After the UK had been in lockdown for two months, I started receiving emails enquiring about whether acupuncture is effective in treating physical aches and pains brought on by stress and lack of physical movement. I have been wanting to write a blog about it for a while and now seems the right time to do it. Hopefully it will help some of you out there during the lockdown period.
Acupuncture is well known for treating physical pain. It was once recommended by the NHS to specifically treat lower back pain and people often ask me whether lower back pain is the most commonly seen health issue in my clinic.
There are two physical health problems I treat most often in my clinic. One is tension in the neck and shoulders which sometimes causes pain to radiate down the arms. The other is lower back pain which clients usually feel around the sacrum area. It can sometimes radiate down into the buttocks and legs which Western doctors often diagnose as sciatica. Occasionally I see clients who suffer from hip pain, knee pain and pain in the lower legs. I treat pain in these areas every week.
The main causes of such pain are stress, over exercising, lack of exercising, repetitive injury, overworking, general wear and tear, and underlying health issues which in Chinese medicine’s perspective involves Qi, Blood and Organs. I often find people who complain about neck and shoulder pain also suffer from lower back ache, or vice versa. Therefore, I treat the person’s whole back by incorporating different techniques including Cupping, Gua Sha, Tuina and Moxa. Once the body is relaxed, I move on to use acupuncture needles. For acute pain, the person can feel instance relief after just one treatment. In chronic conditions, the person should feel an improvement within six sessions.
If you are looking for some tips to help to get through the lockdown period, there are a few things you can do at home. Gentle exercise and a stretching routine are great for relaxing muscles and there are lots of free tutorials available on YouTube. Self-massage your whole body by using a tennis ball or a massage roller. Again, check on YouTube for free tutorials. Have a regular hot bath with Epsom or Himalayan bath salts. Essential oils are great for relaxing our minds. And last but not least, an old school hot water bottle is my personal favourite for relieving lower back pain.