Back and Neck Pain

Back and Neck Pain

Back pain and neck pain are very common complaints. No one likes having either kind of pain. Back pain and neck pain are tricky maladies despite being so common. There is a large postural component affected by the way we move, sit and lie down. There is a structural component when the bones of the spine and supporting musculature are affected. There is even an emotional component. Chronic stress can cause neck pain and chronic pain can cause stress and even depression.

Acupuncture can help treat back pain and neck pain on all three of these levels. Acupuncture works on both chronic and acute types of pain.

What causes pain in the back or neck?

The most common cause of acute pain is muscle spasm and strain. Ligament strain is another possibility. Strains and muscle spasm are often related to physical activity, like heavy lifting. Stiff neck (as in torticollis) is caused by sleeping in an odd position or straining the muscles of the neck in other ways.

Another common cause of back and neck pain, but of the chronic sort, is bulging or ruptured disks. Disks are like cushions in the spine to help reduce shockwaves from impacts like your foot striking the ground while walking. When a disk bulges out of its usual space, it can compress nerves. Nerve compression causes discomfort.

Arthritis and osteoporosis are also causes of back and neck pain, although they do so in different ways. Arthritis often leads to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spaces your nerves travel in on their way out of the spine. Instead of a disk pressing on the nerve like in bulging disk problems, bony growths press on the nerves. Osteoporosis creates discomfort as a result of compression fractures in the spine.

How will my doctor diagnose and treat back pain or neck pain?

Your doctor will likely use orthopaedic and neurological tests, X-rays, MRI or CT scans, and/or electromyography (EMG) to diagnose your pain. These tests will help your doctor rule out other causes of discomfort.

Your doctor will likely prescribe acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; ibuprofen, naproxen). Stronger medications like muscle relaxants or narcotics may be prescribed in cases of severe discomfort.  Unfortunately, these therapies are symptom-oriented and often just mask the pain without resolving the cause.  Some doctors will suggest physical therapy, movement re-education, and even surgery depending on the cause of the discomfort.

How does evaluate and treat back pain and neck pain?

How does evaluate and treat neck and back pain?
I’ve seen countless neck and back pain patients who are looking for alternatives to surgery. These patients visited our clinic as a last resort and experienced amazing results with our treatments.

For emergent and acute pain, I’ll firstly control and reduce the strong pain. For chronic and constant pain, my primary goal is to find the cause. Usually, we’ll have a consultation session and a careful exam. The prefered treatment will cover both your pain symptoms and your overall health. The location, frequency, severity, and duration of your pain, as well as the health of your other organ systems, are all very significant and influence the anatomic and Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) diagnosis.

After finding out the causes, I’ll choose a method or a combination of different technics for the treatment plan. I will use the location of your pain to determine the affected acupuncture meridians, and then follow those meridians down their pathways to powerful points in the extremities. I may apply acupuncture on the pain area or other areas instead of the pain area and may use cupping, Guasha, Tuina medical massage and other treatment methods in the clinic. I may give you some exercises to do at home, and for some special cases, I may prescribe some Chinese Natural (herbal) medicine for you as well to assist the treatment.

Don’t hesitate, give me a call. I’d love to support you in achieving great health without pain.