Q: Hi I have had back pain for nearly 5 years, after I had flu injection, that night I could not walk. I was sent to A E by my doctor. There I was given a pill and left to sleep. I was sent home in a wheel chair. My doctor requested a MRI. I had a small trapped nerve for which I now take more and more pills. I have had pain treatment which gave me 3-4 week free. this was nice, I was given a tens machine. On using this I had a pain down my spine to my feet. I collapsed it was like cramp. The doctor sent me to A E for a DVT and after 1 week of treatment it was not. It was a nerve problem. The last 8 weeks have been hard and the pain is worse. I am on a morphine based tablet with another bunch. The last MRI showed no damage to lower spine l-5 l-4 l-3. Is there any chance that acupuncture, could help me this time
A: Generally speaking the advice which we give to people suffering from back pain is straightforward. As our factsheet shows please click here
there is a considerable volume of research suggesting that acupuncture can help with chronic low back pain, such that NICE now make it one of the recommended options for treatment.
However, it seems as though something else has happened in your case, and the question which a practitioner would have to resolve would be how much the flu injection was causally connected to the sudden escalation of your problem, and if not, what else might have been going on which could have caused the pain and restriction of movement to have increased so much. Back pain is used as a generic term in both eastern and western medicine to cover an enormous variety of specific causes and types of pain. Just as the conventional doctors have tried to elicit by elimination what is causing your continuing problems a practitioner of Chinese medicine would want to try to establish how to classify your symptoms within the diagnostic patterns of Chinese medicine, and then make sense of how some of the interventions appear to have made things worse.
Your case has such specific factors that it is difficult to give unequivocal advice, but based on the recognised role of acupuncture in the treatment of low back pain we can say with confidence that it would be worth your while visiting a BAcC member local to you for them to be able to give you face to face assessment of whether they think that acupuncture will benefit you. Of concern, though, will be your reaction to TENS. Although these machines are much more vigorous than acupuncture treatment they often use similar areas of the body for treatment, and the practitioner will want to check whether your system has become hyper-sensitive to some forms of treatment, which can happen when pain becomes constant and debilitating.