Updated: May 22, 2019
We live in a world where we sit for long hours, work even longer hours, and live life on the go. It's no wonder that nearly 8 out of 10 people will suffer from low back pain and it is one of the leading reasons why people miss work. It's also not a shock that back pain is the leading cause for people to seek acupuncture treatment.
In Chinese Medicine, pain can be caused by an excess or deficiency of qi and/or blood in an area. Back pain due to stagnation in the area tends to result from an injury and tends to feel worse with pressure. Back pain due to deficiency tends to feel better with pressure. Acupuncture works marvelously for back pain simply because it unblocks the qi and blood as well as nourishes deficiency within the body. As a result , pain is relieved and the flow of energy in the area is improved and restored.
In Five Element Acupuncture, back pain tends to be associated with the water element. The water element is associated with our body's resources and reserves. Overwork, over-stressing, and even working out too much depletes our water element. If we are working long hours, without enough rest or down time, we deplete our resources. Remember...it's all about balance. Work hard, rest hard. The water element is also associated with the winter season. If you think about how winter shows up in nature all beings tend to operate at much slower paces. It's quiet. It's darker. Some animals even hibernate through the season. Everything in nature is contracting so it can recharge and burst in the spring.
So...how is your water element?
Ask Yourself These Questions
Am I working too much?
Am I getting enough rest?
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I eating nourishing foods?
Am I sitting too long at one time?
Am I using up all of my resources?
Do I feel depleted, but just keep going?
Do I need a caffeine IV to get through my day?
So What Can I Do?
Plan some time to relax (yin time)
Take a bath with your favorite essential oils (eucalyptus and lavender are my go to's)
Eat cooked, warm, nourishing foods without your cell phone
It is said "you're only as young as your spine is flexible." This is why yoga is another great alternative to combat back pain. A lot of times people suffer from back pain due to tight hips and hamstrings (more on this later). Yoga greatly reduces back pain because it creates both flexibility and strength within the whole body. In fact, asana, or the physical practice of yoga, was originally created to help people sit more comfortably through meditation. One of the most beneficial reasons to practice yoga, in my opinion, is its ability to heighten our body awareness. When our body awareness is heightened we move more mindfully. When we move more mindfully we are less likely to re-injure a tired and sore back.
Here are 3 of my favorite yoga poses to stretch the back