• Liyan Lu

Back pain

Updated: Sep 23

Back pain comes in many forms, such as upper, middle, and lower back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Common reasons for back pain include nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis.

Besides pain medication, several alternative treatments may help ease back pain. Many people find relief from the pain with acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, Tai Ji, and Pilates exercise.

Healthyping’s suggestions:

Cold or heat, which one is Good for Back Pain?

Usually, start only with cold as soon as possible for the first three 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 three days, apply Heat 20 minutes at a time to increase circulation and speed healing. Moist heat (hot packs, baths, 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. It also improves circulation and reduces inflammation to relieve the pain. Most of our patients with back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms. Acupuncture usually shows its positive response after the first to fourth treatment.

Our clinical experience shows that acupuncture with electronic stimulation is more effective than just needles for pain management. Only after 1 or 2 treatments, patients feel pain relief from 50% better to pain-free.

Ping's meridian massage is an excellent hands-on therapy to help loosen overworked, sore, tense, and knotted muscles and promote relaxation and relieve pain. It is Dr. Lu’s unique technique that applies pressure along the meridians or on specific points. It will clean up the body’s traffic jams and make Qi flow (energy and blood flow) as a river flows. Acupuncture focuses on specific acupuncture points, and the message reaches a much wider surface area; therefore, the results are more effective if both techniques work together.

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’s benefits are decreasing back pain, increasing function, and providing 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, Elliptical, 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 spasms, joint pain, and menstrual cramps. Take Calcium 500-600mg with Vitamin D 400IU twice a day. Menopause women especially need this.

Glucosamine, Hyaluronic Acid, MicroLactin, and MSM reduce inflammation, relieve back pain, and improve joint stiffness.

Vitamin B complex is essential in nerve function; it helps repair the nerves and reduce stress in the back. Vitamin B6 & B12 help relieves sciatica symptoms.

Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen 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.

Chinese Herbs

External herbs can relax muscles, tendons, and joints, increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Usually, these are Chinese herbal tinctures, herbal patches, Chuan Qiong bags, and cold/heat herbal bags.

Internal herbs: Boswellia and Turmeric Curcumin help maintain acupuncture results, improve circulation, reduce inflammation and subside the pain.

Avoid sitting too long. Avoid bike riding and weight lifting in a sitting or standing position.

According to our clinical experience, patients with backaches feel more irritation after their bike or horseback riding and stationary cycling due to prolong sitting puts strain on their 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 avoid games involving sudden twisting, jumping, bending, pulling, stopping, and going 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 be gone completely, you should notice some improvement within the first 72 hours of self-care. If not, see your doctor.

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