A Case of Four Different Painful Backs
What is back pain and how does it occur? Back pain is a noticeable level of pain that can impede one’s usual daily routine or make rest uncomfortable. Back pain originates from the nerves of the spinal column (most common), the muscles, the joints in the rib cage or the bones themselves. Back pain is also called dorsalgia which means pain of the dorsal surface of the body which is the back. Back pain can be further delineated into lower, middle or upper back pain. Lower back pain is the most common.
I saw three men and one woman with severe chronic lower back pain last month. This is how each case turned out. Man “A” came in with chronic back pain which was worse with exertion. When he took his walk everyday he would have to stop to catch his breath due to the pain he experienced. He was 80 years old and in relatively good shape. He refused to take any herbs, supplements, or pharmaceuticals. It should be noted that he was a retired MD/Anesthesiologist. He only wanted acupuncture and I treated his twice a week for 4 weeks. At the end of the fourth week his pain had subsided by more than 50% and he could walk twice as far without having to stop to catch his breath.
Man “B” came in with inoperable severe lower back pain. He was hunched over. Acupuncture was performed once a week and gave no relief. I gave him a natural LOX-2/COX2 inhibitor which controls the inflammation that is associated with pain, he started using an infra-red pad used by athletes and the equine trainers on their horses every day and I also gave him some Chinese pain patches to apply to the painful areas of his back. In one week he noted a marked improvement.
Man “C” was a 34 year old active athlete with very severe back pain. I treated him with acupuncture and he used both over-the-counter and natural anti-inflammatories. Nothing seemed to work for him and two weeks in he called me and said the pain had gotten markedly worse. I directed him to an imaging center and an orthopedic colleague who confirmed that he had a worsening herniation of the lumbar vertebrae. He went in for surgery that week and is doing very well.
The woman came in with fatigue, cloudy thinking, poor digestion and intermittent low back pain. I did a Chinese medicine exam and took a history that confirmed that she was suffering from very poor digestion and this was causing all her symptoms. I treated her with acupuncture, gave her a diet to follow and arranged for her to get a custom herbal formula in capsules for her condition. She reported a remarkable change in her energy, digestion and the resolution of her low back pain.
So can acupuncture help mow back pain? The answer is yes, but not all the time. Does inflammation cause low back pain? Again the answer is yes, but one must look for the cause of inflammation to effectively relieve the pain.
Dr Frank Ervolino is a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Naturopathic Doctor with offices in Stuart and Jupiter. His Stuart office is a the first Community Acupuncture Clinic in the Treasure Coast area where patients can get treatment with fees that are 50-60% lower than what is normally charged. He is a former editor of Better Nutrition magazine and he presently is a columnist for “Living Without” magazine. His clinic website is www.stuartcommunity.com and the clinic phone number is 772-249-2242.