Benefits of Acupuncture
Not Quite Like This...
So What's My Story?
Now, I'm not a doctor nor have I studied any kind of medicinal treatments. I don't have any scientific facts to back up my theories, other than personal proof.
If you knew me, you'd realize that I can be quite clumsy at times. One of these times happened to be sitting on a chair. Yes, sitting.
I was working in a dingy, cold office, with the concrete floor covered by a very flimsy piece of thread that at one time might've been a carpet. The chairs that we were given were made of the same caliber of quality. They were the screw top chairs (for lack of a better term), the kind that the seat swivels on and off.
Well, I reached down because I dropped a folder on the floor, didn't realize these high-end screw top chairs didn't have a locking mechanism and the "chair" portion of it, slipped right off of the top, sending me flying to the ground landing right on my lower back.
To give you an idea of the pain, normally, I am not wimpy and can find humor in any situation...or at least muster a smile. If I've ever fallen in the past, you could be sure that I would laugh mostly from embarrassment and to play it off like it was funny.
Well, for the first time in my life, I saw stars. I tried to laugh, but tears involuntarily fell out of my eyes. The pain was intense.
Still, I had to try to play it off like it didn't hurt, so I grabbed hold of the desk, (hoping this wasn't made of cardboard), and pulled myself up. I then sat on a different chair and well, I cursed quite a bit. Then I got back to work.
My back was bruised for a few days and I never paid much mind to it. I was twenty-six, walking four to eight miles each day and nothing was going to slow me down.
Until I hit thirty. That little mishap had caused permanent damage after all, that didn't affect me much until years later.
It hurt so badly that I couldn't sit for too long. I'd drive in my car, pull up to my house and try my hardest to straighten my spine to get out of the car. My neighbors must've thought I was drunk.
Sitting was my nemesis. It actually felt better when I walked. I couldn't do anything. Lifting something was out of the question.
I'm generally very independent, very active and hated not being able to get better. I also develop white coat syndrome whenever I go to a doctor. But, it was time. I had to go.
I Didn't Want to Depend on Pills My Entire Life...
Yea, but, Does it Work?
The short answer is yes, it does work!
Here's the long answer. (Come on, you knew there was one).
I first visited an orthopedic surgeon. Now, if you've ever seen the Seinfeld episode where Jerry's father visits the doctor and has to sit in the room waiting, well, that was me.
I showed up at 8am, dressed in the silly blue gowns they give you and waited in the second waiting room for three, yes THREE hours. At the three hour mark, I lost my mind. I was cold, I was hungry and I was mad as hell. My biggest pet peeve in life is having an appointment with anyone and having to wait. I'm just as hard on myself if I'm ever late, so I typically expect everyone else to be on time as well. Now, I know doctors have patients with larger issues than mine, but three hours sent me over the edge.
I walked out of the office, gown and all and raised hell.
Finally, the doctor came in, took five minutes worth of X-rays and told me I have a degenerative disc.
The cure? Ultraset and another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that almost sent me to the emergency room. He also prescribed a back brace. When I called the doctor with the symptoms I was having, he never called back! It took the pharmacist to tell me I was having allergic reactions.
Needless to say, I switched doctors, stayed on Vioxx and Ultraset and threw away the back brace.
Now, a word to the wise about the back brace. This doctor first quoted me $300. I told him he was insane. He then went down to $200. I let him know he was out of his mind. Then he said $100. Now, I guess I was out of my mind because I paid it only to throw it away a month later. But you CAN talk them down in price. Try to negotiate if you ever truly need one!
So, where am I going with this? I promise, I do have a point.
Fast forward a few months, still on pills, still in pain.
My new doctor, whom I did like, suggested physical therapy.
I went to physical therapy for one entire year, three times each week. At the time, I had great health insurance.
One entire year. My therapist was wonderful. She was truly awesome, however, my back still hurt just as much as when I first started.
Back to the doctor.
He suggested epidurals. Three times. Once every two weeks. Anesthesia. A large needle. Wake up to a minor headache.
Okay, sure. It's worked for some people.
Not for me. Three times and it didn't help one bit.
After another examination, my doctor sadly told me I was a candidate for surgery, however, these days it was less invasive.
I thought about it.
I've heard of back surgeries that went awry.
I was still able to walk, albeit painfully, but I could still move. I didn't want to risk it.
I thought about it some more.
Then I started networking with people. This was before the days of facebook and social media. I actually spoke face-to-face with people! Can you imagine?
A woman recommended an acupuncturist. I politely listened. Went home and laughed it off. Yeah, right. Needles are going to help me. I hate needles.
I thought about my only other option. Surgery.
The needles had a better ring to it.
I made my appointment the following week.
The truth is, I do hate needles. I don't like doctors and don't like needles, so I was fairly nervous.
I can tell you this. It was the best medical experience that I've ever had.
You May Even LOVE it!
What to Expect
Basically when you are brought into the room, you can either wear a robe or whatever you're comfortable wearing, depending on where the pain is.
Then you lay down on a comfortable table.
The needles are not only placed where the source of your pain is. They are placed in other areas as well. I had some in my neck, my lower back, my foot, my ear.
Squeamish? Don't be. They don't protrude all the way into your skin. They merely graze the surface.
They don't hurt. From time to time they might be a little uncomfortable when they are first put in, but you can ask the doctor just to move them a little bit and problem solved.
I used to go during my lunch hour and the doctors put on relaxing music. I was so relaxed, I actually fell asleep.
I did this for a week and noticed no change. My pain was no better, no worse.
Two weeks. No change.
Three weeks. Wow! A little less pain.
By two months I was pain free! Two months! After going through every other possibility aside from surgery, it only took two short months to feel one hundred percent better.
Now, acupuncture can't cure degenerative disc disease, but it's been ten years and I haven't had abnormal pain in my back since, aside from days where I overexerted myself.
If you have pain, I would highly suggest giving it a try.
One thing to note. There are different forms of acupuncture so check with your acupuncturist first so they can better prepare you for the procedure they opt to use.
Learn the Facts and Ask Around for a Reputable Acupuncturist
What Else Does Acupuncture Cure?
There are many reasons to go for acupuncture. I can only vouch for one in that it worked for me. The others that I've heard of are listed below.
What Acupuncture Cures
What's Your Experience
Have you Ever Had Acupuncture?
Many insurances don't pay a dime for acupuncture. It's not considered a traditional medical practice and therefore if anything, they cover only a small portion. Check with your insurance first to get the details and then check with the acupuncturist that you choose to see if they can work with you on a payment plan. Some will. Hopefully in the near future, insurance companies will change their minds and cover this treatment.
Best of luck and live well!