Low back (lumbar) pain has been reported to be one of the most common conditions for which sufferers worldwide seek medical attention. It has numerous causes and can never be lumped into one specific etiological category. The same is true for treatment. There are numerous treatments available, of which chiropractic and acupuncture have repeatedly demonstrated their effectiveness in the majority of low back pain syndromes. The most important treatment goals are to achieve a successful level of pain reduction followed by correction and stabilization of the condition. Most low back pain suffers will wholeheartedly agree that pain relief is paramount, and as quickly as possible.
In my almost four decades of acupuncture and chiropractic practice, I have seen thousands of cases of low back pain that have been successfully treated. Only the very rare case has had to be referred for surgery. In the vast majority of cases, regardless of the specific cause, the patient has experienced significant pain relief in a very short period of time with the administration of a specialized acupuncture point formula. In many cases, pain relief was considerable before chiropractic and/or physiotherapy procedures were even implemented.
This formula is by no means a cure-all for every lumbar pain syndrome, but has proven the test of time in countless cases. It does not do what chiropractic can do regarding structure, nor does it do what physical therapy, soft-tissue treatment, physiotherapy, therapeutic massage and other non-invasive procedures can do to strengthen muscles, ligaments or tendons. Its primary application is for early pain relief.
As most practitioners of acupuncture are vitally aware, there are specific points on the body that are key to most low back conditions. The points, SI 3, BL 62, BL 40 (54) and "surround the dragon" are usual points of application. It stands to reason that there are many other points that may be selected for a variety of reasons and diagnosis, but as far as a general overall pain-relief application, the aforementioned acupuncture points are classic. It's important to note that any additional points that a practitioner has used successfully may be added to this basic formula without disrupting its effectiveness.
In my experience, approximately 90 percent of typical cases of low back pain can be predicted and expected to positively respond when one uses the three major "30" points along with the previous mentioned points. These three powerful points are known as GB 30, BL 30 and ST 30. GB 30 is directly over the sciatic nerve notch, a third of the way from the head of the femur on a line drawn from the tip of the coccyx. BL 30 is two-fingers breadth (1.5 tsun) from the midline (GV-DU MO), bilaterally level with the fourth sacral foramen. This is level with the top of the vertical buttock crease separating the right and left gluteal areas. ST 30 is precisely two tsun bilateral to CV (REN) 2, which is directly at the level of the symphysis pubes.
When one uses the additional points of CV 3, KI 12, CV 4 and KI 13, the clinical response can be potentially raised another percentage point or two. KI 12 is one-half tsun bilateral to CV 3, which is one tsun superior to CV 2. KI 13 is one-half tsun bilateral to CV 4, which is one tsun superior to CV 3. These four points, along with ST 30, are all points on the lower abdomen. Most practitioners and patients will find it unusual at first to use these points, since the pain is in the back. However, its polar opposite effects and the fact that the lower Kidney meridian is the direct opposite of the huo tuo jia ji points on the back make them some of the most powerful points for low back pain on the body.
So, in essence, the ultimate low back pain acupuncture formula for general pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, increased blood flow and relaxed supporting muscles consists of the following points: SI 3, BL 62, BL 40 (54), GB 30, BL 30, ST 30, CV 3, KI 12, CV 4, and KI 13, in addition to the huo tuo jia ji points in the area of involvement and local GV points, with GV4 (ming men) being specific for lumbar pain. If you use this formula for low back pain as a substitute for, or in addition to, points which have shown success in your own practice, it is the very rare patient who will not see outstanding clinical pain relief in a very short time.
It is imperative that other procedures such as gua sha, direct low-level laser, cold therapy and heat therapy also be used. However, these acupuncture points can lead to successful symptom resolution without the use of ancillary treatment.
Even though I always recommend 12 treatments in cases of lumbar pain as a trial of therapy, I fully expect to discharge the patient from acute pain relief to stabilization care within the first four visits. Do not become discouraged if on some occasions it takes longer. However, the better you become with this procedure, the better your response will be.
These points are ideally treated with needles, but laser, electronic and percussive stimulation also may achieve favorable response. Needle retention should be no longer than 10 minutes with either electrical or manual stimulation.
All the best for your success using this formula. Drop me a note and share some of what I expect will be dramatic and successful responses. I would love to share your experiences in a future article. You can also contact me and request a graphic of these points should you wish to see them on a human form for easy application. Simply send your request for the Ultimate Low Back Acupuncture Formula directly to my e-mail address. All the best in 2010, the Year of the Tiger.
Click here for previous articles by John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA).