TCM Pain Management & Treatment for Back Pain
From localised pain that lasts as long as a sprain, to long and drawn-out months of back pain — everyone encounters pain at some point in their lives. Whether the causes and symptoms of pain are external, there are often internal imbalances or factors such as lingering inflammation or pathogens that can cause the pain to persist and even become aggravated.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques can intervene.
What types of pain can TCM treat?
- Acute Pain
Often, many of us encounter injuries or issues that cause us acute pain, which usually comes on suddenly, has specific causes, and does not last longer than 6 months. Acute pain can arise from a variety of causes, from smaller cuts and grazes, to fractures and muscular strain, or even more painful experiences that require surgery. Acute pain usually goes away once the cause of pain is resolved.
- Chronic Pain
On the other hand, there is chronic pain, which can affect anyone, anytime. It is defined as pain that lasts or recurs for more than six months, and can continue even after the obvious injury or illness that started it seems to have gone away. There are people that also start experiencing chronic pain without any past aggravation.
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Common chronic pain issues and medical conditions associated
with chronic pain include:
TCM Traditional Therapies
Herbal Medication helps to target Qi or blood stagnation (气滞/血瘀) in the body — one of the primary origins of chronic pain in the TCM view. As such, patients will often be prescribed herbs that promote blood circulation or that eliminate stasis (活血化瘀药), so as to add nourishment to the body and facilitate proper flow of Qi and blood in the body.
Acupuncture can be of particular benefit to patients seeking chronic pain relief for the back (lower back pain especially), neck, or knee joints.
Through the insertion of fine needles into the acupoints, acupuncture helps to clear up meridian blockages and correct the imbalances of Yin and Yang in the body which may have prevented the body from healing fully. This results in benefits for chronic pain in the musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, and even nervous system because acupuncture helps to stimulate the sensory nerves.
Leaving behind round, red marks on the body, cupping and scraping can seem intimidating to some, but it is a highly effective TCM treatment for pain relief as it helps to treat scar tissue and fascia knots deep within the muscles and connective tissues.
Cupping is thus highly effective as TCM for back pain.
By placing burning dried mugwort on various points on the body, moxibustion stimulates Qi flowing throughout the body. This works to relieve and restore balance in the body constitution much like our other TCM treatments for pain relief.
Electro-Lymphatic Therapy (ELT)
Electro-Lymphatic Therapy (ELT) is a gentle, non-invasive treatment that achieves the effects of a lymphatic drainage massage or tuina massage but without any application of pressure or pain.
The lymphatic system plays an important role in our body’s inflammatory and disease-fighting response, so any blockages and built up waste can exacerbate chronic pain. By clearing blockages in the lymphatic system and allowing it to flow normally, TCM can help to create positive effects on pain relief, as well as overall holistic wellness.
All ELT services at Oriental Remedies are performed using an FDA-registered wellness device.
Negative Ion Therapy
Negative Ion Therapy is an additional step that patients can take to improve their overall wellness and enhance the effectiveness of their other pain management treatments.
Using a wellness device made in Japan known as the MI Energy Machine, we offer the body a direct supply of negative ions/electrons, which can help to combat the free radical damage and oxidative stress taken on by our bodies in everyday modern life.
Negative Ion therapy improves blood circulation and manages inflammation to improve your recovery from pain at a cellular level, thereby enhancing the positive effects of our other TCM treatments for back pain.
Far-Infrared Therapy (FIR)
Far-Infrared Therapy makes use of far-infrared rays directed on the body, to improve circulation under the surface of the skin and thus reduce the feeling of pain. The warmth that comes from the treatment is also an added soothing sensation.
Many may be familiar with the warm lamps used commonly at TCM clinics. This is because heat, in general, is viewed to stimulate healing. However, far-infrared is a superior method of applying heat as FIR rays typically penetrate deeper into the skin surface to promote better results than typical TCM for back pain.
How can TCM help with pain relief for chronic back pain?
Chronic pain is often musculoskeletal in origin, and can be aggravated by repetitive strain on the areas of pain, poor posture or anatomical alignment, blocked Qi and Blood flow due to pathogens or injury, as well as poor lifestyle factors (sleep, exercise, and diet).
In the TCM approach, we offer non-invasive but highly effective treatments for pain relief that can act as standalone chronic pain treatments or speed up other treatments being done. While many people are aware to seek TCM for back pain, at Oriental Remedies Group, we can enhance your recovery further through a combination of TCM and tech-enhanced therapies.
Benefits of Pain Management Treatment at Oriental Remedies Group
We speak English and Chinese fluently
in pain management
with TCM x Tech-Enhanced therapies
Physicians are trained in Biomedical Sciences and TCM
At Oriental Remedies Group here in Singapore, our unique service offering combining traditional TCM and tech-enhanced therapies enable us to help our clients see more effective results, at a much faster rate than if they simply relied on modern medication for pain relief. Our certified physicians leverage on their knowledge in Biomedical Sciences and TCM for a more accurate diagnosis, allowing them to prescribe efficacious treatment plans.
Many of our technology-enhanced therapies also have multiple, positive effects that are mutually reinforcing. For example, besides achieving overall wellness and relieving the buildup of toxins, Electro-Lymphatic Therapy can help to target and soothe inflammation deep under the skin, which is another element that conventionally leads to pain symptoms.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best course of TCM for back pain relief?
With more and more of us spending our daily lives sitting long hours behind a desk with a laptop, or lack of awareness of our posture when we move and lift items in our daily lives, back pain is becoming one of the most common types of chronic pain that we encounter.
In the TCM view, back pain can be due to multiple internal factors like age, or lifestyle, as well as external factors like exposure to Wind, Cold, and Dampness. To combat these from a TCM approach, we will want to first understand your current body conditions and constitutions to understand what combination of treatments will help you in a speedy recovery for your chronic back pain.
For example, patients experiencing acute back pain due to sprains may be prescribed herbs and acupuncture therapy to improve blood circulation and relieve pain. On the other hand, back pain that is accompanied by more widespread body pain and inflammation from things like osteoarthritis may be prescribed herbs that improve muscular function and Electro-Lymphatic Therapy to clear out toxins and inflammation.
Of course, these programmes are not exhaustive, and we highly recommend that all patients speak to our physicians to receive a personal programme.
If you need more immediate pain relief for your back pain at home, you can try acupressure massages and stretches of the neck and back at home, which you can learn more about in the article – Understand And Relieve Your Back Pain With TCM.
How many sessions does it take to see improvement through TCM pain relief programmes?
In terms of TCM for acute back pain, 3-5 sessions is a good baseline if the patient attends treatment sessions once a week. This can be further improved if they are able to experience treatment twice a week.
In terms of TCM for chronic back pain or back pain due to arthritis, this will require a longer treatment period, and can look something like 2-3 months of weekly sessions.
Do note that these are general guidelines for treatment periods and may not reflect your experience, as time taken to experience pain relief through TCM treatment can be affected by the patient’s lifestyle and habits.