Hello, how’s it going? This is Carlo St. Juste, a licensed acupuncturist and holistic healthcare provider. How are you doing today? I can speak without my mask on because I’m the only one here today. Okay, I can tell I haven’t shaved in a while on a couple of things. Hey, I call this the pandemic look, right? Just letting it go.
Hi, how are you doing today? I just wanted to talk briefly about the lumbar region and why it’s important. There are many Americans, many people worldwide who suffer from back pain. The statistics I last researched show that 4 out of 5 Americans will experience some type of low back pain within their lifetime. So, it affects many of us. And what do we think when we have low back pain or pain in that lumbar region? We think, “I’m getting old.”
So, part of my job, part of our duty as acupuncturists and as healthcare providers is to help differentiate what’s going on with the lumbar region and provide treatment. In traditional Chinese medicine, the lumbar region is important because we call it the “gate of vitality.” Certain organs energetically reside in that region, and certain signs and symptoms will present themselves in the pathology, not just in lumbar pain, but in traditional Chinese medicine, the weakness in that area will manifest in other areas of the body. There are a lot of similarities. It could be related to urinary function, bowel movement, or anything dealing with the lower extremities. So, the lumbar region is important because we often sit down, especially in this society. Many people are working 40 hours a week, 50 hours a week, sitting at a desk, sitting at home typing away, or whatever you’re doing, and putting compression on the back and those muscles. Not only the lumbar, but also the thoracic and all that. But the lumbar takes the brunt of the weight.
From the research and just from what I see clinically, the lumbar vertebral bodies and the vertebrae most affected are L4, L5, S1. You’ll see a lot of what they call spondylolisthesis, which is the slipping of the disc, or spondylosis, which is arthritis or damage. You might also see some desiccation of the disc or whatever the case may be. Imaging is great, especially as an acupuncturist, despite what some might think about energy medicine not having contemporary scientific tools. That’s not true. We value that information and it helps us to see what’s going on.
So, we have our lumbar region, an area that can be injured. It’s not just the muscles or the vertebrae. It can also affect the nerves, causing issues in the lower extremities—feet, thighs, calves. It can manifest as burning sensations, pain, numbness, or any kind of neuropathy. It’s important to take a look at what’s going on. It’s important to know your anatomy because no matter what’s happening, we want to get back to how our body normally operates. That’s why knowing anatomy, physiology, and traditional Chinese medicine is crucial. Understanding where the meridians are blocked and asking ourselves questions about the nature of the imbalance—yin and yang, hot and cold, interior and exterior—we can go from there.
There are many different avenues we can take in terms of treatment and diagnosis. What I have found and enjoy working with are first-time patients and those who want to prevent back surgery. A common question I receive is whether acupuncture can help, and my answer for most patients is definitely, if timely. Some patients are so advanced in their disease that acupuncture serves more as an adjunct, aiding in post-surgical recovery. That’s why prevention is worth more. If you take care of things early, you might prevent the need for surgery or invasive procedures.
I’m here to encourage patients and educate them about their treatment options. There are practitioners and providers who are knowledgeable, empathetic, professional, and willing to help. Hopefully, with this video, I can contribute to that process, spread the word, and share some knowledge. If you haven’t already, please hit the like button as that helps YouTube show this video to more people. Otherwise, it might just stay hidden in the background. I appreciate it. You can also visit csjacupuncture.com for more information and to find my clinic locations in Burbank and South Pasadena here in California. Thank you very much, stay safe, and I’ll see you soon.