Back pain comes in many forms such as upper, middle and lower back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Common reasons of back pain include nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis.
Besides pain medication, a number of alternative treatments may help ease back pain. Many people find relief from the pain with acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, Tai Ji and Pilates exercise.
Cold or Heat which one is Good for Back Pain?
Usually, start only with cold as soon as possible for the first 3 days by applying ice or a cold pack to your injured back (10 to 15 minutes every hour). Cold helps limit acute inflammation, reduces swelling and relieves pain.
After 3 days, apply heat 20 minutes at a time to increase circulation and speed healing. Moist heat (hot packs, bathes and showers) works better than dry heat.
Some people find comfort in alternating between heat and ice packs.
Ping’s Chinese herbal bag is a unique herbal bag with multi-healing functions. It works as an ice pack and also a heating bag.
Acupuncture relaxes muscles, tendons and joints, improves circulation, and reduces the inflammation to relieve the pain. Most of our patients with back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms. A positive response from acupuncture is usually noticed after the first to fourth treatment.
Pings meridian Massage is an excellent hands-on therapy to help loosen overworked, sore, tense and knotted muscles, and also promote relaxation and relieve pain. It is Dr. Lu’s own unique techniques which applies pressure along the meridians or on the specific acupoints. It will clean up the body’s traffic jam and make Qi flow (energy and blood flow) as a river flows. Acupuncture focuses on deep specific acupuncture points and the massage reaches a much wider surface area, therefore, if both techniques are used together, the results are more effective.
Cupping is a suction technique used with heat making a vacuum in the cup. It can stimulate acupuncture points, help circulation, and subside symptoms and pain. Sometimes our patients use this technique instead of needles. If you are ‘needle-phobic’, you may want to try cupping.
Physical Therapy benefits are to decrease back pain, increase function, and provide education on a maintenance program to prevent further recurrences.
Exercise: regular low-impact aerobic activities (without straining and jolting the lower back) can increase the local circulation and muscle strength to improve lower back function. Walking, swimming, Elipticle, Pilates and Tai Ji are good choices.
Calcium is a natural pain killer, muscle relaxer, and sub-anti-inflammatory. Our clinical experience has shown that Calcium helps relieve body aches, muscle spasm, joint pain and menstrual cramps. Take Calcium 500-600mg with Vitamin D 400IU twice a day. Menopause women especially need this.
MicroLactin is milk nutrients which contain unique antibodies and other potent immune factors to promote healthier joints and muscles. Our clinical experience showed that MicroLactin improves chronic inflammation, pain and stiffness; it works fast and you can feel the benefits in just 1- 2 weeks. According to Alotin HA report, in head to head testing Microlactin scored 60% better than glucosamine to improve joint health.
MSM aids with inflammation and reduces pain.
Vitamin B complex is essential in nerve function, it helps repair the nerves and reduce stress in the back. Vitamin B6 & B12 help relieve sciatica symptoms.
Vitamin C is important for formation of collagen in order to repair tissues and relieve tension in the back. It also is a potent antioxidant and aids in reducing swelling. Take 500 mg a day.
External herbs can relax muscles, tendons and joints; increase blood flow, reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain. Normally, these are Chinese herbal tincture, herbal patches, Chuan Qiong bag and cold/heat herbal bag.
Internal herbs: some Chinese herbs help maintain acupuncture results, improve circulation, reduce inflammation and subside pain, consult your acupuncturist to find out which one is best for you.
Avoid bike riding and weight lifting in a sitting or standing position
According to our clinical experience, patients with backaches feel more irritation after bike or horseback riding and stationary cycling, because prolong sitting puts strain on the lower back.
Weight lifting is potentially the most damaging, because it places great strain on the lower back and spine. We have seen many patients’ back pain worsen after weight lifting.
People with back problems should also avoid sport games that involve motions such as sudden twisting, jumping, bending, pulling and sudden stop and go movement.
When to see a doctor
Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care. Although the pain may take several weeks to completely be gone, you should notice some improvement within the first 72 hours of self-care. If not, see your doctor.