Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Sticky Situation

How would you like a needle in your blocked meridian?

Yes, please!

After almost three years of lower back pain, I've decided to give up on western medicine and turn to eastern medicine. Acupuncture in particular.

I have avoided this until now because I'm a little freaked out by it. Overall, I'm very open-minded. I'll try anything once. But when it came to long needles being shoved into my bod, my mind closed. Just a bit. But just for a little while.

I finally got to the breaking point since my latest (and best) chiropractor is leaving for Colorado to start a practice with his wife. Bastard for leaving. Bastard for leaving for Colorado. I met his replacement this week and I'm just not sure how long I'll be seeing him.

Anyway, I went for acupuncture last Friday. I got two good referrals and chose the one that was obviously a Chinese woman (from her name and accent on the phone) and the fact that she had been a doctor in China. I figured she's probably smarter than the average bear, so I gave her a try.

Our consultation began with the typical forms. Where does it hurt? What else is wrong with you? How long? Family history? Mark on the stick man where your pain is. Blah, blah, blah.

Then it diverged. We talked about my pain history and somehow got on the topic of bowel movements. Lots of details were required. Lots of questions: size, shape, frequency, consistency. TMI for this post, thankfully. Then she got out a little blue satin pillow and had me rest my wrists on it, one at a time, underside-up. She made motions like she was taking my pulse, but she poked and prodded a bit more than was was needed for a simple pulse.

After this, she told me she understood my "health condition". It seems that I have a blocked meridian right where the pain is. I also have a weak spleen and a weak liver. (oops, too many margaritas!) Acupuncture could help me. I am to go through 5 treatments and take Chinese herbs. Was I up for this? Er, sure. Why not?

I changed into the obligatory Velcro-in-back hospital gown and rested face-down on a padded table. She rubbed alcohol on seemingly random spots from my mid-back to my ankle, about seven in total. Then the needles. EEK! The needles. Yoga breath...WHERE IS MY YOGA BREATH? Ah...there it is. But, I really didn't need it. I only felt ONE needle. Of course, it was the one that went into where my pain is located - left-side, lower back.

Then she gave me a walkie-talkie (in case I decided to freak out) and left for 20 minutes.

Okay, so anyone who knows me knows what I did next. What did I do? Do you know?

Of course. I looked. Which is not easy to do when you are face-down and the needles on in your backside. I looked and I saw....

TINY! They were TINY! Maybe 2 inches long! For some reason, I was expecting sharp, foot-long, metal needles, waving in the breeze from my poor, tender leg-flesh. But these looked, well, just silly. They weren't even metal, they were white plastic. They looked like those plastic toothpicks that you can buy at Walgreen's. Hell, maybe they were.

Assured that I wasn't too much of a shish-kabob, I settled in a fell fast asleep. Hey, you put me face-down, I fall sleep.

I woke up when she came back. She took them out, pop, pop, pop, and helped me up. I got my herbs* and headed out.

So how do I feel? I feel the same. But I'll try a few more times before I give up. I'm goofy that way.

*Obviously, the mix of herbs was an "ancient Chinese secret". I asked her several times and all she would say is that it was special mix, made especially for me, of 12 different herbs. All legal, darn it.


Average Jane said...

I've always been very curious about acupuncture and I intend to eventually see an acupuncturist that my massage therapist has recommended.

Incidentally, I have an awesome chiropractor, so let me know if you'd like a recommendation.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

A lot of licensed Western physicians (especially pain, rehab specialists) now also have acupuncture licenses. My co-worker sees such a doctor (like you he is in chronic pain).

lorib said...

Looking forward to hearing if the acupuncture helps your pain. I'm experiencing some after effects from Andrew's delivery and have yet to find true relief.