Acupuncture – needles as policemen

You know for sure: “Oh, I’m stiff! My back is in pain! I can’t bend over! Ah, I can’t get up!” These are probably expressions we hear ever more frequently in our surroundings from people who have disorders with a lower back. Back pain or lumbago (Latin name) is a condition characterized by a sensation of pain at rest or movement in the lower spine and surrounding muscles. When we talk about the lower part of the spine, we are referring to the five loins (lumbar) vertebrae and the bone sacrum (os sacrum) that extends upon them. The lumbar part of the spine is heavily loaded because it carries all the body weight, except for the hips and legs weight. It transfers this weight to the sacrum, which is wedged between the pelvic bones. So the heaviness of the upper body is transferred to the pelvis and legs. This section takes place all the bending movements forward and backward, sideways, and all the intersections of these positions. They are therefore exposed to considerable mechanical forces at rest and in motion. The first problems with the lower back usually occur abruptly with some physical exertion. They can also be triggered by some completely harmless movement, such as getting up quickly, tying shoelaces, lifting sheets of paper off the floor, and similar.

Acupuncture (Latin “acus” = needle + “pungers” = stick) is one of the main medical methods of traditional Chinese medicine. It is a therapeutic technique that by inserting needles into specific points on the patient’s skin, establishes a balance of Qi, the vital energy that flows through the body. Ancient Chinese doctors believed that life energy flows through the body through twelve lines or meridians.

Let’s jump a bit to China now. According to Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM), an energy disruption, which can be caused by an internal or external cause, is considered to be the cause of an illness or disorder. When a patient reports to a CTM physician and complains of a disturbance, the physician then performs a patient examination, which also includes a pulse-language diagnosis, that is, an examination to determine the energy state of the organism, the state of fluids in the body, and the map energy in it. Based on this examination, treatment is determined, and the therapy aims to balance the body energies. There are twelve pairs of energy channels and eight extra channels that drive energy in our bodies. These channels also have 365 energy points (energy vortex) through which we act on energy, so that excess energy from one channel is transferred to other channels with energy lack to restore balance in the body. To make acupuncture therapy easier to understand, we can also present it by imagining channels as roads, energy points as intersections, and acupuncture needles as policemen regulating traffic to keep it flowing continuously and evenly. In traditional Chinese medicine, the disease is an energy disorder, and it does not have as many different diagnoses as in Western medicine.

The CTM is also a holistic (overall) medicine, and it does not separate psychic disturbances from physical ones, but a single energy disorder can manifest itself in many ways. In the case of lumbago and sciatica, energy disturbance is most often caused by external pathogenic factors: moisture, cold, and wind. You must have heard that someone complained of back pain after getting wet. Due to the penetration of these energies into the bladder or gall bladder ducts, Qi (vital energy) is impaired, which causes disturbances, small or extensive pain in a particular region. Depending on the affected channel a lumbago-sciatica type of the bladder when the muscles posterior side of the hamstring and lower leg is affected, or the type of gall bladder when the lateral side of the hamstring and lower leg is affected. Because on the back of the leg passes the bladder channel, and on the lateral side passes the gall bladder. The treatment is usually performed with acupuncture, and the source of the points depends on the patient’s condition or the finding of pulse-language diagnostics. If necessary, electrostimulation may be used in chronic cases involving nerve paresis and muscle weakness. Sometimes moxa is also used in therapy – a bundle of herbs that burns and thus brings heat into the cold zones of the body. For people who can not stand the sting of needles can be used the Chinese magnetotherapy. In cases of lumbago and lumbago-sciatica in CTM, take into account the emotional component, where certain feelings can cause energy disorders. The emotions that can cause a disturbance in bladder type are fear, doubt, jealousy, unforgiveness, and in the gallbladder type is anger, unforgiveness, rage. The specificity of CTM is that each patient is a person for himself, and some diseases (lumbago, lumbago-sciatica) cannot be treated by prescription. The therapy is not the same for the same diagnosis. If we have five different patients with lumbago, for example, someone has lumbago alone, someone with gastritis, some with breathing difficulties, and so on. So we treat lumbago, but with five different approaches to therapy. In my lectures, I often cite an example from the beginning of practice (20 years ago, A/N), when on the same day an older man of about 70 years and a young boy of about 20 came to therapy. Both came bent over with back pain that spread to the heel. After the examination, I recommended both ten acupuncture sessions, with the use of moxa on the older patient in addition to acupuncture. I naively thought at the time that the young boy would surely be fine after ten sessions and that no further therapy would be required. And I immediately told the elderly patient that it would most likely be necessary to repeat the treatment several more times after a pause. However, after the fourth session, the older patient straightened fully and did not feel pain, while the younger patient only after the seventh session. After a month, at the follow-up examination, the younger patient repeated seven more acupuncture sessions, and the elderly did not have any disorder, so we did not resume therapy.

According to Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM), an energy disorder, which can be caused by an internal or external cause, is considered to be the cause of an illness or interference. – Dr. Prenc Silvano

A year later, I met in the town of a younger patient, who told me that he was thinking of calling me to come for another therapy because he occasionally feels heel pain. The elderly patient contacted me after ten years and said: “Doctor, you certainly do not remember me anymore, I was ten years ago on acupuncture therapy for lumbago-sciatica, and since then I have no further interference. Thank you very much.” So there are no rules. The acupuncture therapy is a safe method of choice because it has no harmful effects, no side effects also stimulate the body to self-healing, and can be successfully used in all ages.

TEXT – Dr. Silvano Prenc