Lower back pain is a common presentation at the late stage of pregnancy. Sometimes this is a new issue, brought on by the pregnancy, but it can also be a chronic issue that becomes aggravated. The extent of the back pain can range from mild discomfort to a crippling condition with sciatic pain that has a major impact on your daily life.
How does Chinese medicine view back pain?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), musculoskeletal pain is seen as a disruption to the flow of qi (energy) and blood in the channels passing through the problematic area. This can have several causes. It may arise from so called invasion of pathogenic factors, such as wind, cold, damp and/or heat. For instance, if your back gets really cold, the blood and energy flow stagnates which results in pain. Other causes can be overuse of the back or a trauma to the area. There can also be internal causes to back pain. When there is a disharmony in an internal organ, this can cause problems and pain in its related meridian (energy channel).
Why does back pain often occur in pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the cause of lower back pain can be of mixed factors. It often results from an underlying deficiency, likely a deficient Kidney energy. This can lead to weak bones and muscles, as well as blockages in the Kidney channel.
Another organ that can cause back pain is the Liver. When Liver Qi (energy) stagnates, it will cause pain. This is often associated with stress, external pathogenic invasion ( like cold, wind or damp) or traumatic injury.
It is however important to remember that not all lower back pain in pregnancy is musculo-skeletal in origin. Some of the less common causes that need to be considered are back pain as first signs of early labour or kidney diseases such as renal stones and infections.
What can be done about back pain in pregnancy?
Management of low back pain with Traditional Chinese Medicine involves a thorough assessment of the pain. We first figure out why you have the pain and what the underlying cause is.
The corresponding treatment most often involves acupuncture. With acupuncture we aim to move energy and blood in the problematic meridians (energy channels) to relieve the pain. It also normally includes strengthening of any underlying deficiencies. Like for instance when the Kidney energy is weak, we will tonify it in order to alleviate the pain.
How can I make an appointment for back pain treatment?