Yenching Julie Hung, a Board Certified Fellow Specialist in Oriental Reproductive Medicine, specializes in IVF/IUI Support, Infertility Treatment, Fertility Enhancement, Reproductive Health, Women’s Health, Migraine, Sciatica, and Pain Healing. Julie Hung, a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), provides Acupuncture therapy and oriental reproductive herbal medicine to help natural conception and boost IVF success rate in the Sunnyvale, San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Cupertino, Los Altos, Campbell, San Mateo, Foster City, Portola Valley, San  Ramon, Pleasanton, Los Gatos, and Silicon Valley San Francisco Bay area.

Back pain ranks second only to headaches as the most frequent pain location.  About 80% persons experience at least one bout of back pain in their life.  Back pain can occur for no apparent reason and at any point on the spine.  The most common site for pain is the lower back because it bears the most weight and stress.  More than 65 million Americans experience low back pain every year.


Spinal degeneration: The sufferer may experience stiffness in the back upon awakening or feel pain after walking or standing for a long time.
Muscle spasms, cramping, and stiffness: This pain commonly occurs in the back and buttocks in episodes.  The pain may develop quickly or over a longer period of time.  This pain is aggravated by weight-bearing or specific movements and is relieved by rest.
Arthritis of the spine: The pain and stiffness which are worse in the back and hip region.  Arthritis pain starts gradually, gets worse over time, and lasts longer than 3 to 6 months.  It is generally worse after a long period of inactivity.  Symptoms due to arthritis and those caused by back injury are often similar and occur together.
Nerve-root pressure problems: The patient usually feels tingling, numbness, or weakness in one leg or in the foot, lower leg, or both legs.  Tingling may begin in the buttock and extend to the ankle or foot.
Sciatica: The pain starts in the buttock and travels down the back of the leg as far as the ankle or foot.  
Cauda equina syndrome: Weakness or numbness in both legs, along with loss of bladder and/or bowel control.  A person with this symptom needs medical inspection immediately.
Diseases that affect the spine: Compression fracture, tumor, or infection on the spine.


The most common causes of low back pain are:

Obesity or weight gain during pregnancy: Overweight, especially around the waist, puts more stress on the back muscles.
Injury: The injury of muscles, ligaments, joints, and discs.
Overuse and Muscle Strain.
Pressure on nerve roots in the spinal canal.
Herniated disc (ruptured disc): As discs degenerate and weaken, cartilage can bulge or be pushed into the space containing the spinal cord or a nerve root, causing pain.  This condition often brought on by repeated vibration or motion, or by a sudden heavy strain or increased pressure to the lower back.
Sciatica: This condition often occurs when a herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg.  This compression causes sharp, shooting pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee, occasionally reaching the foot.  This condition may also be caused by a tumor, cyst, metastatic disease, or sciatic nerve root degeneration.
Osteoarthritis:  Osteoarthritis is a joint degeneration, which typically develops with age.  When osteoarthritis affects the small facet joints in the spine, it can lead to back pain.
Infection and Inflammation: The inflammation in the lower back area includes spondylitis, a severe infection to or inflammation of the spinal joints; osteomyelitis, infection in the bones of the spine; and sacroiliitis, inflammation in the sacroiliac joints.
Spinal stenosis:  Spinal stenosis may either develop with age for the narrowing of the spinal canal, or relate to congenital narrowing of the bony canal.
Spinal degeneration:  Spinal degeneration from disc wear and tear can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal.
Fractures of the vertebrae: The serious injuries caused by significant force, such as accident, a direct blow to the spine, or compressing the spine by falling onto the buttocks or head.
Spinal deformities:  The curvature problems include scoliosis, a curving of the spine to the side; kyphosis, in which the normal curve of the upper back is severely rounded; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; back extension, a bending backward of the spine; and back flexion, in which the spine bends forward.
Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis, a metabolic bone disease, marked by gradually decrease in bone density and strength.  Fracture of brittle, porous bones in the spine and hips results when the body fails to produce new bone.
Compression fractures:  A compression fracture occurs when a weakened vertebra may fracture or collapse because of a minor injury or osteoporosis.
Fibromyalgia:  Fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder, is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple “tender points,” particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips.  The symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, and anxiety.
Cauda equina syndrome:  The serious neurological problem occurs when disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots, which causes weakness in the legs numbness in the groin area, and loss of bowel or bladder control.  Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.
Cancer in the spine: A tumor on the spine may press on nerve roots causing back pain.
Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and increases the sensitivity to pain.  Smoking decreases blood flow by tightening the arteries; in addition, smoking also diminishes oxygen levels the red blood cells can carry, which reduces the nutrition to the spinal tissues.  Decreased circulation may increase the speed of degeneration or slow the healing of the discs.


Lift an object and bend properly: Bend at your knees, not at your waist and use your leg muscles.  Stand as close to the object as possible.  Spread your feet apart to give a wide base of support.  Avoid bending forward or twisting while you are lifting the object up or carrying it.
Exercise: The benefits of exercise include improving your posture and flexibility, losing weight, strengthening your back.  Stretching training, strength training, and aerobic activity (such as walking, swimming, and stationary cycling) can help reduce the recurrence of low back pain.
Sitting posture: When sitting for computer work, make sure the chair has a straight back with adjustable seat and back, arm rests, and a swivel base.  Use a stool or a foot rest under your feet so that your knees and hips are roughly the same level.  While driving a long distance, place a small pillow or a rolled-up towel if extra back support is needed.  Remember to stop and walk around as well as stretch frequently
Standing posture: When you stand, your ears, shoulders, hips, and knees should be in line with one another.  Avoid standing for long periods of time; if it’s necessary for the work, try using a stool or alternately resting each foot on it.
Shoes: Diminish wearing high heels and use cushioned soles when walking.
Relax: Learn managing the stress in your life.
Lose weight: Maintain a healthy weight to avoid excess stress on the low back muscles.
Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and the sensitivity to pain.  Smoking decreases blood circulation and diminishes oxygen levels and nutrition to the spinal discs.  Decreased circulation may increase the speed of degeneration or slow the healing of the discs.
Eat a nutritious diet: Getting plenty of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis.


Acupuncture increases the blood circulation and the oxygen levels the red blood cells can carry.  The enhanced blood flow brings more nutrition to nourish the stagnant muscles and tissues.  In addition, Acupuncture may enhance the flow of energy, stimulate the peripheral nervous system, and relieve the inflammation.

In the past few years, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO) released several statements to reconfirm the efficacy of Acupuncture in relieving pains, including back pain, low-back pain, and sciatica.

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Low Back Pain