Acupuncture works on the principle of moving Qi and blood using needles, to stimulate areas that are particularly congested. During an acupuncture treatment the most painful areas often correspond to certain acupuncture channels which can be stimulated to effect the movement of qi and blood away from the area. Acupuncture works very well and the results are often immediate.
Chinese medicine views back pain very differently from other therapies. Back pain is often seen as stagnation of qi (energy) and blood in the local area. Treatment is then based on moving qi and blood through the channels to ensure that free flow is maintained.
In combination with this, external pathogenic factors can invade into the area. For example, many patients present with a back that is stiff and feels cold, the pain is worse when they go outside in the cold, damp weather and is improved when they put a hot water bottle on it. This provides a diagnosis of cold, damp in the channels which the acupuncturist then tries to clear. For other patients, a hot water bottle aggravates the pain and so a completely different diagnosis and treatment principle is made.
So in the treatment of back pain, the type of pain (whether it is dull or sharp), the time of day it occurs and what soothes or aggravates it are all of diagnostic importance. This then leads to dealing with the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms.
Back pain is predominantly treated with acupuncture, although herbal medicine may be used in certain situations. This may be combined with the use of heat lamps, Chinese massage or electro-acupuncture to achieve the best results.