Acupuncture and You: Summer fun doesn’t have to be a Pain in the Back, By Heather Shoup, M.S., L.Ac.

Heather ShoupSummer is here and in full swing.   It is time for the much needed vacations, outdoor activities, and annual summer outdoor work. Most of us enjoy the summer.  It is a time of year when we get to really enjoy all the outdoors have to offer.   Many of us will kick up our exercise regimens in the summer. Bike riding, hiking, swimming, running, playing outside sports are just a few of the activities we do to stay healthy outdoors.  Summer is also the time most people will take some much needed vacation time.  Whether it is taking a car ride to the beach for the week, or flying to a fun location.  Many people will also spend a great amount of time outside gardening, taking care of the pool, or doing yard work.   All of which need to be done in order for us to enjoy the Summer.  Unfortunately as Summer kicks up so will the incidents of low back pain.

All of the above activities, though great for us, can lead to an occurrence or flare up of low back pain.  All it takes is doing any of these activities too much, or not drinking enough water one day, or reaching or turning without being careful and the damage can be done.  The good news most occurrence of low back pain will not be a chronic problem, but a temporary issue or flare up.   There are 2 main types of low back pain.  True low back pain and sciatic pain.   Many people will say they have low back pain, but when they describe their symptoms they are having sciatic pain.  The main difference Is that sciatic pain follows a nerve pathway and can go from the spine or buttock down the leg to the foot.   The pain can occur throughout the whole pathway, it may wrap around, or it may only go partially along the pathway,

Low back pain and sciatic pain are caused by either inflammation of the muscles or the nerves. The good news is no matter what the cause or where it is located acupuncture can help!

Acupuncture will support the body’s proper flow of energy and encourage blood flow.  It will help decrease inflammation in the area to alleviate the pressure on any nerves or muscles.  If the nerve is inflamed or pinched, it can lead to muscles becoming tense as they react to the nerve pain. The opposite can also be true, if a muscle is tight or inflamed it can pinch or irritate a nerve.  Acupuncture treatment will thus focus on both decreasing the inflammation and reducing the muscle tension in order to alleviate pain. Along with the acupuncture, cupping may be added to your treatment as well.  Cupping is when glass or plastic spherical cups are attached to the body by using suction.  The cups are often added as a way to help reduce muscle tension and alleviate inflammation as well.

If a condition is an acute occurrence, it will generally take 1-3 treatments along with rest and proper hydration to be back to normal.

So, if in your summer activities you find yourself with low back pain, consider acupuncture.  So you can get back out there enjoying all the summer has to offer.

Missed last month’s column? Read it now:

June Acupuncture and You: How Acupuncture can Improve Your Health, by Heather Shoup, M.S., L.Ac.