Arthritis is a disorder affecting one or more joints of the body. It is characterized as inflammation, pain, and stiffness of the joints. Arthritis can also present as redness, warmth, swelling and decreased range of motion in the affected joint or joints. Onset can be gradual or sudden.
Facts About Arthritis
There are actually over 100 different classifications of arthritis. The two most common forms of arthritis seen clinically are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees and hips. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that often affects the hands and feet.
Back pain is pain felt anywhere along the back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, and joints around the spine. The pain can range for cervical (neck pain), the upper thoracic area (upper back pain), mid to low thoracic (mid-back pain), or the lumbar, sacral, and coccyx area (lower back pain).
Low Back Pain Facts
Low back pain is one of the two most common forms of back pain seen clinically, the other is neck pain. Low back pain is becoming an increasing problem in the modern age, as more and more of the population finds itself working at a desk in front of a computer for multiple hours a day. Excess forward bending is an increasing problem causing people to have low back pain. It is very common that in addition to low back pain, patients have sciatica as an accompaniment to their low back pain.
Facts About Sciatica
Sciatica is characterized as pain going down the leg originating from the lower back. Sciatic pain is due to a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine. A pinched nerve (or radiculopathy) is a mechanical compression of one or more nerve roots near is connection to the spinal column. A pinched nerve is commonly caused by a bulging or herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or facet joint disorders. A pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the spine however it is most commonly found it the neck (cervical spine) or low back (lumbar spine). When a patient suffers from a pinched nerve in the lower back, they most commonly present with sensations in the low back radiating to the buttock, down the front, back, or side of the leg, even all the way down to the toes. Sensations from a pinched nerve are usually characterize as sharp shooting electrical pain, tingling and or numbness sensations, or loss of strength and or function in the leg.
Acupuncture For Low Back Pain - Sciatica
In Traditional Chinese Medicine low back pain or low back pain with sciatica is considered to be stagnation of qi and blood. When diagnosing low back pain, a physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine must determine which acupuncture meridian has the obstruction of qi and blood as well as which muscle channel has the obstruction of qi and blood. When diagnosing low back pain with sciatica, a physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine will perform the same diagnosis as regular low back pain but must also determine at what level is there an obstruction of qi and blood on the lumbar spine.
Acupuncture Vs Western Medicine
In Western Medicine, there is a wide variety of pharmaceutical medications prescribed for low back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Most of these pharmaceutical drugs are harmful to the liver and kidney after prolonged use and are accompanied by harmful side effects. If these pharmaceutical drugs prove ineffective doctors tend to do steroid injections. These steroid injections tend to give the patient at best 6-8 months of relief, then typically the pain returns at the same intensity or worse. These pharmaceutical drugs or steroid injections simply numb the pain without addressing the root of the problem. In extreme circumstances, surgery is performed however statistics show very minimal success in pain relief and limit the patient's range of motion in the lumbar spine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we will look for the obstruction causing your low back pain or low back pain with sciatica. The treatment strategy will be to remove the obstruction to alleviate pain and restore range of motion to the lumbar spine. Treatments can involve acupuncture, electrical stimulation, cupping massage, heat therapy and exercise.
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