Many people today, even younger ones, suffer from lower back pain. It has become a common condition, especially for people over the age of 40, who are most prone to suffer from it. In fact, it is safe to assume that 80 percent of the world’s population is expected to suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, with the lower back being the most common area of pain.
Some of the main reasons people get lower back pain are poor posture, overworking, aging, and illness. If you have simple lower back pain, it can be relieved within a few hours or days. If it has become chronicle and the pathogenic qi has moved to a deeper layer, it may take longer to find relief. If you do not take good care of yourself the issue can worsen. This article will introduce some basic acupuncture points that you can massage, to find some relief from lower back pain.
According to Dr. Deng Zhengliang, Dean of the Zide Chinese Medicine Clinic in Taiwan, there are five major acupoints that are suitable for relieving pain and strengthening the waist. These points also have the effect of warming the kidneys, promoting blood circulation, and improving one’s overall physical condition.
Mingmen point (GV4/Gate of life), 一、命门穴
Frequently massaging the Mingmen point (Gate of Life) can have a warming effect on the kidneys and in return benefit the health of the waist and the spine. The Mingmen point is located on the center line of the spine, just behind the navel, where there is a slight depression. The Mingmen point is one of the Governing Vessel (Du Mai) points and is located on the same level as BL23/BL52 right below the spinous process. Mingmen is regarded as being a major point for improving yang, especially kidney yang.
Shenshu points (BL23), 二、肾俞穴
These points are located 1.5 cm left and right of the back midline or Governing Vessel (GV) /Du meridian. As an orientation, the Shenshu points are located on the same line as the Mingmen point (GV4). The Shenshu point strengthens the kidneys and regulates the lower burner, benefiting the bones and the marrow because it also benefits the “essence” (jing).
Yao Yang Guan point (GV3/ Lumbar Yang Gate), 三、腰阳关穴
This point is located on the midline, below the spinous process of the 4th lumbar vertebra (L4). Because it dispels wind, cold, and dampness, it is very well suited for the treatment of lower back pain.
Yaoyan points (EX-B-7), 四、腰眼穴
This point is located just below the GV3 and its opposite, on the level of the lower vertical line of the 4th lumbar vertebra (L4). Aside from opening the channel locally, these points will also tonify the kidneys.
Weizhong points (BL40), 五、委中穴
Weizhong, or BL40, is located in the center of the popliteal crease, between the tendons of the biceps femoris and the semitendinosus muscle of the leg, the center upper part of the calf. Working this point benefits the lower back and knees. It also opens the channel and “Luo vessels” and alleviates pain.
Almost all of the points recommended above benefit the kidney qi in some way. This is because part of TCM’s definition of back pain is related to a deficiency in kidney yin or kidney yang, which can have negative effects on the flow of qi and the accumulation of pathogens on the posterior of the body, leading to weakness, stiffness, and/or pain in the lower back area.
If the kidneys suffer a deficiency of yin or yang qi, they become prone to invasions by pathogens like wind cold, which can be accompanied by symptoms such as feeling cold, having a tight sensation in the lower back, or needing to urinate frequently.
Massaging the above-mentioned points can bring relief to certain forms of back pain, even though they are not located locally where the pain originates, because they therapeutically address some of the root issues that cause lower back pain.