Saturday, August 24, 2013

Acupuncture treatments for referred pain

Several years ago after having started to see a chiropractor regularly for pain management (recommendation of my regular doctor when nothing was helping my chronic pain)... I STARTED to get some pain in the upper back - between my shoulder blades. Best description of it I have heard was that it feels like someone poking me in the back with a broom handle. It would wax and wane... chiropractic treatments helped it, but it just kept feeling like that spot in my back just kept wanting to go out.

At first, I thought it was because I had so many spinal problems and the doctor said that it would be a while to get it corrected AND stable. But it just kept going out. Then about two years ago, it started to get REALLY painful. Like end up in the ER kind of pain. They diagnosed me with a hiatal hernia and pluerisy and sent me home - a textbook case of fluid in the pleural cavity - something that they really can't treat. Couldn't tell me why. I was already allergic to pain meds, so I just suffered. I'd go back each time the pain would get to the point where I couldn't breath. They'd tell me it was pluerisy and send me home again. I got tired of going in, so I struggled at home for another six to eight months. Learned that if I ate too big a meal, it seemed to trigger the worst pain, so figured it was related to the hernia and I started to eat small meals about five times a day. It helped a bit, but sometimes the pain just got away from me. I started to throw up a lot. Funny enough, I usually fought as hard as I could to avoid throwing up, but once I learned that the vomitting reduced the pain, I went with it and stopped fighting it. That helped for a while, but I was throwing up mulitple times a day at least five days a week. Doctor didn't know what was wrong, but ran some tests, came up empty.

Finally, about a year ago, I hit a point where the pain got too bad and I couldn't throw up (couldn't bring myself to inducing it). I broke down and trekked back to the ER. This time they asked me if I had ever had my gall bladder looked at. Well, um. No. Why? Well sometimes (apparently pretty rarely - but that's me, I can't have typical symptoms of anything). Sometimes gall bladder attacks can be felt in the upper back - called referred pain. And sometimes they get better after vomiting. They did an ultrasound and sure enough my gall bladder was bad - like really, really bad. They sent me home and told me to try to get surgery scheduled for within two weeks. It was time for it to come out. They also told me that if things got worse, to come back in. Sure enough... two days later, I broke down and went back. And this time, my pancreas and liver were sending out some bad signals - I ended up having surgery less than 24 hours after that.

With my gall bladder out, the pain in my back went away completely. Hmmm... guess it was related. But, then it started to come back about six months ago. Not too bad at first, chiropractic care was helpful, but not tremendously so. Now what, I thought? It's not like I can get my gall bladder out a second time.

My specialist I'm seeing in Colorado suggested that I try acupuncture. He said it works wonders for referred pain.

Since my pain was getting pretty darn unbearable... even though I used to really, really hate needles and as such (even though the worst of the aversion is gone) - but the thought of going to get intentionally poked with several needles? Just was hard to convince myself to try. But the pain was BAD. I'm still allergic to a lot of the pain killers. I broke down and made an appointment.

During my first appointment - she took a thorough screening. Was fascinated about what I'm doing for MTHFR and is in the middle of trying to learn a lot more about it for some of her patients. She did a median scan and found several places where I was out of balance.  Then she started. I ended up with about 20 pins in me during my first treatment. She added a little aroma therapy, and dimmed the lights, warmed the bench, had some nice music on and let me lay there quietly for a while. I didn't feel most of the pins going in and got quite comfortable. During my first treatment, it literally felt like the pain in my back just melted away. I felt wierd energy sensations in my back. Two weeks later, and I was still completely pain free.

I've had a second session since, and still am three weeks post starting treatment - and while I get odd sensations in that spot in my back... just shy of an ache - more like phantom pressure... like you feel like someone had pressed there recently.

The first treatment ended... and the day after I felt an enormous surge of energy... like someone had lit a fire under me. I took advantage of it and got a lot done. Sadly, I felt really burnt out for about four days afterwards. This second treatment, I tried to be a little more cautious. I got a burst of energy again, but not as strong. And this time, I tried to keep my activity level steady. I still ended up feeling a little rough for a couple of days, but no where near as bad as I did the day after I took advantage of the extra burst. We'll see how the third visit goes... but I am definitely going to keep going.  I'll take treatments hoping that she can help with other issues and will eventually switch over to detox type of treatments.

I'm still having knee and calf pain. But honestly. Between the methylation treatments helping with my arm/chest pain and accupuncture helping with upper back pain... it's kind of nice to be down to just one small region. Both my knee and calf do well after an epsom salt bath - which I do every couple of days. I'm going to look into some magnesium spray to see if that will help on days when I don't do the bath or don't have time to do the bath. So, at least, at this point, I'm pain free about every other day right now... which is pretty darn amazing considering where I was not that long ago.

1 comment:

Dot Eastman said...

It was just your first session, but you already experienced its soothing effect. Isn't it great? Anyway, continue your acupuncture session and see how it'll eventually relieve your other body pains as it restores back your health.

-Dot Eastman @ USHealthWorks