Back Pain & Spine Health
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If you would seek health, look first to the spine. – Socrates
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world; it affects 80% of the population at least once during their lifetimes. It can range from dull and mild, to sharp and severe, last for a few weeks or persist chronically for over 3 months.
Cause of Back Pain
Spinal injury is often the cause of back pain; the spine supports the body by providing mobility, structure, protection to the spinal cord and nerves. Infections, physical trauma and overuse, tumours, disturbance of the disc space, aging bone changes, allergies, and conditions like spinal osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and scoliosis can all adversely affect the spine, causing pain by creating pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Additional symptoms accompanying spinal pain may be muscular, including spasms, cramping and stiffness; neurological, including numbness, weakness and tingling; and radiating pain that reaches the shoulders, arms, low back, buttocks, and feet, often causing more severe conditions like loss of bladder and bowel control.
Because of its heavy toll on the patient, chronic spinal pain can cause behavioural and psychological changes such as withdrawal from activities, weakened immune system, anxiety, irritability, and depression.
There are several risk factors that can increase or cause a relapse of symptoms associated with spinal pain. Increasing age, genetics, family and personal histories of spinal problems or surgery all contribute to higher chances of developing spinal pain.
Minimizing risk involves patients making an effort to follow lifestyle change.
- Sleeping on a firm surface
- Maintaining proper posture while sitting, standing or walking
- Wearing low-heeled shoes
- Using ice or heat pads on the affected area for 20-30 minutes
- Visiting a physiotherapist regularly and implementing a recommended exercise routine
- Avoiding smoking
- Taking calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D supplements
- Avoiding job activities that require long periods of sitting, heavy lifting, bending or twisting, repetitive motions, or constant vibration
- Consuming a healthy diet and minimizing excess body weight
- Maintaining a balanced mind-state and effectively coping with stress
Patients should seek medical advice if pain persists for over 2 weeks.
Spine Health with TCM
Centre Theory: We in TCM believe that spine is Centre Pillar of the whole body, which protects brain & spinal cord. When spine is out of alignment, so are we. Also in TCM, spine is where Du Meridians run through, which controls whole Yang Meridians in the body. Also, sturdy and healthy spine also aligns internal organs at the right place. We strongly believe that by aligning spine from the very top (Atlas) to very bottom (Coccyx), one can have a life with health, happiness and longevity.
Common Causes of Spine Disorders & Back pain
- Slipped or bulging discs from twisting or lifting injuries
- Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal
- Compression fractures associated with osteoporosis
- Soft tissue damage from heavy lifting or trauma
- Fractures from falls, car accidents, or crush injuries
- Structural deformities like scoliosis, kyphosis, or lordosis
Acute Conditions usually react very Quick on Acupuncture Treatments, However for Chronic and more Severe conditions as listed above, we do need more Thorough approaches to treat the Root of the problem.
- Age: as we get older, our Yang Energy also declines, so does our Spine. Humans(Homo Sapiens) exist between Heaven(Sky) and Earth with Gravity.
- Trauma History: Patients with some Trauma(ex: Motor Vehicle Accident) tends to have more Blood Stasis in the body, which later can cause pro-longed pains.
- Congenital Factors.
Acupuncture & Moxibustion, Acupoint Injection & Prolotherapy, TuiNa, and Herbal Medicine (internal/external): Virtually all the TCM Treatment modalities could be applied, depending on how severe/prolonged conditions are. Herbal Medicine along with Acupuncture Treatment is Highly Recommended.
In TCM, We also differentiate Disease’s Depth. When the root of the concerns are in the pathologically deep state (blood level), herbal medicine treatments are combined both externally and internally.
Acute conditions usually exists on Qi-level, and this won’t show anything in medical tests, however if the conditions are prolonged without a proper treatments, the condition could go deeper into blood-level.
Exercise & Yoga: Through 15+ years of treating people with spine concerns, Dr. Oh found out that doing proper exercises and leading a healthy life-habits are important to keep Centre in our own body. With this findings, Dr. Oh became a certified (Kundalini) Yoga teacher, and he highly recommends people to practice yoga depending on individual’s physical condition.