Case Study Series

Back Pain

Back pain is probably the condition we see most often in clinic. One of the first things we assess is whether the condition is primarily ‘full’ or ‘deficient’. Full conditions are usually a result of injury, cold or stagnation. Deficient conditions are caused by weakness or lack of flow to an area. Often the picture is mixed – there’s an area of stagnation in one place which causes somewhere else to become deficient. One reason back pain often keeps returning is because the fullness is resolved, but the underlying deficiency isn’t. Because of this weakness, the back is easily re-injured and the fullness returns.

diagram showing areas of back pain, leg pain and foot pain to be treated with acupuncture

Case Study


Male (36). Had suffered with back pain for years, which may have originated while cutting firewood outdoors in the winter. He also works a physical job standing most of the time. Occasionally the back would go into spasm. The kidney area felt cold, there was tightness down the back and pins and needles from the buttock to the back of the knee and in the foot. He was unable to do hard physical work without the back locking up and causing pain.


Treatment over 5 sessions included: Tui Na massage and acupuncture on the back and leg to move stagnation and improve circulation. Cupping to release tightness and improve flow in the back muscles. Warming massage and moxa on the low back to strengthen and warm the cold area. I also recommended some exercises to improve flexibility and strength in the back.


There was significant pain relief after the first session, which returned a few days later further up the back, but sciatic-type pins and needles didn’t return. After the 2nd and 3rd treatment, pain eased but would return when working long hours. After the 4th and 5th session, the pain was gone, the low back felt warmer and even long plane journeys and hard physical work didn’t cause a problem.

“I am so grateful for the treatment I received which has been very successful. I was in a great deal of pain and had tried everything under the sun to stop it, finally turning to Richard. His professional approach and obvious knowledge put my mind at rest immediately and his positive attitude to my problem was a major force in my rehabilitation. I would have no hesitation in recommending him.”

– Christopher J.

“I had pain in my lower back caused by repetitive lifting of heavy loads whilst doing my job. This also caused walking and standing to be painful and produced constipation.

Previously my wife had used acupuncture for pain relief caused by a slipped spinal disc with amazing results so I was confident to try acupuncture myself.

After 6 appointments of acupuncture and massage my symptoms had greatly reduced. Richard is very professional, patient and explained his procedures in an understandable way so no nasty surprises!!

I now have no pain in back, walk more confidently and back to normal for digestion… I am now able to continue lifting heavy items at work without problems.”

– Russell J.