LOWER BACK PAIN RELIEF and ATHLETIC INJURIES
by Dr. Randy Martin, OMD
Doctor of Chinese Medicine
With everyone watching the Olympics this week, it brings up old memories for me. Some of you may know that I competed internationally for the United States in a few pre-Olympic events both in High School and College and that I was on a full gymnastics scholarship at USC.
As a direct result of working out for so many years and so many hours per day, I had many gymnastics injuries. And it was these injuries that were a primary reason I first went to see my first acupuncturist. This, and the also the result of a few auto accidents…… Acupuncture was very, very effective at curing my athletic injuries.
A patient recently contacted me with the following question: “I have a recurring back pain that resurfaces once or twice every year and just recently, I have been seeing a chiropractor for my neck and shoulder pain as a result of a rear-end car collision. I was wondering, in your honest opinion, will acupuncture or other holistic medicine can help me, and to what degree it can help?
My answer was: “Yes, acupuncture will definitely help to relieve your pain.” Then I went on to answer a little more in depth, because so many people do not realize how effective acupuncture really is for pain control and athletic injuries. I had another patient tell me that he had been to his chiropractor six times for his shoulder injury, and it still hurt, and that after only one acupuncture treatment he was almost completely healed and able to get right back to weight lifting again.
1. Acupuncture works great on neck, shoulder and back pain, whether due to auto accidents, sports injuries, or other more chronic problems.
2. Usually when someone is not healing from a car accident or sports injury, it’s because it catalyzed, or “kicked in” some deeper imbalance. The injury might actually be related to poor nutrition, stress, lack of sleep or exercise, lifestyle issues, or other problems that will be discovered as I get to know you personally.
3. There are two ways I approach treatments:
Option A. Just do acupuncture. This works very well especially if there are no underlying imbalances. Many people with back pain report that after a few treatments, they feel substantially better.
Option B. For more stubborn problems that have been around for a longer period of time, it’s best to have a longer consultation, and a longer-term strategy, allowing me determine the underlying imbalances in your body, based on your complete history, blood analysis, diet or other lab work, in addition to the Chinese tongue and pulse diagnosis. Then we create a plan based on acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, supplements, and homeopathy.
Some of the most common herbs and supplements I might also use for lower back pain in conjunction with the acupuncture, include the following:
•Pain X – a great anti-inflammatory and pain killer
•PSI Nightime – good pain reliever which also helps with sleep when you are in pain
•Magnesium and Calcium – provides vital vitamins and minerals to help bring down the swelling in the back and around the vertebrae.
•Back Pain (Lower) – a good Chinese herbal formula to strengthen the kidney yin and increase the circulation in the lower extremities and back
Some of the common homeopathic remedies used for lower back pain include the following:
•Mag phos – used as a muscle relaxer and to help with sleep
•Colocynth – helps with muscle cramping
•Rhus tox – this remedy is indicated with the lower back pain is better after you begin to move around a lot
•Bryonia – this remedy is indicated if you are better not moving around, and just laying still in bed
There are certain emotional factors that usually accompany lower back pain. Since the lower back is controlled by the kidneys, according to Chinese medicine, we say that lower back pain involves the emotion of fear. (Each organ in the body has a corresponding emotion.)
Now, after the initial problem is better, I usually see people monthly for a tune-up acupuncture treatment, and to assess if the herbal, homeopathic and nutritional program is holding. If it stops working, then we sit down and see why, and create a new and different program.
With our normal life stress, most people can really benefit from getting on a program like this. If you want just a quick solution, and you don’t stick to it over the long-term, it might not work. Many of my patients start with just acupuncture alone, and when they see how effective acupuncture really is, they then choose to delve deeper into more of the underlying issues.
I like to work as a team, and if you already are having good results with your chiropractor, I would stick with him or her. It’ll mean a more effective and longer lasting effect. I like my patients to get a massage, chiropractic, and sometimes counseling or therapy, as well as to have an MD they trust and who is open to working as a team. This teamwork approach will be a lot more effective.