some image

Back Pain

Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of causes of back pain. Bulging discs, strained muscles, back spasms, nerve inflammation, can all benefit from acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs. Often times treatment of the back involves both acupuncture and cupping to strongly circulate the blood and relax the muscles. Self-care in the form of hand acupressure may be given to help extend the results of treatment and provide the patient with tools to manage their pain on their own.

Chronic Low Back Pain

In Chinese medicine the strength of the back is related to the kidneys which are weakened by overwork, too much sex, inactivity, and a poor diet. So regardless of the cause of your chronic low back pain it is always wise to support the kidneys to allow for the best healing to occur. So do not overwork yourself mentally or physically, refrain from sexual activity more than 3-4 a week, and limit alcohol, coffee and salt intake until the back regains its strength.

Herbal formulas are available to provide both pain relief and nourishment to exhausted muscles and further encourage blood flow to deliver natural healing compounds to the back and support the kidneys.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck pain often comes in combination with other problems like headaches, back pain, shoulder pain and even tingling or numbness down the arms. Acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs can provide relief from these symptoms. Stress is often an important factor in treating neck pain because of the way we hold ourselves when under stress. Many of us tend to scrunch up our shoulders and hunch over toward our computer screens. After many hours our muscles scream at us to stop. By then its too late and you need to come in for a tune up. Luckily acupuncture also provides stress relief as well as relieving pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Acupuncture works from the outside to regulate the body by releasing tight muscles, calming nerve inflammation, and relaxing spasms. Often times significant pain relief is felt within the first visit or two but a course of treatments is necessary to reach the goal of healing the body. This usually consists of two treatments per week for the first few weeks that taper down to once per week and less until your goal has been reached or the maximum therapeutic potential of acupuncture has been met.

Sometimes herbal treatment is necessary to nourish and relax the muscles from the inside to alleviate pain. Traditional herbal formulas to treat back and neck pain are available in capsules or a customized formula tailored to your individual needs can be provided in powder form to take as a tea.

Additional modalities that accompany acupuncture may be used like cupping, moxibustion, TDP heat lamp, or electric stimulation of the needles. Cupping uses suction to stimulate blood flow, moxibustion (moxa) and the heat lamp use heat to alleviate pain and stimulate blood and qi flow, and electric stimulation uses a pulsing action to stimulate or sedate nerve sensation and muscle tension.

After the first treatment you may feel immediate improvement, improvement over a period of days, no change, or a flare-up of symptoms followed by an improvement. The results depend on a variety of factors such as severity and nature of your pain. There is no easy way to determine exactly what your results will be. However, you should feel some improvement by the third or fourth treatment to justify continuing your treatment. 

Often times the acupuncture points are not directly in the area of pain or dysfunction. The Chinese system of acupuncture points is very complex and adaptable. In classical Chinese Medicine there are around 400 points and Tung and Tan style add a few hundred onto that! But don’t worry, only about 15-20 needles are used in each session.

I will choose the most effective points to address the symptoms that are immediately presenting and then add points that support your health as well. There are acupuncture points all over the body from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers. 

Most of the time there is little to no sensation when the needles are inserted. Occasionally a sensitive spot is found that can sting but the feeling fades quickly. After the needles are inserted they are often stimulated with gentle movements to achieve a “qi sensation.” This is a tingly, warm, sensation that is not painful.

Acupuncture is often less painful than a massage or acupressure for an injury because acupuncture does not exert pressure on the body but the needles go deep into the muscle or “knot” in a way that no massage, shiatsu, or acupressure can. Some body parts do tend to be more sensitive such as the hands, feet and face since there are more nerve endings in these places. The payoff to needling these parts is that their sensitivity works for you by sending a strong and clear signal to your brain to heal the body and reduce pain instantly.