Edinburgh Natural Health Centre Chinese Medicine
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


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back pain
Understanding pain - getting a good analysis of the type of pain suffered.




If you are planning to visit a practitioner of TCM, whether he or she be an acupuncturist or a herbalist, think about the problem you have and try to marshal your thoughts about it.

The following might help jog your thoughts - but they don't cover everything!

What is the feeling/discomfort/pain like? What sort of pain is it? How can you describe it better than just a 'pain'?

Think of all the different kinds of pain there are: boring, bruised, burning, burrowing, bursting, contracting, constricting, cord-like, cramping, crushing, cutting ….etc.!
Which matches the pain you experience?
Is the pain different in different places, or under different circumstances?
Where does it hurt?
Where does the pain come from, or go to?
What causes the pain?
What makes the pain worse and what makes it better? For example, is it better (or worse) for warmth/cold, being outside/inside, being massaged gently/firmly, rest/exercise, air that is fresh, warm, cold, inside, outside…etc?
What circumstances, (eg the weather, the time of day, what you are doing, who you are with, what you have been thinking or talking about, what you have been feeling, after or before food/drink, menses, Monday morning, Friday evening…. etc) seem to correlate with the onset or duration of the pain?
When you have the pain, how does that affect what you feel like doing?
What else hurts or bothers you when you are in pain?
Is there any unpleasant sensation you feel when you don't have the pain: what alternates with the pain?
After having the pain for a while, what happens - to it, and to you?
What do you want to do when in pain?
How does it affect your appetite, sleep, digestion, bowels, urination, circulation and so on?
When did it start?
What were the circumstances surrounding the onset?
Is there any other kind of discomfort that you have?
What other illnesses or problems have you had, recently and in the past?
What medication do you take? What supplements?
Is there anything you have learned to do, (eg special exercises or diet habits), but for which the pain, or another pain, would occur, or be worse?
What other treatments or interventions have you had that have been effective, ineffective, or partially effective, or after which things changed for the worse or the better?
Who else that you know, or are related to, who has had something similar?
What about the health of your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents? If any of these have died, what was their health like during their lives, and what caused death?

Self-Help with QiGong
If would like to learn QiGong from an experienced teacher in Edinburgh, click on this link: http://www.shaolinfoundations.com/chi-kung/. (Note, this opens in a new window.)

Reading List
Helping Ourselves - A Guide to Chinese Food Energetics by Daverick Leggett
The Web That Has No Weaver - Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted Kaptchuk
Dragon Rises, Red Bird Flies: Psychology, Energy and Chinese Medicine by Leo Hammer
The 5 Laws for Healthy Living by Angela Hicks
Acupuncture in Practice: Case History Insights From the West edited by Hugh MacPherson and Ted Kaptchuk

Further Study and Educational courses
If you wish to consider training as an acupuncturist or herbalist, the nearest good centre is in York: the Northern College of Acupuncture, 61 Micklegate, York YO1 6LJ.
Tel. 01904-343305.
Website http://www.chinese-medicine.co.uk. (Note, this opens in a new window.)