#71 Try Acupuncture

For over 13 years (maybe more) I have suffered from some minor back pain.  It’s nothing that makes me want to run to the emergency room to figure out how I can fix it immediately.  It’s more of a chronic, deeper, inside, nagging pain.  I remember feeling extreme back pain after a bad car accident at age 15, and I was treated for weeks with physical therapy.  At the time it seemed to help, but maybe it never really went away?  I’m not sure if that is definitely the cause of my current pain today or if it also has to do with the odd curve shape of my spine, or those monthly lady problems.  I should probably get an MRI to be sure (since I think I only got an x-ray and a CAT scan at the time of the accident).  Nevertheless, the pain is there, and doing nothing about it isn’t going to make it go away.

That being said, I decided to try acupuncture.  I have always wanted to try, and this past summer around the time of my birthday, my husband surprised me with a trip to the acupuncturist.  My first thought was, “What?  You want to stick me with needles for my birthday?”  But the woman at the front desk of the office assured me that “it’s like a massage” and “very relaxing.”  Okay, well I don’t know what kind of massages she is getting, but it certainly was not like the massages I’m used to!  However, she was right about the relaxing part.

Before sticking me with needles, I had to fill out a long form of medical questions, and I sat down for a consultation with my acupuncturist, Jane.  She was very sweet and comforting, and we went over chinese medicine in general, the pain and I was feeling, different things I could do to help alleviate this pain at home, and what was going to happen during our acupuncture session.  The office I went to was called Olo Acupuncture in Manhattan.  The office has community acupuncture, meaning there are multiple people in the room with you as opposed to single rooms.  This is definitely more cost effective, and honestly you don’t even notice the other people in the room, because you have your eyes closed, go into your own zone, or possibly fall asleep.

During my first session, she put needles into different parts of my body (excluding my back).  Apparently, there are other points on your body that can trigger healing in your lower back.  So I had a hand stuck full of needles that I rested on top of my stomach, and a couple of other needles in different areas.  I felt a lot of pressure in that hand, and it was actually sore for a couple hours after I left, but she said that was normal, and to just keep kneading it out.  My back didn’t feel much better afterward, but again repetition is supposedly the key.  She told me to come twice a week for two weeks to see if it helped, and then depending on those results, we would figure out if/when I would need to come back.  She also mentioned that if you cannot come that frequently, to still keep coming as often as possible.

I was unable to come twice a week, so I returned the following week and I flipped over this time so she could put needles directly into my back.  She placed them in a bunch of different spots, and then in other locations all around my body.  I feel asleep once again, and I have to say…if nothing else, I definitely got some good sleep during these sessions!  She also tried something on me called cupping.  Basically they put these suction cups on you to pull the “old stuck blood” to the surface to relieve pain.  The result ends up looking like you have a bunch of bruises on your back, but it’s supposed to help.

The following week, I went on family vacation, and did not make an appointment.  Unfortunately, I dwindled off from going to the acupuncturist altogether.  There were also a few medical reasons while I stopped going for awhile, and then I never got back into it.

Although I’m still having back pains, I do think that it helped a little, and I would like to start going back in more frequently to see if I can kick this pain once and for all.  I felt that I gave it a decent try, but I can do better next time!  Once I start going regularly, I think I can be a more fair judge about whether or not this type of medicine works for me.  Have any of you tried acupuncture before?  What are you thoughts?  Did it work for you?

This weekend, I am headed down to Maryland for my cousin’s bridal shower.  That’s right…I have one more wedding to go to this year (December 29th).  We are also planning on celebrating Halloween down there this weekend with my cousins, and I am SUPER excited about my costume!  I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but be prepared for some awesome makeup and hair!

Happy Friday everyone!