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Universal

HELP: Upper Back Pain

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Hi Fellow Bums,

 

I've been reading forum posts here for a few years. Never contributed much because I don't know much. Does anyone have any TCM related knowledge on upper back pain?

 

A little background: I've been practicing retention (most of the time) for the past few years. I've been exercising daily (except for the past month) for years as well. Every so often (once or twice per year) I get a mild upper back/shoulder injury that keeps me out of the gym for a few weeks.

 

This injury happened to me a couple of months ago, and now it keeps coming back. Due to a confluence of factors 1) A couple months back, completely out of the blue, I started to have a nocturnal emissions every two weeks or so. Had about four in total. In response I stopped taking zinc supplements and am pretty much blocking out anything that will arouse me sexually. The emissions appear to have stopped. 2) I recently got promoted which has resulted in an increased level of stress 3) About a month ago I had prolonged intercourse with a woman and did not ejaculate. She also sent me lots of sexual text messages causing heighten arousal. After doing this once before we planned on having intercourse and then abruptly canceling at the last minute, I discontinued relationship (there were other reason as well...), because I wanted to avoid arousal that could lead to a nocturnal emission.

 

Here is where I am now: some days my work out injury feels like it completely healed, but then returns a day later. I have severe tension in my upper back, mostly while sitting and reading from my ipad - which is what I do most of the time. I believe this tension is preventing my injury from healing fully and my inability to exercise is preventing me from releasing the tension. A viscous cirlce...

 

The other day I spent a good amount of money on an office chair for home which has helped somewhat. Although as I type this the tension is pretty bad again. I'm also working on getting an appointment with an orthopedic MD. Last night I masturbated for the first time in 4 months. The ejaculation came quickly, but seemed to be restrained. Should I continue to do this to release jing/tension? What about acupuncture? Are there any qigong movements I could do? My goal is to heal so I can get back to my exercise routine. When I have that going I am very balanced. I'm going to go for a walk soon.

 

Oh, one other thing. I cut down on meat over the last several months too. I'm thinking the lack of protein has also made my back more prone to injury. I read at a TCM site that beef strengthens the back too. I am now eating more meat.

 

What else can I do?

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I've been reading forum posts here for a few years. Never contributed much because I don't know much. Does anyone have any TCM related knowledge on upper back pain?

 

A little background: I've been practicing retention (most of the time) for the past few years. I've been exercising daily (except for the past month) for years as well. Every so often (once or twice per year) I get a mild upper back/shoulder injury that keeps me out of the gym for a few weeks.

 

This injury happened to me a couple of months ago, and now it keeps coming back.

What else can I do?

Before looking at esoteric energy problems and TCM solutions I suggest looking at the mundane. Look closely at what exercises you're doing. Maybe have an educated watch you do them and see your rep schedule. You may have a favorite exercise or system thats not good for you. Breaking your body down faster then your it rebuilds. That could be the cause of your vicious cycle. I'd start there first. People can get a little too hung up over retention issues. When things break down, slow down, take time to rejuvenate.

 

FWIW when I had bad back problems the lasting solution I found was to build up strength and flexibility.

Edited by thelerner

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do you feel like you are running from your sexuality or avoiding human contact?

Well, I generally have more energy and stamina when I refrain from ejaculating. But it seems to bring about other issues as well; anxiety. I would characterize it more as trying not to focus on sex. Very hard to do though of course.

 

Yes, I generally tend to avoid human contact. How did you know?

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Before looking at esoteric energy problems and TCM solutions I suggest looking at the mundane. Look closely at what exercises you're doing. Maybe have an educated watch you do them and see your rep schedule. You may have a favorite exercise or system thats not good for you. Breaking your body down faster then your it rebuilds. That could be the cause of your vicious cycle. I'd start there first. People can get a little too hung up over retention issues. When things break down, slow down, take time to rejuvenate.

 

FWIW when I had bad back problems the lasting solution I found was to build up strength and flexibility.

Very good point. The exercise that is getting me is the machine (or chest) press. Not sure if that's what its called. It's like a bench press motion, but you're sitting upright. It's all the gym at my apartment has for using a good amount of weight for a compound chest exercise. I read that it can lead to the kind of problem I'm experiencing. My plan it to start back up with push ups. Then see about dumbbell presses. Its a similar motion, but doesn't lock you into a rigid motion like the machine press which is what causes the injury.

 

However, and i should have been more clear about this in my original post, I don't think I'll be able to heal and do any exercises until I relieve the tension. I started to massage it earlier (thanks joeblast), and that helped a lot. I'm a little worried about seeing a massage therapist though, because they might rub the injured area the wrong way - making things worse. That's one of the reasons I'm going to check with a doctor first, to make sure massage won't do more harm than good. Some massage therapists require a doctors note if you have any injuries, issues, etc.

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This injury happened to me a couple of months ago, and now it keeps coming back. Due to a confluence of factors

1) A couple months back, completely out of the blue, I started to have a nocturnal emissions every two weeks or so. Had about four in total. In response I stopped taking zinc supplements and am pretty much blocking out anything that will arouse me sexually. The emissions appear to have stopped.

 

2) I recently got promoted which has resulted in an increased level of stress. About a month ago I had prolonged intercourse with a woman and did not ejaculate. She also sent me lots of sexual text messages causing heighten arousal. After doing this once before we planned on having intercourse and then abruptly canceling at the last minute, I discontinued relationship (there were other reason as well...), because I wanted to avoid arousal that could lead to a nocturnal emission.

 

Universal...

I would like to address your problems one at a time.

1. Based on your input, it seems that your injury had been recovered. Regarding to your nocturnal emissions, every two weeks seems normal. If that happens every other two days, that it would be a problem. You have indicated that you have been taken zinc supplements, is that an indication that you are having sexual malfunction problems....???

 

2. The stress from your promotion might have caused your sexual performance with a woman.

 

 

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Here is where I am now: some days my work out injury feels like it completely healed, but then returns a day later. I have severe tension in my upper back, mostly while sitting and reading from my ipad - which is what I do most of the time. I believe this tension is preventing my injury from healing fully and my inability to exercise is preventing me from releasing the tension. A viscous cirlce...

 

Universal.....

In regarding to your severe tension in the upper back, it seems to be an occupational hazard which causing the tension from your sitting in a fixed position reading your ipad. I believe that the tension and healing are two separate issues. I believe that the tension was mainly from your constant sitting position rather than from your injury. Furthermore, typing make it worse. The reason I said that is because my wife was a data entry operator. She had the same problems as you had described. As a matter of fact, it happened to her last night after reading her email from the computer. She had tension and pain in her upper back and shoulder occasionally. Every time when that happens, what I did was massaged her on some acupuncture points on her upper back and shoulder blades to release her tension. The effect to release her tension takes about 10 to 15 minutes of massaging. Then, she feels like a different person afterward.

Edited by ChiDragon

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Last night I masturbated for the first time in 4 months. The ejaculation came quickly, but seemed to be restrained. Should I continue to do this to release jing/tension? What about acupuncture? Are there any qigong movements I could do? My goal is to heal so I can get back to my exercise routine. When I have that going I am very balanced. I'm going to go for a walk soon.

 

 

If that is the first time in 4 months, the quickness seems fine but the retrained part is in question. May I ask where were your hands during the release of your jing....??? I think acupuncture is not the solution to the sexual issue. Let's wait until I hear your response about the zinc supplement.

 

I think qigong is the best solution for you. In the mean time, be sure you do not have any deficiency of sodium, calcium and potassium in your diet. These three elements will help you to relax your muscles after contraction.

Edited by ChiDragon

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Universal...

I would like to address your problems one at a time.

1. Based on your input, it seems that your injury had been recovered. Regarding to your nocturnal emissions, every two weeks seems normal. If that happens every other two days, that it would be a problem. You have indicated that you have been taken zinc supplements, is that an indication that you are having sexual malfunction problems....???

 

2. The stress from your promotion might have caused your sexual performance with a woman.

 

 

Hi ChiDragon,

 

The injury has not fully recovered. I can feel that it is still there, especially when my back tension flares up. If I try to work out now, it will get worse. The problem is that due to the back tension, its taking longer than normal to heal.

 

I was taking zinc for general health reasons, not for any sexual problems. My lack of ejaculation was mostly intentional. I was trying to conserve my essence so that I could heal my back. I think I may have created some kind of blockage instead. I know little of these matters, so this is pure speculation. The stress from work has only made matters worse, and is one of the main reasons its taking so long to recover.

 

I just want to get back to my normal exercise routine. Get my balance, sense of well being, and daily stress reliever back. Very frustrating.

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If that is the first time in 4 months, the quickness seems fine but the retrained part is in question. May I ask where were your hands during the release of your jing....??? I think acupuncture is not the solution to the sexual issue. Let's wait until I hear your response about the zinc supplement.

 

I think qigong is the best solution for you. In the mean time, be sure you do not have any deficiency of sodium, calcium and potassium in your diet. These three elements will help you to relax your muscles after contraction.

Sex is my last concern right now. Just want a healthy back, nothing more. My hands were in the conventional location lol.

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Get this book: http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment/dp/1572243759/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366504786&sr=1-1&keywords=trigger+point

 

 

And this tool: http://www.amazon.com/Thera-Cane-JMAS5000-Massager/dp/B000PRMCJU/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366504811&sr=8-1&keywords=theracane

 

 

Follow the instructions in the book. If you can't completely get rid of the pain within 2 weeks, (it will still get rid of most of it), that means there is something deeper in your nervous system that is holding the pain, in which case I would recommend you find a competent qigong or tai chi instructor.

 

Another thing you might want to try (or use as a complement to the above) is Bruce Kumar Frantzis' "Tao of Letting go" water method. It is a meditative practice, but it goes to the root cause of blockages and ultimately ends up releasing pains and knots as well.

 

Massage always helps. You can even try finding one to help you work with the above to accelerate the process^^^

 

The upper back is comprised of the thoracic spine, which contains the heart and lungs. Have you seen an acupuncturist to verifiy whether you may have problems with these organs? Often, resolving these issues will relieve nervous tension in the associated rachis and vertebrae, effectively releasing the pain.

 

Also make sure you're breathing properly, and that you have proper posture!

 

And always, get to the root of the issue as much as you are able to do so. Good luck.

Edited by CrunchyChocolate555

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Hi ChiDragon,

 

The injury has not fully recovered. I can feel that it is still there, especially when my back tension flares up. If I try to work out now, it will get worse. The problem is that due to the back tension, its taking longer than normal to heal.

 

I just want to get back to my normal exercise routine. Get my balance, sense of well being, and daily stress reliever back. Very frustrating.

 

Alright...so much for that.

 

How did you get hurt anyway......???

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The upper back is comprised of the thoracic spine, which contains the heart and lungs. Have you seen an acupuncturist to verifiy whether you may have problems with these organs? Often, resolving these issues will relieve nervous tension in the associated rachis and vertebrae, effectively releasing the pain.

 

Also make sure you're breathing properly, and that you have proper posture!

Thanks for the links and info. The book and cane are definitely things I'm willing to try. I'll see if I can get it at the library first.

 

I've never been to an acupuncturist. I used to smoke, but gave it up almost 5 years ago.

 

I try to breath properly and have good posture. I've been sitting on a really cheap futon from Ikea for that last few years; no lumbar support, very awkward sitting position, etc. I think slouching on that really made things worse too. I've been going to this store called Healthy Back, trying different products. Just bought a task chair for working at home and a bedlounge that I'm using with the futon for added support.

 

I'm still in need of a good armchair/sofa, something that will allow for good, relaxed sitting posture. I'm pretty much open to anything here. Any ideas?

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Alright...so much for that.

 

How did you get hurt anyway......???

The injury came from using the machine press during a time of heightened stress and less than optimal sleep. Being short on rest, I must have strained part of my back to compensate for my diminished strength while pushing the weight. I think the added stress compounded the issue because of the related back tension. I believe the continued back tension is the reason why its taking so long to heal.

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Dont be apprehensive about a massage, just go get one! Communicate with the therapist - if something's too deep, let 'em know, that is no big deal at all. The only thing I'd say be careful with is if you ask for a deep tissue massage and have never had one before, you may find yourself more sore the next day than you were to begin with. But that's why its important to not feel bashful, just speak up and it is a better experience.

 

One other thing, when you are seated, make sure you're not pitched forward or leaning on your elbows too much - that can also cause the issues you're describing.

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Hi Fellow Bums,

 

I've been reading forum posts here for a few years. Never contributed much because I don't know much. Does anyone have any TCM related knowledge on upper back pain?

 

A little background: I've been practicing retention (most of the time) for the past few years. I've been exercising daily (except for the past month) for years as well. Every so often (once or twice per year) I get a mild upper back/shoulder injury that keeps me out of the gym for a few weeks.

 

This injury happened to me a couple of months ago, and now it keeps coming back. Due to a confluence of factors 1) A couple months back, completely out of the blue, I started to have a nocturnal emissions every two weeks or so. Had about four in total. In response I stopped taking zinc supplements and am pretty much blocking out anything that will arouse me sexually. The emissions appear to have stopped. 2) I recently got promoted which has resulted in an increased level of stress 3) About a month ago I had prolonged intercourse with a woman and did not ejaculate. She also sent me lots of sexual text messages causing heighten arousal. After doing this once before we planned on having intercourse and then abruptly canceling at the last minute, I discontinued relationship (there were other reason as well...), because I wanted to avoid arousal that could lead to a nocturnal emission.

 

Here is where I am now: some days my work out injury feels like it completely healed, but then returns a day later. I have severe tension in my upper back, mostly while sitting and reading from my ipad - which is what I do most of the time. I believe this tension is preventing my injury from healing fully and my inability to exercise is preventing me from releasing the tension. A viscous cirlce...

 

The other day I spent a good amount of money on an office chair for home which has helped somewhat. Although as I type this the tension is pretty bad again. I'm also working on getting an appointment with an orthopedic MD. Last night I masturbated for the first time in 4 months. The ejaculation came quickly, but seemed to be restrained. Should I continue to do this to release jing/tension? What about acupuncture? Are there any qigong movements I could do? My goal is to heal so I can get back to my exercise routine. When I have that going I am very balanced. I'm going to go for a walk soon.

 

Oh, one other thing. I cut down on meat over the last several months too. I'm thinking the lack of protein has also made my back more prone to injury. I read at a TCM site that beef strengthens the back too. I am now eating more meat.

 

What else can I do?

 

Hey

 

I am currently a TCM student and intern. My first recommendation would be to go and see an acupuncturist as a thorough TCM diagnosis can't really be made online like this. But just based on the things you said here is my hunch from a TCM point of view. You mentioned two main concerns, upper back pain and nocturnal emission.

 

Now I believe you mentioned that you have your upper back pain around your shoulder area and that you have been under stress. This sounds like Liver/Gallbladder qi stagnation. Stress will cause your Liver qi to stagnate. Its the Liver's job to promote the smooth flow of qi. When you get stressed this does not happen and you feel more stressed and can have pain along the course of the meridian. The Gallbladder is the paired organ of the Liver and it runs right through your shoulders. This is a common problem. Acupuncture and herbs can be very helpful in this. Also anything that will help de-sress you will help as well.

 

As far as nocturnal emissions go this is considered a Kidney issue in TCM. Now ordinarily this is caused by Kidney deficiency, usually of Kidney yin. In your case however since you have been practicing retention for an extended period of time, I'd say this is not the result of a Kidney deficiency but simply pressure from a lot of semen build up, which is not unusual.

 

My question for you would be why are you practicing semen retention in the first place? I ask because as I've noted you seem to have Liver qi stagnation. The Liver meridian circles the groin area, so if things don't move there after a while they tend to stagnate, thus producing stress which can manifest in other places such as your back and shoulders. I don't know your entire practice schedule, but the problem with semen retention, especially as is commonly taught is that retention without a serious practice of meditation to cultivate emptiness is asking for big trouble. I know I practiced retention for an extended period of time and I felt very stressed and it kind of made my thinking weird. Now granted excessive loss of semen can be bad for your health, but as always the case in the middle way so can too much retention with out the proper meditation to go along with it. So again my question is why do you practice retention?

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The injury came from using the machine press during a time of heightened stress and less than optimal sleep. Being short on rest, I must have strained part of my back to compensate for my diminished strength while pushing the weight. I think the added stress compounded the issue because of the related back tension. I believe the continued back tension is the reason why its taking so long to heal.

 

It sounds like you had pulled your back muscles. We know that muscles are made to be contracted but not to be pulled. It is very painful when they were pulled and take longer to heal. That is why you are having such pain for sometime. What you need to do is go to an acupuncturist do deactivate the pain, so to speak.

 

"Are there any qigong movements I could do?"

This is one of the questions in your OP. Yes, you can do Static Qigong(Chi Kung) by breathing slowly and deepest to point where you can. You may do this by sitting up straight in a comfortable position but do not lean back. What it will be doing is to increase the oxygen intake to speed up the metabolism for self healing in your body. I don't know how is your breathing situation. However, don't force yourself to breathe too deep but only as deep as you can. This is at least you can do for yourself right now. If you need some more information about breathing, please send me a PM. Thank you.

 

Edited by ChiDragon

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My question for you would be why are you practicing semen retention in the first place?

 

I practice retention because I find I have more energy, vitality, strength and creativity when i do. Of course, this often comes with heightened anxiety, etc. However, after I ejaculate, I feel more susceptible to fear. It's hard to find the right balance. I seem to be in a consistently good mood when i retain. Its seems harder for life to get me down. I feel more spiritual as well. Sometimes I think there maybe a placebo effect though. It can be very frustrating sexually.

 

Thanks for all the advice and information. Very helpful. Any advice on how to find a good acupuncturist?

 

EDIT: Just to be clear, when I say I'm retaining, I'm abstaining from sex/masturbation completely; not holding it in.

Edited by Universal

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I practice retention because I find I have more energy, vitality, strength and creativity when i do. Of course, this often comes with heightened anxiety, etc. However, after I ejaculate, I feel more susceptible to fear. It's hard to find the right balance. I seem to be in a consistently good mood when i retain. Its seems harder for life to get me down. I feel more spiritual as well. Sometimes I think there maybe a placebo effect though. It can be very frustrating sexually.

 

Thanks for all the advice and information. Very helpful. Any advice on how to find a good acupuncturist?

 

EDIT: Just to be clear, when I say I'm retaining, I'm abstaining from sex/masturbation completely; not holding it in.

 

As far as finding a good acupuncturist in your area I suppose you could google it. Here is something I found that you might check out http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/acupuncturists.

 

Ok your response about retention clarifies a few things. If you feel that weak, tired, and fearful after ejaculation then this would point to a Kidney deficiency, as the Kidney is the foundation of our original qi and its emotion is fear. TCM can further help in this regard as well. Some good Kidney herbs would help you to not feel all the ways you listed after ejaculation. Then with in reason you could release now and then as needed and avoid all the anxiety and stress you mentioned comes with extended retention.

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As far as finding a good acupuncturist in your area I suppose you could google it. Here is something I found that you might check out http://www.yinyanghouse.com/practitioner_members/acupuncturists.

 

Ok your response about retention clarifies a few things. If you feel that weak, tired, and fearful after ejaculation then this would point to a Kidney deficiency, as the Kidney is the foundation of our original qi and its emotion is fear. TCM can further help in this regard as well. Some good Kidney herbs would help you to not feel all the ways you listed after ejaculation. Then with in reason you could release now and then as needed and avoid all the anxiety and stress you mentioned comes with extended retention.

Which kidney herbs do you suggest?

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I believe that Universal does not have a kidney problem. According to him, his pain was from an injury. Therefore, it is an isolated case.

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I believe that Universal does not have a kidney problem. According to him, his pain was from an injury. Therefore, it is an isolated case.

 

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about Kidney in the Western medical point of view, for if that were the case then yes I'd agree that he does not have a Kidney problem. What I speak of is the Kidney meridian system from a TCM point of view... its different. :-)

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