Back pain? Try this easy self help method

If you suffer from back pain you will know how debilitating it can be. Life can be very difficult as everyday tasks such as washing up, driving the car or gardening become almost unbearable. Even trying to sleep feels impossible. It can take over your life, making you feel weary and in low spirits.

Do not despair. Here is very easy, cheap and effective way to improve your back pain that I recommend to many of my patients at Ealing Acupuncture & Massage: the regular application of heat to your back. (See below for provisos to this advice).

Something as simple as sitting with a hot water bottle against your back as you relax in front of the television after a busy day can really help to keep your back pain under control. How does this work?

In Chinese medicine, we understand that one of the main causes of back pain is stagnation. The qi and blood should flow smoothly along the channels of the back, However, things like sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, injury and poor posture can obstruct the flow of qi and blood and over time the back can become stiff and painful.

When we boil water, we observe that heat causes movement as we watch the water bubble. The opposite is observed with the application of cold – ice is hard and the particles lack movement. When we regularly apply heat to our back we encourage the movement of qi and blood, which reduces pain by clearing stagnation. It helps to bring nutrients to the affected area and also helps to break down the scar tissue of previous injury.

There are some provisos to this advice:

– As mentioned, heat should not be used on inflamed areas.

– The application of heat is more suited to the mid and lower back areas. This is because the nature of heat is to rise, and the application of heat around the neck and upper back may cause too much heat to enter the head, and may result in headache.

– Heat should be used with extreme caution wherever there is nerve damage, or where the patient has communication difficulties, as burning could result.

– If you think that your back pain could be caused by more than just stiffness, then consult your doctor for further advice.

Ideally, I would recommend that you come and have treatment with me at Ealing Acupuncture & Massage. This should quickly make a huge improvement to your back pain, and then you can use heat and other methods to help maintain that improvement. Back pain is one of my specialisms, and you can be confident that you will receive a bespoke service with treatment and advice perfectly tailored to your needs. However, if you are not ready for a treatment just yet, then give the hot water bottle a go, and let me know how you get on!

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