An Athletic Back Pain

acupuncture on the lower back
Acupuncture on UB 23

Back pain commonly challenges serious athletes.  In this post I wanted to share an acupuncture success story about a marathon runner who came to my office for acupuncture treatment.

This patient came to me after developing back pain while training for  the New York Marathon.  He was building up strength and running time when he developed pain in the lower back on the right side.  The pain was most intense after running and sometimes traveled down through the butt.  Back stiffness and spasms were also a problem.

After a visit to his orthopedist and an MRI, he was diagnosed with sciatica from a bulging disc.

Acupuncture treatment for Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

We began with treatments once a week.  This patient had more stagnation than deficiency, so I focused on creating circulation by using more needles and electro-acupuncture.  But in athletes it is important also to boost the energy to support the training.

The acupuncture points I used were UB 23, UB 32, Yao Yan, GB 30, and UB 40 with electro-acupuncture at 2HZ/30HZ.   KI 3 and KI 7 on the inside ankle were also used to help boost the qi.

I also looked for tender areas on the right ride, which are traditionally called  “ouch” points but are today referred to as trigger points.  There were a lot of ouch points along the upper part of pelvis.  At the end of each acupuncture session, I did tui na to help relax the muscles and increase the circulation.

The Acupuncture Results

After the first visit, the patient began to feel better.  His back was less stiff, and he experienced less pain after running.  We continued with weekly sessions throughout his training.  At times, when he increased his mileage during the training, his back pain was somewhat exacerbated.  After the following acupuncture session, the pain was generally relieved and he could continue.

By the time the marathon rolled around his back pain was under control and muscle stiffness was virtually gone.  He was able to successfully complete the New York City Marathon.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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