PAIN MANAGEMENT

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LOWER BACK

Ouch my back hurts

Lumbago or low back pain is not a disease but a disorder that involves muscles and/or bones of the back and could be attributed to many reasons. Statistics show that in developed countries, about 80% of the population had experienced low back pain at one point of their lives. It can affect one side or both sides of the back and in serious cases may even affect the lower limbs.

In modern medicine, low back pain can be due to sprains and strains, spinal related degeneration, arthritis, tumor or kidney diseases.

In Chinese medicine, low back pain can be caused by external or internal factors. External factors include Cold-Dampness and Hot-Dampness. Internal factors include Blood Stasis and Kidney deficiency (Yin or Yang). When the channels and collaterals that pass through the lower back are blocked by Dampness or blood clots, causing insufficient “Qi” and “Blood” flow to the areas, pain occur.

Low back pain can be classified into 5 main syndromes based on their clinical presentations.

  1. Cold-dampness” syndrome: Low back pain more severe during cold rainy days.
  2. Hot-dampness” syndrome: Low back pain more severe during hot and humid days.
  3. Blood stasis syndrome: Localized low back pain that worsens at night.
  4. Kidney(Yin or Yang) deficiency: Dull ache and general weakness of the lower back.

Low back pain can be relieved through acupuncture, Chinese massage, cupping and herbal formulas. However it is more important that the patient do his own conditioning exercises to prevent future reoccurrence of pain.

Below are two conditioning exercises that you can practice every day to improve the condition of your lower back, so you can be less prone to injuries and pain.

1Bent knees lateral twist.

Lie on your back on a soft mat. Place both hands on abdomen. Bend your hips and knees to an angle of 90-100⁰(Figure 1). Keeping the upper body fixed, twist your hips to one side such that your knees touch the ground (Figure 2). Repeat for the other side. Do 3 sets of 10 times for each side.

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Figure 1. Bend your hips and knees to an angle of 90-100.

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Figure 2. Twist your hips to the left and right, keep your knees together.

2Lateral stretch

Lie on your back on a soft mat. Stretch out both hands above your head with your feet upturned. Stretch the sides of your body alternately for 10 times on each side (Figure 3). Do 3 sets.

Next, with your feet downturned, repeat the exercise for 3 sets of 10 (Figure 4).

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Figure 3. Stretch out both hands above your head with your feet upturned. Stretch the sides of your body alternately.

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Figure 3. Stretch out both hands above your head with your feet downturned. Stretch the sides of your body alternately.

For the above exercises, always remember to do within your limits. Breathe normally and regularly, and do not hold your breath.

Herbal soup for improving blood circulation, tonifying the Liver and Kidneys and strengthening the bones:

Kidney Tonifying Soup (Serves 2)


Eucommia 9g eucommia Achyranthes9g achyranthes Cibotium 9g cibotium
Wolfberry9g wolfberry Honey Dates2 honeydates Pork ribs 250g porkribs

Cooking instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a pot; pour in 6 bowls of water.
  2. Bring water to a boil then switch to medium flame and boil for another 2 hours.
  3. Add salt to taste.