human skin. Chin Med J 1973, 3: 151–158.
Pomeranz B, Chiu D:Naloxone blockade of acupuncture analgesia: endorphin implicated. Life Sci 1976, 19:1757–1762.