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Tui Na which means to “push and grasp” is a medical treatment related to acupuncture and is a division of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It ranks equally with acupuncture, herbal medicine and Qigong.

Tui Na dates back over 5,000 years making it one of the oldest hands-on systems of therapy in the world and recorded over 2,300 years ago in the Yellow Emporor’s Classics of Internal Medicine. It is one of the three main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine together with acupuncture and herbs.

Back Pain

It is a complete healing system based on the underlying principles of energy balance and flow through the system of energy channels called meridians.

The government of the Peoples’ Republic of China provide hospitals of traditional medicine in every city, town and village in the country and consider it as having the same status as Western medicine. Tui Na is available everywhere and one fifth of the world’s population can make recourse to it for maintenance of health and control of chronic pain.

In hospitals that incorporate both Western and Chinese medicine, acupuncture and Tui Na are treatments of choice for a variety of musculo-skeletal conditions. Here are some conditions that are commonly treated with Tui Na.

Trapped Nerve or Sciatica

A “trapped” nerve is usually a diagnosis given when there is tingling, pins and needles and pain or numbness in an area of the body. Nerves can get “ trapped”, or irritated, for a variety of reasons. Often, particularly when the onset is quite sudden, they can be due to muscle spasms, for example the piriformis muscle in the buttock can cause sciatica (pain down the leg), or muscles in the neck and shoulder can cause numbness and tingling down the arm.

If this is the case, A combination of acupuncture and Tui Na can be very effective at relaxing the affected muscle areas and therefore relieving the nerves. Often, significant relief can be felt after a single session, although several treatments may be necessary for a lasting effect.

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the conditions that people often come to see an traditional Chinese physical therapist for. Studies have shown that a combination of acupuncture and Tui Na are effective treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, and it can be used similarly for arthritis in other joints, like the hip or neck.

Arthritis is often caused by wear and tear of a joint. Although acupuncture therapy will not rebuild the affected tissues, it can help to reduce pain, increase blood flow and regulate muscle tone around the joint, which will in the long run help to slow down the process and aid the body in rebuilding damaged tissues and connections. Many people find that after a course of about 6 treatments, they get significant relief that may last for several months. Acupuncture therapy has no side-effects, therefore treatment courses may be repeated as necessary.

Slipped Disc / Disc Herniation

A slipped disc is a painful condition causing symptoms where it occurs (usually the lower back, but possibly also the neck) and other affected areas (eg sciatica down the leg). As far as possible, it is important to carry on moving gently, though without extreme movements or lifting anything heavy.

For severe slipped discs, conventional treatment may be necessary, but for mild to moderate cases acupuncture therapy and Tui Na may provide significant relief and help the disc to resorb, considerably decreasing the time it takes to heal.

I have been offered steroid injections. Do you have any advice?

Steroid injections are a very effective way of locally reducing inflammation and pain within a short period of time. They are often recommended for painful conditions of individual joints. If you are considering having this procedure, we recommend you get full information beforehand on what it entails. In particular, you might want to check with your doctor/consultant:

  • how long they expect the effect to last.
  • how often the steroid injection can be repeated for you.
  • why the number of injections is so limited.

If you are unhappy about the answers to these questions, it might be worth delaying the injections and trying acupuncture therapy and Tui Na first, as these can also be very effective at reducing inflammation and promoting the healing processes of the body.

Alternatively, if you decide to go ahead, having an acupuncture/Tui Na treatment in the few days following the steroid injections may help to increase their effect – this is commonly done in Chinese hospitals.

Lower Back Pain Infographic

Lower Back Pain Infographic

What treatments do we offer?

To find out more about the therapies mentioned above that are offered by us, visit the following pages:

 

Traditional Chinese Therapy for Back Pain
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