Wednesday, July 08, 2009

when Back Pain Is Not Back Pain

The musculo-skeletal system is amazingly dynamic. Not that we ever think of it that way until something goes wrong. This is the story of a patient who had severe back pain which interestingly enough was not treated in the back. A 37 year old male patient, otherwise healthy, came to see me complaining of severe back pain lasting for 1 1/2 weeks. Upon examination I noticed that his muscles on the left side of his spine were inflamed and his calf muscles were bulging particularly on the left side. What kind of exercise had he been doing? He told me he was a runner and that he used to skateboard a lot and that was why his left calf was over-developed. Considering that Chiropractic treatments earlier in the week did not provide him enough relief, I decided to do an acupressure test on him. I massaged deeply on the left hamstring and calf muscles to see what his response would be on his back. To my excitement he reported that the muscle tension in his back improved. This was a good clue to do more. So I worked deep into the soft tissue of his legs and glutes bilateral. Then I had him turn over to release the iliopsoas muscle group. These are hip flexor muscles that can cause back pain. His psoas muscles were painfully tight. First I released them with a distal acupuncture point in the foot so I could release them manually in the lower abdomen without causing so much discomfort. It is interesting and amazing to press on a tight psoas muscle (located in the lowest part of the abdomen near the inguinal groove) and have the patient feel intense pain and then put a needle in the foot (GB41 if you really want to know) and have the same psosas muscle area be significantly softer and relaxed instantly. Patients upon feeling this change will say something like "Wow! How can a needle in my foot help my psoas like that." For which I respond, That is the mystery and magic of Acupuncture. To fully relax the person and further soften the back I performed acupuncture. The patient walked out feeling good.

This kind of treatment outcome could not be achieved by acupuncture alone yet happens everyday in our office to people looking for natural solutions to thier health care concerns.