Acupuncture + Massage for 'slipped' discs

by Rachael Forrest

New research has shown that the combination of acupuncture and skilled massage can heal lumbar disc herniation.

Having suffered from a herniated disc myself, I know how painful and debilitating a condition it can be, not only from the disc but from the referred pain to the sciatic nerve.

Nothing effects your quality of life more than back pain - at least, that's how it seems when you're in the middle of it.  Sciatica inhibits practically everything because of the nature of the pain which is sharp, 'catching' and can travel down to the sole of the foot.

Acupuncture to the lower back, as well as along the line of the sciatic nerve (the 'Gallbladder channel' in Chinese Medical theory), using gentle heat and some deep, releasing massage can work wonders to relieve muscle spasm and free the nerve.

Painkillers are also useful, often vital, to help you to relax and give some much-needed relief.  Physios and Bowen practitioners advise avoiding all seated positions - this helps a lot of people and easier than it sounds.  If you're desk-based it's more difficult but swapping to a pregnancy ball to sit on allows movement in your lower back and less pressure on the sciatic nerve.  Standing on the bus, at home while eating and doing some pilates (if the pain allows) are all beneficial.

Sometimes herniated discs take a long time to heal - it can be a process of many months - but using a combination of acupuncture and massage should help speed the process up.