The patient often cannot evaluate their condition other than so say, "their back, hip, or buttock hurts. It can hurt to move, exercise, sit, stand or walk, it can be painful to sleep.
The acupuncturist with anatomical understanding of pain and functional movement relationships can evaluate the condition, rule-out a serious condition, with simple muscle tests, sensitive palpation, they can develop a treatment protocol with only a few well placed "yin" needles with gentle electrical stimulation (e-stim.).
Common pain generators in low back and buttock pain cases:
Quadratus Lumborum aka "the joker of low back pain,"
Gluteus Medius aka "the lumbago muscle."
Gluteus Minimus aka "the pseudo-sciatica muscle."
I just finished three days of helping to teach a course in Maui, with the always inspirational, Whitfield Reaves, on how to evaluate, assess and treat low back and hip pain with acupuncture. I realized when I saw the numbers in the graphic below that the work that we are doing, teaching acupuncturists is absolutely vital. Our bodies were simply not designed for the lifestyle that we are living. The world needs more well-trained acupuncturists!
In the acupuncture world, just as in the western medicine world there are areas of specialization. For example, I never treat skin disorders, I refer out. If you have tried acupuncture for pain or injury and you didn't see a change in your condition within 1-3 treatments, don't hesitate to ask your practitioner to reevaluate their approach and diagnosis.
When I travel and people hear that I am an acupuncturist, I often hear "Oh, I tried acupuncture (for my back pain or for my sciatica) once and it didn't help," or "I don't believe in acupuncture." Every time I hear that I am more determined that acupuncturists should have training so that they can successfully evaluate and treat these conditions.
Acupuncturists need to understand how to evaluate which conditions are likely to respond to treatment and which conditions will not respond and are surgical and which conditions need a team approach with a talented physical therapist, athletic trainer, orthopedist, massage therapist, pilates instructor, corrective movement specialist, chiropractor etc. As an acupuncturist, I do not try to be everything to the patient.
It is important that you keep moving. If pain is stopping you, do something about it.