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I have had back problems in the past and just recently, I am now experiencing pins and needles in both feet (heels, soles and toes) and also a kind of spasm in the top of my right leg. I have been to the osteopath but this has not worked, would acupu

This sounds rather like the effects of a prolapsed or bulging disc pressing on the nerves and causing these distal effects, and we have to say that acupuncture treatment has been used to good effect in treating both chronic lower back pain and in sciatica, as both of our factsheets show:

Although osteopaths focus mainly on the structure of the body, and might be able to adjust misalignments of the lower back, it can sometimes take a more functional treatment like acupuncture to achieve greater change by encouraging the musculature of the lower back to function more efficiently and hold the back in place after it has been adjusted. This is how we tend to explain the fact that back pain and its treatment remains one of the commonest reasons for referral to an acupuncture practitioner. Of course, this is to take a very conventional view of the symptoms which you have. From a Chinese medicine point of view it is a failure in the flow of energy which generates symptoms such as you are experiencing, and it is not unusual to find that patients with considerable arthritic degeneration of the lower spine can be relieved of their symptoms even where the lower back cannot possibly have changed, i.e. the 'obvious' cause of the problem isn't really the cause of the problem.What we always recommend is that you visit a local BAcC member so that they can take a look at exactly how your problem presents and see what might be possible for you. In Chinese medicine each person is unique and different, and treatment is geared not just to the symptom but to the overall balance of the person. It is not uncommon to find that some patterns of discomfort are manifestations of more complex underlying imbalances, and from our perspective the real strength of this system of medicine is that by addressing the whole person we believe that symptoms are more likely to stay gone and not to return.

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