Have you ever stopped to wonder why back pain plagues so many people? Yes it’s true that physical labor and to much sitting at a desk can be contributing factors, but dis’ease’ only shows up when an area of the body is already vulnerable. So why might some lower backs be vulnerable to upset and how can acupuncture relieve back pain?

There are a few factors to consider. Is it muscular pain, is it disc pain, is it spine pain, is it joint pain etc? Chinese Medicine is a fluid medicine and a medicine of relation ships. Through this context we can begin to understand how the different manifestations of back pain can be caused by or alerting us to an area of our lives that may be needing some attention.

I have been blessed to have not had a ton of physical pain in my life. Most of my pain was in my head…lol. Seriously, emotional pain was how it primarily manifested for me. None the less, being an acupuncturist it’s beneficial to understand pain and to know how to treat it. Thanks to the powers that be, I experienced the most excruciating back pain a couple years ago, to which acupuncture was my biggest relief.

I was in a pilates class and failed to engage my core to support my lower back and BAM! in one second, I was incapacitated. I had felt pain before but never had I experienced something so debilitating. It hurt to drive, let alone exist in a normal fashion.

Sidebar – It was NOT pilates fault that I injured my back, it was me not following the proper cues from my instructor – Pilates is awesome! Especially when you go to a professional studio like Neu Movement in Kelowna. They are experts at what they do and offer Physiotherapy and pilates integration. Check them out, they are the best.

Let’s take a look at the meridian and organ systems that influence the lower back.

UB whole body      BLadder Back

This is the Urinary Bladder Meridian. It is paired with the Kidney Organ and meridian system. You can see that this meridian – the Urinary Bladder –  traverses the entire back body. It provides structural support to our body and allows us to stand upright.

Support is a key word here. There is the clear link to the physical musculature of the body supporting us in obvious ways and the meridian line. In addition to this, the bones are related to the Kidney’s in Chinese Medicine which further reinforces this idea of support and structure.

So what do the Kidneys and the Urinary Bladder represent in the bigger picture in our lives?

If we follow this theme of support, we can ask ourselves, where am I not feeling supported in life? I like to ask myself these broader questions and then slowly filter them into more detail.

What do you think about when you think about support? And how does that manifest into literal terms in our day to day lives?

For me when I think of support I think of two things: finances and feeling supported on a more universal plane – feeling like life is working out in my favor. This can be different for everyone so I strongly encourage you to answer your own question.

When my back went out I was coming through a period of semi-severe adrenal fatigue. I won’t get into the details of that, but suffice it to say I was go-go-go, burning out my adrenals because I felt like I had to do everything. I am a single mother – her dad sees her half the time but when it’s me it’s only me – and have taken primary financial responsibility for my daughter for the past decade. I tell you this for context, not for pity.

My perspective was that I had to do it all because no one was there to help, ahem, support, me. So not only was I not feeling supported in life, I was also not feeling supported financially. Although, it is suspicious that because my perception and feeling was that I wasn’t supported that that’s what was showing up in my literal reality through finances. Don’t mistake it, WE DO CREATE OUR OWN REALITY.

My physical body was being weakened due to my mental state.

I wasn’t resting enough, I was feeling stressed and not getting adequate sleep and as a result my body just said STOP! Literally, I could barely do anything. The only thing that helped relieve my back pain was getting acupuncture. After just ONE treatment I was 85% better and I continued healing in the next few days until I was 100% recovered. I’ve have never had a relapse like that. I have moments where it gets sore but they are few and far between and when that does happen, it’s always my body alerting me that I am operating under a faulty idea that I am not supported and have to work extra hard just to make it. As soon as I slow down and take some rest and get some flow going in the area through maybe a warm bath or some tiger balm, my body is able to recover on its own.

If you have back pain, or any kind of pain for that matter, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:

“What is really driving my behavior?”
“Where am I not feeling supported in my life?”
“What if I did feel supported, how would my experience be different?”
“What is another way for me to look at my pain?”

It might also benefit you to recall what was going on at the time of your injury. What were the feelings, were you afraid, were you angry, where you sad? Identifying the emotion that was imprinted at the time of the trauma will also help you to release the pain and understand what triggers it.

If there wasn’t an originating trauma that you can recall, I invite you to consider that your back pain may stem from feeling like you need to support everyone else – or certain key people – in your life.

When you ask yourselves these questions, you really have to be prepared to get real with yourself, and sometimes that sucks. Sometimes you see things about yourself that you don’t like. I find a key to identifying that I am on the right track with something is when I try to rationalize my behavior or give excuses. When I start doing this there is ALWAYS something deeper going on that I don’t want to own up to. So be deadly honest with yourself, it can change your experience of life.
I guarantee you there is ALWAYS a connection between what’s going on physically to what’s going on mentally and emotionally. Your physical body does not exist in a vacuum, we are integrated beings.

So how can acupuncture relieve back pain? Here are 5 tips.

1.    Get Regular Acupuncture – It keeps the flow open, helps lower inflammation and helps to keep your body strong. Keeping the body fluid and moving is one of the best ways that acupuncture helps to relieve pain, including back pain. This goes for massage and chiropractic as well, but of course I’m biased to the needles. Here is a WebMD article that supports the effectiveness of acupuncture for the relief of back pain. Please keep in mind anytime you read a study on acupuncture that the testing methods are not yet perfected to fit Chinese Medicine per se, they are still largely trying to fit TCM into a western context.
2.    Exercise regularly and within your limits – Exercise is so important for so many reasons and it is so talked about I’m not going to say anything more than it’s essential to keep the blood flowing. Getting your heart pumping for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week is a good balanced approach, although you should do something to move everyday.
3.    Do Yoga and Pilates – Getting into the right classes with teachers who know what they are doing and talking about is the key in my opinion. You want someone who can give you proper cues and make physical adjustments to your poses and postures.
4.    Bone Broth – Anyone who l knows me knows I LOVE THIS STUFF! You can get a basic how to on my website by clicking here. It is excellent for strengthening the Kidney and Urinary bladder system as well as great for recovery after a workout and taking down inflammation.
5.    Sit with yourself – Take time to consider all the points I have mentioned in this blog. Rest and slowing down are critical components to a healthy Kidney/Urinary Bladder system. I hope I’ve imprinted the importance of this by now.

If you have any questions about the ideas mentioned here please feel free to contact me, I am always open to discussion. info@acupuncurekelowna.com

With love from Kelowna, BC,

Paula