Good morning SOTGC readers. This week I tried acupuncture for the first time. To give you a little background on why I tried it I have been having major issues with neck pain for about a year and a half. Several Doctor visits, Xrays, MRI scans, and a wonderfully uncomfortable EMG nerve conduction study showed a joint injury and disc herniation in my C Spine.
I’m not a surgical candidate so I have just been dealing with the pain. One of my friends has tried acupuncture and said that it worked for her in relieving some chronic pain that she had been having. So I figured, “why not?! I’ve tried everything else!”
She gave me the number for the lady she uses who combines massage therapy with acupuncture and I made an appointment. After going over the standard health questions and the “what are you here for” conversation we decided we would primarily focus on relieving my pain and stress, and work on curing the French fry addiction later.
To be honest, most of it wasn’t that bad. There were a few spots where on the outside I said “Yup! Felt that one!” and on the inside it sounded more like the scene from 40 Year Old Virgin when “Andy” is getting his chest waxed (if you haven’t seen this scene you should Google it and watch…hilarious!) The weirdest thing was that a good amount of the needles that went in seemed to stimulate random body parts on the opposite side she was poking. After about the third random spasm in a totally different area than the needle was going in, I started getting flashbacks of that scene in Kung Fu Panda when “Po” is getting acupuncture and his face starts contorting into pretty hilarious expressions.
Overall it was a great experience and I shall be going back on a weekly basis for a month or so to see if we can make a difference in my pain level. I will say that after this one session I felt much better and noticed the pain level having been reduced already. Lauren is getting her Doctorate in Eastern Medicine and is a qualified practitioner. If you would like to schedule an appointment her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I logged onto NCCAM.com and found some information on acupuncture. I was in a case with some of my surgeons this morning and brought this up to get their opinion. Overall they felt that there is some definite benefit that patients could get if they aren’t surgical candidates, but the results will heavily depend on getting a good practitioner.
About Acupuncture: The term “acupuncture” describes a family of procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical points on the body using a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most often studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.
Practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years, acupuncture is one of the key components of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture became better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries.
Acupuncture Side Effects and Risks: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners, requiring that needles be manufactured and labeled according to certain standards. For example, the FDA requires that needles be sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles. When not delivered properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs.
What To Expect from Acupuncture Visits: During your first office visit, the practitioner may ask you at length about your health condition, lifestyle, and behavior. The practitioner will want to obtain a complete picture of your treatment needs and behaviors that may contribute to your condition. Inform the acupuncturist about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have.
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people feel energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needle placement, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during treatment. This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner.
Treatment may take place over a period of several weeks or more.