Thursday, January 28, 2010
Ancient and New Ways of Getting Rid of Back Pain
It isn't exactly a rare scenario. A man, typically middle-aged, is seen busily working on something inside the house on a Saturday morning. The suddenly, he bends to pick up a tool from the floor. Earlier, he broke into a sweat while carrying sacks of cement and bricks that he'll use to re-do the driveway. As he rises, he immediately senses the sharp pain on his waist and lower back. Not as young as he used to be, he ends up almost immobile from the waist down after hurting his back while doing something as ordinary as picking up an object from the floor. This scene is so common that it is even used as a common device in t.v. situation comedies and cartoons. But in real life, over stretching and lifting of heavy objects have been the reason for the need to buy all sorts of pain medications. However, it isn't simply manual labor or household mishaps that prompt someone to urgently need back pain relief. The reality is that there are several situations and occupations that have a higher tendency to cause undue stress on the back muscles, which would then necessitate the use of back pain relief treatments. Another possibility would be the natural “wear and tear” associated with aging. As we get older, our muscles slowly become thinner and our bones begin to brittle. Back pain relief is hardly something that can be considered a specialized field, as most medications that relieve back pain are also used to relieve pain in other parts of the body. In particular, low-potency pain killers and muscle relaxants that target the entire central nervous system are among the most common ways to get back pain relief. Aside from the Western medicine-style of prescribing pain killers, alternative methods of pain alleviation are now available. Once such alternative is called Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese art of sticking or puncturing the skin with needles for the purpose of restoring health or treating disease and pain. It has been used by the Chinese people as a back pain relief method since the 1340s, predating many Western medical practices on pain alleviation. According to acupuncture theory, illnesses are caused by an imbalance in a person's yin and yang. Through acupuncture, the flow of internal energy or “chi” is regulated, allowing the critical balance of yin and yang to be restored. Regulation of the “chi” also includes the normalization of blood flow and other body fluids. Western medicine has yet to acknowledge acupuncture as a valid scientific treatment. However, recent research involving the use of neuro-imaging technology revealed that acupuncture does influence brain activities. Aside from the use of needles, other pain killers and muscle relaxants have also been used for many years. Some pain relief medications come in cream and ointment form. Pain-relieving ointments and creams are easily absorbed through the skin above the painful body part. There are also tablets and pills for pain relief that are now readily available in the market. Whether one chooses Western medical pain alleviation methods such as the use of a pain killer; or if you prefer alternative techniques like Chinese acupuncture --- various ways and means to eliminate back pain will continue to be in high demand. As long as humans remain mortal, back pain --- and back pain relief products will form part of our every day life.