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Pain Awareness Campaign

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Talking Points:

Use the information below to help streamline your patient communication strategies.

  • We acupuncturists see back pain as stemming from two distinct types of issues: excess or deficiency.
  • If there is pain manifesting due to a lack of energy flowing into a particular area, the pain is caused by deficiency. If the energy is there, but impeded somehow, we say the pain is due to excess, also known as stagnation. Stagnation simply means that either energy or blood is “stuck.”
  • When we treat back pain, we ask a series of questions to determine whether the pain is caused by stagnation or deficiency. Of course, we always ask what event started the pain, but stagnation isn’t always caused by a trauma. This is why we also question the type of pain it is, and what makes it worse and better.
  • Acupuncture truly shines in this area. With our tiny little needles, we are able to affect the flow of energy and blood, getting things unstuck.
  • If you have ever had the type of back pain that you just wanted someone to massage to get some relief, it was likely deficiency pain. Deficiency back pain is more mild and achy than pain caused by excess conditions, which is more pronounced and feels worse with touch. It can also be more diffuse, whereas excess pain is fixed in one spot. 
  • When you see your acupuncturist for back pain, expect to be asked many questions regarding the location of the pain, what makes it feel better and worse and what quality of pain it is.
  • One differentiation important to make is whether the back pain stems from excess or deficiency. Proper treatment is based on knowing the difference between the two. Deficient pain stems from a lack of energy or blood to nourish the area, and excess pain is stagnation of the blood or energy; basically, things are “stuck” and not flowing freely as they should.
  • There are no real negative side effects associated with acupuncture treatments. There can be a bruise or a little tenderness after the treatments, but that pales in comparison to the side effects from most pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures.
  • Back pain is frequently accompanied by joint inflammation in the spinal column. Acupuncture promotes the release of vascular and immune-mediating factors that actually decrease inflammation. Usually when inflammation is decreased, so is pain.
  • Low back pain can frequently disrupt sleep. With regular acupuncture treatments, not only is the pain and inflammation of back pain decreased, but so are the sleep interruptions due to the aforementioned pain. This is just one of the positive side effects of acupuncture.