backpain santa cruz 01

Acupuncture treats most forms of back and neck pain. Let's start with a review of back pain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture treats both the “symptom and the root” of back pain.

This means that the pain symptoms are relieved while the root cause of the pain heals. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and pain associated with disc protrusions, compression fractures, misalignments, nerve impingements, sciatica, arthritis and more. Simultaneously, acupuncture restores normal parasympathetic nerve impulses to the affected regions such that the body is capable of producing the normal chemistry required for the healing of internal tissues and nerve fibers via the endocrine system. The National Institutes of Health confirms this success in an important US government report (NIH Consensus Statement, v15, #5, 1997; p19).

For many years, my patients have enjoyed relief from pain, a reduction of inflammation and better spinal health as a result of the acupuncture treatments that I provide at my Captiola Acupuncture office. The acupuncture gently calms the nerve roots and trunks associated with sciatica, disc disorders and spinal problems. This means better sleep, improved walking and enjoying the lifestyle activities that we have grown accustomed to.

I have great success in the treatment of L5/S1 IVF encroachment. Essentially, there is not enough room for the nerves to exit the spinal region due to compression and narrowing of the opening at the spinal column. Common causes include disc compression with protrusions and herniations, spinal curve issues, and poor circulation of the tissues in the lower back. Patients often have lower back pain and numbness and this may radiate to the legs. It often causes sleeping complications and is exacerbated by sitting, standing, and long car rides. Acupuncture enhances micro-circulation to the spinal region which results in less inflammation, pain and numbness. Additionally, patients enjoy improved range of motion and strength.

Many of my patients reduce or eliminate the use of pain medications while others are able to avoid the need for surgery. Some patients initially present with stubborn post-surgical back pain. While the surgery may have corrected the structural issue, post-surgical pain persists and is often not responsive to medication. Particularly in this type of presentation, my patients often enjoy a significant improvement in their condition. Most often a specialized form of electroacupuncture is required in this treatment protocol.

My goal is to eliminate the pain and assist patients in recovering their normal activities of daily living. From golfing to riding horses, my patients enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. Whether it is biking, surfing, gardening, hiking, or tennis- the treatment focuses on eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and strength, and improving resilience. If you suffer from back pain, acupuncture has an important role in your recovery process. For over 15 years, I have employed every tool available to achieve optimum results for my patients including microacupuncture, electroacupuncture, auricularacupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and more.


Low Back Pain | Sciatica | 'Slipped' Discs | Nerve Pain

The acupuncture track record of success in the treatment of low back pain is over 1,000 years long! Acupuncture as a successful treatment for low back pain is now confirmed by numerous studies including a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH Consensus S., v15, #5, 1997; p19, 1997).

Acupuncture for low back pain treats:

  • Arthritis
  • Injuries
  • Kidney disorders
  • Disc protrusions and herniations
  • Compression fractures
  • Spine and hip misalignment disorders
  • Muscle strain
  • Menstrual cycle imbalances

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are three major categories of low back pain:

1) Trauma causing Qi and blood stagnation
2) Deficiency of Qi (energy)
3) Invasion of pathogenic cold & damp


Often these types of low back pain combine. For example, a patient may injure the low back which then causes sensitivity to cold & dampness and weakness of the back. This is a combination of trauma, cold & damp, and deficiency of Qi (pronounced “chee”). In this example, acupuncture restores normal circulation, warms the local region to expel the cold & damp, and strengthens the vital energy of the low back. In another example, acupuncture enhances circulation of the low back and abdomen to stop low back pain related to the menstrual cycle. This nourishing and balancing treatment strengthens the vital energy of the body while enhancing circulation to the low back and abdomen. This process eliminates pain and irritability associated with Qi (energy) stagnation.

Acupuncture treats “pinched nerves” wherein pain & numbness of the low back often radiates towards the legs. Acupuncture stops the pain, reduces inflammation, and heals the injured nerve fibers by stimulating Qi and blood circulation to the affected region. This process of recovery helps my patients to regain their normal range of motion and is also used to treat the neck and mid back.

Many patients suffer from lumbar vertebrae number five intervertebral foramina (L5 IVF) encroachment. L5 IVF encroachment means that there is less space for the nerve fibers to travel from the spinal region to the lateral trunk and extremities. Acupuncture stimulates a healing response to reduce swelling by stimulating blood circulation. This creates a larger space through which the nerve fibers travel. In this way, pressure is released from the area and the nerves are able to begin the healing process. This allows patients to live without pain, reduce or eliminate the need for medication, sleep well, and restore a normal range of motion.

While surgical intervention is sometimes necessary, almost all of my patients are able to avoid the need for surgery with the help of acupuncture therapy. Post-surgical back pain patients also derive great benefit from acupuncture care. These patients have had surgical procedures to correct the disorder but continue to suffer from pain. They usually take strong pain medications to alleviate their suffering. Even in this difficult type of case, most of my patients enjoy a significant improvement in their condition. Often, I use a specialized form of electroacupuncture to help these patients recover from chronic pain and regain their normal lifestyles. It is very rewarding to help my patients recover from this cycle of pain. Many underwent several surgeries yet the pain continued. In this case, the patient and I both feel a sense of relief when the pain subsides!


Neck Pain

Acupuncture treats many forms of neck pain and numbness. Current research from the National Institutes of Health reports that acupuncture is successful in treating many forms of neck pain. One of the most common sources of neck pain is a pinched nerve. The nerve roots emerge from the spine and travel down the neck, shoulders, arms, and to the fingers. Patients often feel neck, shoulder, or upper back pain. Others experience symptoms such as numbness of the fingers or pain traveling down the arm. Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural responses to allow the nerve fiber to heal. The irritation of the nerve is removed and the symptoms disappear. Patients appreciate the relief from pain, numbness, and even weakness of the arm. Also, range of motion improves significantly. Patients are able to look from side to side and up & down with greater range of motion and comfort. More importantly, the nerve fiber heals and long-term nerve damage and arthritis is prevented.



acupuncture lotus

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are both ancient and modern. Scientific research confirms the efficacy of this time honored traditional medicine.