Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Miracle of Acupuncture

I've been fighting a "frozen" shoulder for just over a year now.  I tried all the normal channels to get relief: pain medication, MRI with an orthopedic surgeon to see if it was more serious, physical therapy, stretching exercises, essential oils, and lots of massage.  Nothing really seemed to make a big difference.  As a last resort, I bought a Groupon to try acupuncture with a Chinese clinic.  For $85, you could have a consultation, treatment, and massage.

I have never tried acupuncture, so I didn't really know what to expect.  The Dr. asked me some questions over the phone before the appointment, and seemed confident he could help me...maybe even fix it completely.  That was exciting news!

I had to complete a lengthy health questionnaire before we began.  Nothing unexpected here, but I mentioned that I also had trouble sleeping and sinus congestion.  I was guided into a room where the doctor could assess me.  He asked me additional questions about the movement in my shoulder, congestion, insomnia, etc.  I showed him the limited motion in my arm.  Then he asked me to stick out my tongue-  I thought it peculiar since we were dealing with other body parts.  Apparently from the swelling, discoloration, stuff growing on your tongue, and the nature of the edges, a good acupuncturist can see what problems you might have. Aha!  I thought that pretty amazing.  It would not be the last amazing thing I learned that day.

Next, he had me roll up my pant leg on the same side as my frozen shoulder.  (I was thinking, "what"?!!!)  He asked me if I was afraid of needles, and I said I didn't think so.  Then he took what seemed like a very long, very narrow needle and inserted it into my shin, asking if it hurt.  I really didn't feel it.  He took another needle and inserted it near the same spot.  Oh yeah!  That I could feel.  Then he asked me to move my arm, and miraculously it moved much more than before!  WOW! So how is the leg/shin connected to a lack of movement in the shoulder?  Beats me, but there is a connection.

From here, I put on a gown, and he put about 15 needles into my foot, shoulder, back, scalp, and all over my face.  Each one was supposed to help with the problems I mentioned earlier.  I laid on a massage table on my side for about 20 minutes with soft music playing.  Then a technician came and removed the needles.  A vigorous massage ensued with intense pressure being applied to the knots around my shoulder.  When it was over, I felt a little beat up, but she assured me, it would be better tomorrow.  The general advice, "drink lots of water" was given, with a request from the doctor to come again later in the week for another appointment.
My face full of needles

So did I have results?  Well, yes, for the first time in a long time, I was really tired at bedtime. The needles in the scalp were supposed to help with melatonin production, and it must have worked. Almost immediately after the appointment, I could feel my sinuses draining and it has continued for the past couple of days.  The arm has more motion, though it still feels a bit stiff.  It was overall a great value for my money!  I would definitely recommend it to anyone with almost any problems.  The crazy thing is that all the treatment I had that didn't work was covered by my medical insurance.  Unfortunately, acupuncture is not.  I'll have to pay out of pocket, but at least it's giving results.  Something is wrong with our health system when we don't quantify results for alternative treatments. My insurance company would have saved a bundle by sending me to this doctor in the very beginning.  I'll definitely consider acupuncture as a tool for future medical needs.

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