Back Pain

Health Issues/Symptoms Connections

"Back Pain" Issue / Symptom Connections

Below you will find various relationships to, and potential clinical treatment approaches for back pain.

It is critical to appreciate that in Chinese Medicine, treatment for "back pain" is rarely focused on the symptoms exclusively. Alternatively, a practitioner is looking at the factors that led to the development of "back pain" - i.e. the "cause(s)".

For non-practitioners, we recommend reading treating the "cause" and not the "symptoms" for more on the overall approach and the importance of the TCM diagnostic system in formulating treatment approaches.

Related Acupuncture Protocols

When developing an acupuncture protocol a practitioner is very often focusing on the causal diagnoses in Chinese Medicine terms, not on the condition itself. To illustrate and guide developing an acupuncture treatment for someone experiencing back pain, this issue is referenced in the following acupuncture protocol section:

Some acupuncture points are considered "empirically" related to a specific condition or diagnostic pattern. While this would rarely, if ever, dictate the entire composition of a treatment, the following points should be considered, possibly even more so within the context of acupressure:

  • View EX Huatuojiaji at L4 (Sides of Spine at L4)

        .5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous processes of L4

        L4 innervates the large intestine and is used for a range of colon issues, distention, diarrrhea, constipation, crohn's, IBS and more.  Also useful for low back and/or sciatic pain, weakness in the lower extremities, etc.  Collections of d…
  • View EX Huatuojiaji at L5 (Sides of Spine at L5)

        .5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous processes of L5

        L5 innervates the descending colon and is used for the entire range of bowel issues, hemorrhoids, constipation, IBS, diarrhea, etc.  The huatuo at L1 or L2, however, is often the area that is blocked with this range of issues.  This area m…
  • View EX Huatuojiaji at S1 (Sides of Spine at S1)

        In the area around the 1st sacral foramen, UB 31

        S1 influences the ureter and is used along with S2 and S3 for a range of menstrual issues, fertility issues, PMS, etc.  May be useful for low back pain. Used  extensively within the Tam Healing System and Tong Ren Therapy. May be needled …
  • View KD 3 (Great Ravine)

        In depression midway between the tip of the medial malleolus and the attachment of the achilles tendon.

        Tonify KD Qi, Yin or Yang Deficiencies from any etiology. Asthma from KD Deficiency - difficulty inhaling. Tonifies Yin of KD (chronic sore throat, empty heat), LV (dizziness, tinnitus, headache) a/or HT (anxiety, insomnia, excessive dre…
  • View KD 4 (Large Goblet)

        Posterior and inferior to the medial malleolus in a depression anterior to the medial attachment of the achilles tendon.

        Luo Connecting Point - can be used to treat the LI (opposite the chinese clock). Important point for somnolence, fright/fear, palpitations, reluctance to interact with others. Cough, asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath, painful/sore th…
  • View KD 7 (Recover Flow)

        2 cun above KD 3 on the anterior border of the achilles tendon.

        Tonifies KD Yang, especially with respect to water regulation - sweating (too much or too little, spontaneous), swellings, urinary issues. Oedema, especially chronic effecting the abdomen a/or lower legs. Five types of Lin Disorder - res…
  • View LU 5 (Cubit Marsh)

        At the cubital crease on the radial side of the biceps brachii tendon.

        He Sea Point - useful for counterflow Qi/diarrhea, hot skin conditions, phlegm-heat excess. Acute/Chronic or Exterior/Interior Conditions. Upper body edema, enuresis. Local point for the elbow - tendonitis, tennis elbow. Classically no…
  • View ST 9 (Man's Prognosis)

        Level with the tip of the Adam's Apple on the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoideus muscle (where the pulse of …

        In ancient times the ST Qi was assessed by palpating the pulse here and at ST 42. Regulation of Blood Pressure - lowering high blood pressure. Headache, dizziness. Sore throat, counterflow qi (vomiting), coughing, hiccups. Acute lumbar…
  • View ST 31 (Thigh Joint)

        On 2 lines connecting the ASIS and the superiolateral corner of the patella and level with the lower border of symphysi…

        ST 31, ST 32 & ST 33 are all useful for Bi-Syndromes a/or Wei Syndromes (flaccidity or weakness) of the lower legs. Pain in the thigh, muscular atrophy/weakness, knee pain, low back pain.
  • View ST 32 (Crouching Rabbit)

        6 cun above the superior lateral border of the patella on the line connecting with the ASIS.

        ST 31, ST 32 & ST 33 are all useful for Bi-Syndromes a/or Wei Syndromes (flaccidity or weakness) of the lower legs. Muscular atrophy of the lower leg, thigh, knee pain, low back pain. Beriberi (thiamine, B1 deficiency).
  • View UB 10 (Celestial Pillar)

        1.3 cun lateral to GV 15 in a depression or .5 cun above the PHL and 1.3 cun lateral to the PML on the lateral aspect o…

        Relieves pain - neck issues, stiffness, ROM, occipital headache. For stiffness on one-side of the neck combine with SI 3 on the same side & GB 39 on the opposite side.  Upper back pain and/or shoulder pain. Clears wind and relieves ex…
  • View UB 24 (Sea of Qi Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV line, level with L3.

        Generally used as a local point for back pain.  General weakness in the low back and/or knees. Due to the qi moving functions in the area, may be used with hemorrhoids, dysmehorrhea and other discharges such as leukorrhea, blood stools, e…
  • View UB 25 (Large Intestine Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV 3, level with L4.

        Main point for low back pain especially when related to constipation a/or menstruation. Combine with local points such as GV 3, UB 26, Shiqizhui (between L5 and S1), UB 31, UB 32, GB 30 & distal points such as GB 34, GB 39, GB 41, UB 4…
  • View UB 26 (Origin Pass Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV line, level with L5.

        Local point for clearing the channel - low back pain, both as a local point and from wind invasion (possibly with UB 28). Dissipates cold in the lower warmer - abdominal pain, bowel issues, abdominal masses. Possibly useful for a range o…
  • View UB 28 (Bladder Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to GV line, level with 2nd PSF.

        Main point for all Bladder issues: from damp heat (painful a/or dark urination), from cold (frequent urination, incontinence). For damp-heat anywhere in the body, combine with SP 9 to expel dampness through urination - diarrhea, constipat…
  • View UB 29 (Central Backbone Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to the GV line, level with the 3rd PSF.

        Generally a local point for back pain and/or stiffness, hernia. Warms the kidney yang - wasting and thirsting, lack of sweating.
  • View UB 30 (White Ring Shu)

        1.5 cun lateral to the GV line, level with the 4th PSF.

        Local point for low back, sacrum, tailbone and/or hip pain.  Also used for hernia. Secondary point for kidney related gynecological disorders: menstrual problems, leukorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis.
  • View UB 31 (Upper Bone Hole)

        On the sacrum at the midpoint of the PSIS and the PML, level with the 1st PSF.

        UB 31, UB 32, UB 33 & UB 34 together form the "Eight Liao" points and are all useful for local low back a/or sacrum problems and most genital and urinary related disorders. Of these UB 32 is most often used clinically. As it quickens …
  • View UB 32 (Second Bone Hole)

        On the sacrum medial and inferior to the PSIS, level with the 2nd PSF.

        UB 31, UB 32, UB 33 & UB 34 together form the "Eight Liao" points and are all useful for local low back a/or sacrum problems and most genital and urinary related disorders. Of these this point, UB 32, is most often used clinically.  Sc…
  • View UB 33 (Central Bone Hole)

        On the sacrum medial and inferior to UB 32, level with the 3rd PSF.

        UB 31, UB 32, UB 33 & UB 34 together form the "Eight Liao" points and are all useful for local low back a/or sacrum problems and most genital and urinary related disorders. Of these UB 32 is most often used clinically. In women may be…
  • View UB 34 (Lower Bone Hole)

        On the sarcum lateral to GV 2, level with the 4th PSF.

        UB 31, UB 32, UB 33 & UB 34 together form the "Eight Liao" points and are all useful for local low back a/or sacrum problems and most genital and urinary related disorders. Of these UB 32 is most often used clinically. Useful for cons…
  • View UB 36 (Support)

        On posterior side of the thigh at the midpoint of the inferior gluteal crease (locate in prone position).

        Low back pain/sciatica where pain runs down the posterior aspect of the leg. Weakness of the lower limb. Similar functions to UB 35 in clearing damp heat and swellings from the lower warmer - genital pain and swelling, hemorrhoids, semin…
  • View UB 37 (Gate of Abundance)

        6 cun below UB 36 on a line joining UB 36 and UB 40.

        Strenghtens the spine and alleviates pain - low back pain, sciatic pain, local hamstring, thigh, leg pain. Also used for watery diarrhea.
  • View UB 39 (Bend Yang)

        Lateral to UB 40 on the medial border of the tendon of biceps femoris.

        Harmonize the triple warmer, damp heat conditions effecting the lower warmer: disperse for difficult urination, tonify for urinary incontinence. Frees the channel - lumbar pain, lower intestinal distention, hemorrhoids. Swellings in the …
  • View UB 40 (Bend Middle)

        Midpoint of the transverse crease of the popliteal fossa, between the tendons of biceps femoris and semitendinosis.

        As the Lumbar Command Point, useful for all lumbar related issues: acute low back pain, sprain, muscle spasms, etc. Main point for heat conditions such as summer heat, heatstroke and heat exhaustion.  Nightsweats in some cases from defici…

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