Does your back hurt?
Everyone hurts from time to time, and back pain is one of the most common types of pain. For some their back pain is a short-lived, acute injury that is gone in a few weeks, while for others it is a chronic issue where the pain is either constant or re-occurs with regular episodes. Back pain can make it difficult to move, work, and handle the activities of daily living, such as taking care of the kids, cooking, and even showering. In other words, it can make you miserable.
People with back pain lose on average 17 work days per year, and spend 10 days in bed. Women are losing more work than men.
It’s no wonder people turn to so many different medications to relieve the pain. Some medications control the pain better than others; some are more addicting; some have other serious side effects. What’s a person to do? What other options are there?
In our clinic we offer an integrated approach to managing pain, including acupuncture, herbs, and nutritional support, along with pain meds as needed.
In a previous blog we talked in detail about how acupuncture works to treat pain, click here.
The good news is that most of our back-pain patients experience a reduction in their pain during their acupuncture session.
The big question is, how long does it last? That can vary from case to case, anywhere from several hours to several days. In general, the more severe the pain, the more frequently one needs to get acupuncture, and patients with severe pain will come in 2 – 3 times per week.
For those with moderate pain, they may come in 1 – 2 times weekly. How long one needs to come in for acupuncture will depend in large part on how long they have had the pain. A recent injury, such as a car accident, can often resolve within 3 – 6 weeks of treatment, while chronic long-standing pain, pain that someone has had for years, may require a longer treatment plan.
Along with the acupuncture there are some different things you can do to help reduce back pain and speed up the healing process.
- Hydration – drinking plenty of fluids goes a long way in reducing the muscle spasms associated with back pain.
- Magnesium – helps the body stay hydrated, reduces muscle spasms, and also works well to reolve headaches and constipation. Pregnant ladies – this one is especially great for you!
- Omega 3 fish oil – the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil help to reduce pain, and fish oil has other health benefits including heart health, brain function, and glowing skin.
- Curcumin – also known as turmeric, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat pain, and it has a well-deserved reputation for reducing pain. It’s use has recently experienced an explosion here in the United States – you can even get it in your latte, although not in a dose that is best for back pain.
- Gentle exercise – whether it is light stretching, easy yoga poses, or a short walk, some movement can help reduce back pain.