I’ve used chiropractic for many years — I don’t believe it will solve every problem, but if I have muscle pain (mostly in my lower back or shoulder), then I know that getting a few adjustments over the span of a couple of weeks will resolve the issue more thoroughly than just taking prescription anti-inflammatory pills just to hide the pain (as has happened when I went to an MD with elbow pain).
So after I had been dealing with strong neck pain for 3 weeks with no amelioration (because sometimes these pains go away on their own), I made an appointment with a chiropractor. She cracked me and massaged me, but unlike previous times, the pain wasn’t getting better (it wasn’t getting worse, but by this point I had been feeling pain and tightness for 5 weeks). She suggested that perhaps, since the pain was so high up on the neck (it was the base of the skull, really), chiropractic wasn’t the best treatment, but acupuncture would be. (Did you know that headaches or muscle aches on the back of the skull is a sign of liver imbalance? Now you and I do.)
I’ve got friends — real world and online — who swear by acupuncture, and the results they described seemed just shy of miraculous: back pain so bad they could barely walk, gone; cigarette addiction, gone; excess weight gain, gone. But the whole needle thing … that needle thing. (Oh, and the little detail that acupuncture is not covered by my insurance; but after 5 weeks of pain, that little detail doesn’t seem as important anymore — would you prefer less money in your pocket or short-temperedness in your spouse/mother? I thought so.)
On Friday, with a deadline looming at 2:30 pm (it could have been 5 pm but the last soccer game of the high school season [did I mention on here that Impera was on the soccer team, or was that just over on my photo diary?] started at 3, and I didn’t want to miss it), I received a call that the acupuncturist I would be seeing next Wednesday (which would have brought me to my 6th week of pain) had a last-minute cancellation — did I want to take it? Yes? OK, get here in the next 15 minutes.
After consulting with me, and sharing some URLs I might find useful, the doctor (do you call them that?) had me lay face-down down on a table and started poking me. Literally, unlike what usually happens at an MD’s office. I got punctured in my ear lobes, the sides of my ears, my wrists, my ankles, and the back of my skull. He placed a wireless doorbell in my hand, and told me to buzz him if I needed him before the 30 minutes of treatment were over. Then he left me to a nice warm room, suffused with Asian New Age music. I felt some of the needles going in — acupuncture is not a pain-free treatment. And interestingly, at different points in the 30 minutes, I felt each of the needles on my right side throb for a little while. Never more than one location at a time, thank goodness, and nothing that a little meditative outward focus couldn’t take care of, but since my right side is my weak side (that’s the plantar fasciitis foot, so it’s the side where I’ll first feel back pain or shoulder pain), I wonder if my misalignment of Qi (ooh, listen to the poseur use the lingo!) is worse on that side?
I didn’t need to use the ringer (I’m not a wuss, I can handle 30 minutes, even of throbbing needles!), and the 30 minutes didn’t feel interminable. So, that’s good, right? But here we are 24 hours later, and my pain hasn’t miraculously dissolved (I didn’t really expect that to happen, although my heart of hearts hoped for it). I’ll be going in for a second visit this week, and I just hope this pain will be gone by June 15. Because that’s when we’re leaving for our 3-week Southwestern US adventure. Which will include lots of hiking, and camping. Two activities that do not mix well with neck pain.