Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Richmond, VA
Wang, Xiaoyan, L. Ac., MD (China)
Phone: (804) 301-1784
Email: or
Bringing Wisdom of Ancient China to US for Pain Management
  Back Pain Management

Upper and lower back pain is the most common cause of disability. In the work place, back pain is the leading occupational hazard and the second most common reason for missing work. Initially, inflammation, which is the basis for most upper and lower back pain, can subside in a few weeks. When there's no back pain relief within that time, the condition is generally diagnosed as either acute or chronic.

Acute Upper Back Pain and Lower Back Pain

Acute back pain is an immediate warning something is wrong with the body and provokes a quick reaction. Acute pain can usually be traced to a source, like a muscle strain or other back injury. The majority of acute upper and lower back pain comes from strains and sprains which, while painful, don't involve nerve damage. Poor posture and inactive lifestyles allow both upper and lower back muscles to lose their natural flexibility and ability to support the spine. When weak back muscles are suddenly exerted by an activity as simple as lifting something, they can respond with a spasm and the pain of a strain. The resulting injury limits the range of motion of the back.

Degenerative Back Pain

A frequent source of acute back pain is the stress of repeated, minor injuries which, over time, can add up to degenerative disc disease in the spine. Degenerative conditions are associated with lower back pain. They're rarely a cause of upper back pain because of the strength and stability of this area. With degenerative disc disease, lower back pain is triggered when moving toward the side in which the disc is bulging, or herniated. In some cases, the disc herniation may cause severe leg pain and a condition called sciatica when pinching a nerve in the lower back. Another form of degeneration, Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis of the joints in the back, can also be a source of pain. This is particularly true for those over the age of 45. While sprains and strains hurt immediately, pain caused by Osteoarthritis might grow slowly over 12 to 24 hours before it's felt. As degeneration advances, it can narrow the spinal canal in the back through which nerves run. When this bony tube narrows, blood flow is restricted to nerves in the back. This produces inflammation and pain in spinal canal nerves, hindering their ability to function. Known as spinal stenosis, this condition can cause numbness, muscular weakness and pain in both legs.

Chronic Back Pain

If back pain doesn't subside after a natural healing period of about three months, it's labeled chronic back pain. However, assessing the causes and severity of chronic back pain can be complicated. Chronic back pain sets off a chain reaction of physical and mental side effects. The persistent stress of chronic back pain can affect the nervous and immune system. Coping with chronic back pain can also bring on depression and cause the brain to perceive even more pain.

Back Pain Management & Pain Relief Therapies: Surgery

Surgery is often thought to be the final solution to chronic back pain relief. The fact is, for most people, the results are very disappointing. Studies indicate that the long term benefits of back surgery are no greater than those offered by natural, alternative medicine pain relief professionals. What's more, individuals who've undergone a series of back surgeries experience a lower level of pain relief with each subsequent operation. Back surgery is an involved procedure whose high failure rate produces more pain than relief.

Back Pain Management & Pain Relief Therapies: Medications

A huge draw back of using medications for back pain management and relief is the risk of addiction over an extended period. Medications can't cure degenerative back pain. They're prescribed for the management of inflammation, spasms, nerve pain and the side effects such as insomnia. Besides the danger of addiction, continuous use of pain medications can create serious problems like digestive system and liver damage.
An Epidermal Steroid Injection is a step beyond orally administered back pain management medications. This procedure is used to reduce the pain of irritated spinal nerves by directly injecting the anti-inflammatory drug cortisone. Despite the strength of this drug, the success rate of this technique in relieving back pain is only 50%.

Chinese Medicine for Back Pain Management

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat effectively a wide variety of painful conditions.  If you suffer from back pain, acupuncture can offer pain relief naturally with no adverse side effects. The sooner the treatment begins, the quicker the pain relieves. Wang, Xiaoyan is a National Board Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist (USA) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Doctor (China).  In China, she studied and practiced Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine since 1983. She specializes in pain management. If you would like to pursue this form of treatment or information, please contact Xiaoyan.
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