Abdominal acupuncture used to treat chronic back pain

Peter’s Protruding Disc Problem

I first met this big man just after Christmas. He is a large very strong man who has been suffering with severe hip, and lumbar back pain which moves down into his glutes where he has a very strong local pain point. The discomfort also radiates down throughout his leg between the Urinary Bladder (UB) and the Gallbladder (GB) meridians. He had particularly severe pain in around the GB 34 (Yanglinguan) point, all this was on his right side. 

This was a busy clinic day for me and all of the treatment rooms were full. I was asked to give him a treatment by his wife who I was doing acupuncture for, so I decided that I would treat him seated in my office. We spoke for a few moments and he told me where his main pain was and we discussed the origins of this ongoing problem of almost 6 years duration. He explained that he had already had two major surgeries to initially remove half of the protruding disc between L-4 and L-5 vertebrae. The initial surgery went OK, but shortly after this operation the other half of the disc, shot out and had to be removed 4 weeks later. 

He told me that he had endured this pain for so long (since 2012) that he had forgotten what it felt like to have none! He described how we had tried physiotherapy, osteopathy and a whole range of prescription drugs none of which had really helped for any amount of time. He was tired and fed up but still trying to be enthusiastic. 

Space and Time restricted First Treatment

I told him that I would have to use a strong but effective treatment as we were limited by space and time due to a full clinic and a small office. I looked for ahshi points around his left shoulder joint and found that LI 15 (Jian Yu) - SJ 14 (Jian Liao) area gave quite a positive painful response for Ahshi points to treat his hip pain These were needled directly in towards the shoulder joint. His hip pain eased and so I moved on to address the back pain. I chose points along the lung (hand tai Yin) channel between Lu 5 (Chi Ze) & Lu 6 (Kong Zui). These points, provided some relief but he was still experiencing quite strong pain in the lumbar area. I then decided to use Lingu and DaBai to eradicate his lumbar pain. He was still feeling strong discomfort at GB 34 (Yanglinguan) so I chose to use an ahshi point that I had located between LI 10 (Shou San Li) and LI 11 (Qu Chi) also on the left hand side. When I checked out where the pain was he declared that there was no pain at that location any more. 

Unfortunately his delight was short lived as his complexion began to turn ashen and that this was soon accompanied by beads of sweat on his brow. I enquired as to how he was feeling and he said that he felt quite faint. I removed all of the needles and did some acupressure on point Du 26 (Shui Gou) help resuscitate him. I gave him some water and as he recovered I apologised to which he said that he could see how powerful acupuncture was because it had relieved his pain like no other treatment beforehand. I told him that I would schedule him for an appointment the next week and that I would be using a much more gentle (yet powerful) system of abdominal acupuncture.

First Abdominal Treatment

On his next visit which was three weeks after the original treatment he told me that he had been using CBD oil for two weeks and that his pain seemed to have reduced by approximately 30%. I asked him to check into to his pain at each location and to reference the pain at 10 out of 10 as he lay down on the massage table. The main areas of his pain on this occasion were at UB 23 (Shen Shu) UB 24 (Qi Hai Shu) GB 34 (Yanglinguan) and UB 62 (Shen Mai) area moving up towards UB 65 (Shu Gu) all on the right side. He also had a radiating pain which seemed to spread across the whole of his hip area this pain was at a lower intensity than the others! 

After the previous near fainting experience I wanted to give him a powerful yet gentle treatment. The prescription that are used was "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with St 25 (TianShu) Ab 7 on the left to move Kidney Qi down the effected right side, St 24 (Wailing) the hip point needed 3 needles to cover all the ahshi points which reflected his hip pain! Ab 4 the knee point also needed 3 needles to resolve the pain around the knee and the focal GB 34 (Yanglinguan) problem, the movement of Qi down the whole of the affected right side was completed with one needle at Ab 6 the ankle point. Brian was pain free bar the foot and as I didn’t find any obvious ahshi points in the foot area I decided to use St 27 on the right to stimulate Qi movement into the foot, he had only a minor discomfort in the foot following this addition, and was relaxing into the treatment. At the end of the session he was delighted that it had been so pleasant after the previous episode and once again he was beginning to see the light at the end of this very long and painful tunnel!

Second Abdominal Treatment 

When I saw Peter again two weeks later he was delighted to tell me that his back pain was 80% better. He had not used the CBD oil for 2 weeks as he didn’t need to and he had misplaced it! His lumbar area gave occasional pain and the GB 34 (Yanglinguan) area still gave him some tightness rather than pain. On this occasion I did a similar treatment to the first AA session but there was no need to add ahshi points at Ab 4 or 6! This treatment once again left him feeling good and pain free. 

Third Abdominal Treatment 

There was a four week interval before I saw Peter again. He reported that he had been pain free most of the time except when standing for long periods of time! He said the pain would resolve after a short rest. The discomfort was usually localised in the region between GB 30 (Huantiao) and UB 36 (Cheng Fu). He had a little pain on one of the days three weeks after the second session but compared to what he had endured for almost 6 years he was happy with everything. 

Prescription used this time was "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan), St 26 (Wailing) was needled bilaterally to move Qi into the lumbar area  and I used Kid 13 (Qixue) bilaterally, to support the Kidney essence and work on the local area of L4-L5. 

Conclusion

Peter is now happy that he has become pain free and can once again start to do normal activities with his family that he has had to avoid. He wants to return to work and will see how he progresses. Even though his treatments were not as frequent as I would have suggested, had he been able to afford it, I would have wanted to do more sessions and at a frequency of 2 per week rather than have 3 to 4 week gaps between each visit. I am amazed at the speed at which he got relief and the duration that it lasts. Peter was certainly enthusiastic after he had his first session, which although not ideal, he said that with a couple of the points I used it was like someone turning off a pain switch. He was a believer in acupuncture from then on, having been quite skeptical before.

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