Do you get pain getting up and down from a seated position? Is your sleep affected because you can’t get comfortable? Don’t worry, you are not alone. It is estimated up to 16% of the Australian population suffer with back pain, lower back pain being the most common.¹
If you experience long-term back pain you are very well aware of how debilitating it can be. With many people having to take time off work or caring for their families because the pain is too great.
In clinic, I believe the two significant factors associated with back pain are- muscle tension causing misalignment of hips and spine, and inflammatory conditions which result in aggravation of the surrounding soft tissue.
What can aggravate your back pain?
- Sitting for long periods of time with poor posture
- Lack of regular gentle exercise
- Incorrect lifting techniques
- Tension of the muscles of the back and legs
- Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasm
How can YOU treat your back pain?
1. Check your sleeping posture
If you are waking in the morning with pain in your back, there is a strong possibility your sleep posture can be adding to your discomfort. As a clinician, I find the majority of people favour laying on one side, with their bottom leg straight and their top leg bent at around 90 degrees. This causes significant rotation in the pelvis whilst you are sleeping adding to tension one side of the spine. Try putting a small pillow or cushion between your knees and bending both knees at the same level. This will help to keep your pelvis and spine in a neutral position and provide relief for those lower back muscles.
Releasing the tension in our muscles alongside our spine can go a long way to relieving back pain. I often tell my patients if you imagine your spine is like a tent pole, and your muscles are like the ropes holding it in position. If you tighten one side of the ropes you will pull the pole over. The spine is the same. Tight muscles pull at all our joints and can be responsible for a lot of misalignment of the joint space. Regular gentle stretching can provide relief for this tension.
Don’t forget the legs, particularly hamstrings, as they track from the back of our knees and attach to base of pelvis. If these are tight it can rotate our hips and put pressure on our lower back muscles.
Classes guided by an experienced therapist in Yoga, Clinical Pilates, Tai Qi or Qi gong can all provide you with knowledge so you can practice at home. We have Yoga, Qi Gong & Tai Chi classes here at Freedom Chinese Medicine.
I recommend daily practice in the morning after a light walk, and just before you go to bed to help you release tension that may have built up during the day.
Treatments available for back pain
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat a multitude of conditions and pain is a very common issue found in our clinic. Many studies have shown that Acupuncture has an analgesic (pain killing) effect to reduce discomfort and give patients back their freedom of movement. More than just pain relief Acupuncture techniques focus on the treating the inflammation and muscle tension that can occur with back issues.
A study was conducted in Melbourne hospitals showing that Acupuncture can be just as effective as opioid medications for all types of pain, without harmful side effects.²
Massage therapy has many very effective techniques for releasing muscle tension and stimulating blood flow to resolve the pain associated with back issues.
Herbs and supplements– Chinese herbal medicine has a history of treating pain conditions with herbs by stimulating blood flow to the area affected, relaxing muscles and moving the blockage of energy that accompanies back pain.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation particularly regular intake of magnesium can assist in getting tense and tight muscles to relax and switch off.³
We provide all of the above treatments here at Freedom Chinese Medicine. And we have several practitioners who have a particular passion & experience for helping people with back pain:
Dr. Jason Callanan
Dr. Daniel Gibbs
Dr. Heather Dowall
Click here to read more about these excellent practitioners.
This article written by:
Dr Jason Callanan
Chinese Medical Herbalist, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist
Jason has been practising Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 10 years. In addition to his Acupuncture degree, he has also completed a Masters in Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Jason has also studied massage styles including Acupressure, remedial techniques, Trigger Point Therapy, and trained in Shiatsu under the private instruction of a Japanese Master. He has incorporated these massage techniques into his clinical practice of Acupuncture to achieve maximum benefit for his patients.
Jason was first introduced to Acupuncture more than 25 years ago when he received treatment for a back injury he was told would need surgery; instead he received six sessions of acupuncture which successfully resolved the issue. Following this experience, he developed a strong passion and interest in Chinese Medicine.
His treatments may include Acupuncture, Massage, Chinese Herbal Medicine, nutritional support, exercise advice… to treat illness, as well as maintaining wellness and vitality.
Jason is an experienced, caring and enthusiastic practitioner with a strong interest in musculo-skeletal issues, digestive health, and the restoration of emotional well-being and balance.
Jason is available:
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday
Call (03) 9486 5966