Hello, and welcome! I’m sorry you’re experiencing back pain … all kinds of pain are bad, but back pain can be so crippling because it feels like there’s no respite, and it affects how you stand, walk, sit, sleep – everything!
I have to start on a serious note, because not everyone is going to read this entire article: please don’t mess with your back! I have seen too many people really stuff up their backs and take a long time to recover through not listening to the pain signals their body is sending them. Taking pain killers and anti-inflammatories does not count as listening to your body – this is more in the realm of just making it shut up! Pain killers and anti-inflammatories only mask the warning that your body is giving you, and not only that, they can seriously harm your gut.
Back pain is a warning that there is something going wrong in your body. If you do not pay attention to it, you may create a serious problem.
Now that’s out of the way, please keep reading as you’ll learn a lot about why back pain occurs and how we treat it so successfully!
Your body is making pain for a reason
Most of us think of pain as something that happens to our body. From my perspective, it’s the other way around: your body makes pain, and it makes it for a reason. If you accidentally touch a hot stove, it’s not actually the hot stove that’s causing you pain – it’s your body, which is very sensibly making pain so that you remove your hand as fast as possible. Similarly, your body makes back pain for a reason – it doesn’t just randomly occur. The back pain is a message. It’s NOT the true problem; it’s a symptom that is shouting at you to pay attention and look deeper. A healthy, well-nourished, well-aligned, strong body won’t make back pain.
If your body is making back pain, you need to ask why. If you take painkillers and anti-inflammatories so that you can no longer hear your body’s cry for help, then all you are doing is gagging your body’s desperate attempt to alert you to the real problem.
Back pain and surgery
Please, use surgery as a last resort. Once you make permanent structural change, there is no going back.
In my practice I see many clients for who surgery has not worked. In fact, the surgery has made their pain worse. Admittedly I only see people for who surgery has failed to get rid of their pain, and no doubt there are a large number of people who have had great success with surgery. However, this is my warning: once permanent structural change has been made to your back, it is often much, much harder to get rid of pain. While I can still often help reduce or even stop your pain with acupuncture or herbs, this is purely symptomatic relief and won’t actually fix your problem. If you stop the acupuncture or herbs, your pain will return.
On a more positive note, there is a percentage of people for who surgery did not work because the nature of the problem was not properly diagnosed, and surgery wasn’t the correct solution. As long as the surgical process hasn’t damaged their back, I can still assess the real nature of the problem, give the body what I believe it needs and often eliminate or substantially relieve the back pain for good. Below is a list of common causes of back pain.
Post-surgical pain can also occur if the surgery itself inflames a nerve or results in dead blood getting trapped in the muscles and tissues of the back, causing pain. I can discover if either of these situations has occurred through Chinese pulse diagnosis, and can often correct the problem through treatment with herbs, minerals or acupuncture.
Five common causes of back pain:
1. Acute injury (soft tissue damage, strained muscles):
Unless there is an underlying back weakness or old injury, most acute injuries can be relieved within 3 acupuncture treatments, providing it is treated quickly and you rest to allow your back to recover.
2. Misalignment of vertebrae:
Misalignment can be fixed by osteopathic or chiropractic techniques, however if the muscles become weak or the tendons over-stretched, the vertebrae may continue to go out. This is where strengthening exercises, herbs and acupuncture can help constrict and tone the muscles.
If the misalignment has caused a lot of inflammation and the body is not able to clear it, you need to increase blood flow to the area and relax the nerves so that the inflammation and damaged tissue can be cleared. If this step is not taken then simply putting the vertebrae back in won’t permanently fix the problem. Again, it all relates back to properly diagnosing the nature of the underlying cause of the misalignment.
3. Bulging disc and reduced gap:
- Dehydration. The discs in the back are compression sacks filled with water. If the sack has less water in it than it needs, the pressure of the vertebrae becomes uneven and the sack can bulge to one side. The question that needs to be asked is “why am I dehydrated ?” The obvious reason is that you’re not drinking enough water, but this is not always the case. It may be that your body is too acidic, causing your body to draw water out of the tissues and vertebrae to dilute the acidity (the body must maintain a blood pH of between 7.35 and 7.45, and will go to great lengths to achieve this). Another possible cause is toxicity: the body deals with toxins by attempting to flush them out or else shutting them away in fat cells. If necessary, it will draw water from the body’s tissues to eliminate toxins as quickly as possible. Kidney problems, where the body is not properly regulating its water levels, can also cause dehydration. That said, for many people, simply increasing water intake combined with restorative treatments to help repair the damaged disc has fixed their back permanently.
- Wear and tear. The disc can bulge from constant strain. When this occurs you need to heal the disc and also adjust your posture, strengthening your core abdominal muscles to stop the strain and fix the problem. If the strain on your back is work-related, you will need to consider changing your job or investing in ongoing maintenance therapy to help your body cope with the constant strain. If you ignore the message of pain that your body is giving you and continue to subject it to the same stressors that initially caused the problem, well, let’s face it – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that sooner or later you’re going to severely stuff up your back.
- Lack of the specific nutrients needed by your body to maintain the health of your discs. This relates to proper diet, absorption and transportation of nutrients. If you have digestive issues as well as back pain, this is likely to be an important factor.
4. Calcification and bone spurs (worsened when a bone spur impacts a nerve):
This is where hard calcium deposits accumulate on the vertebrae, which then tear into the disc or impact a nerve. Calcium deposits are usually the result of the body’s pH being too acidic, which can be due to a whole variety of issues. Herbs can dissolve bone spurs, however if they are too big then surgery may be appropriate to clean up the bone. Your body will then need help to heal from the surgery, and we will need to implement a protocol to change the internal environment of your body so that bone spurs don’t continue to grow.
5. Kidney stones:
Kidney stones are a major cause of back pain. They are often too small for an ultrasound to pick up, however I can usually detect them using Chinese pulse diagnosis. If you do not dissolve and eliminate them then your back pain will continue to worsen.
These are just a few of the common reasons for back pain. As you can see, it’s crucial to identify the underlying nature of your condition if you truly want to fix your back pain permanently.
I love what I do, because it is the most satisfying thing in the world for me to see people with long term back problems become pain free, and feel great in the process.
I implore you: please don’t ignore your back. You’ve only got one, and it has to last you for a lifetime. Seek out a health professional who can ascertain the true nature of your back complaint. Don’t settle for pharmaceutical pain killers or anti-inflammatories so you can no longer hear your body’s cry for help, and if you’re thinking of surgery, don’t do it without first exhausting every non-surgical opportunity available.
Finally, please be aware that despite many successes with past clients I can’t guarantee success with every client (no health practitioner can). Nevertheless, I am confident enough to offer a First Visit Guarantee, where we give YOU $30 (in addition to refunding you the full cost of our services to you) if you’re not satisfied with your first appointment. Full details are below.
Naturopath & Chinese Medicine Practitioner