Acupuncture & A Back Update

Okay – it was an AWFUL week.  Seriously.

I went to yoga last Friday & Saturday.  The classes were good, but my back was super painful.  The pain ramps up during the standing series, peaks during the spinal strengthening, then starts coming down a bit during the rest of class.  By the end I’m sore and painful, but okay.  I did not go to class yesterday or today (my main days) because I’ve been a complete disaster case over here.

Monday was a super busy day at work, and I was hurting.  After work I went to physical therapy, where they proceeded to work my core and back pretty hard.  I did a bunch of exercises for them, then went home.  Tuesday I woke up and was having a very tough time.  One of my coworkers recommended a local-to-work acupuncturist so I finally made an appointment for later in the week.  Wednesday morning I woke up and immediately started crying.  The pain was so bad (and had kept me up the last two nights) that I would/should have called in – but we had an intense day ahead and I didn’t feel like I could skip.  It didn’t matter, because by 9:30, I was unable to bend over to pick something up off the floor.  I also was unable to lift my left leg any more.  Needless to say I was crying like a crazy person at work.  I was sent home.

I called the acupuncturist, who bumped my appointment to right then.  It was an interesting experience.  I was there for two hours, which I thought was kind of amazing.  She took a long time getting a thorough medical and psychological history from me, then explaining all the things she was going to do/treat including my emotions, my stomach issues, and the back pain.

Now, some of the things I thought were a little weird.  I think this was the “treating emotions” part.  She handed me a little jar that she said contained “energy” (and that contained a smaller vial that said BBF) that I held while she did several tests (meaning she touched different parts of my body while holding or not holding this little jar).  It was weird.  It was woo-woo.  I was still willing to try anything, though.

She said she’s going to give me a mantra.  I’m a little excited about this part.

Then came the needle-poking time.  She started with my ears (one in each), then did the typical forehead ones.  I got some in my arms, hands, legs and feet.  Then she put a heating lamp over my legs (awesome!) and left for 20 minutes while I listened to a guided meditation.  After that she had me flip over so she could do my back.  It felt like she put the needles on each side of my entire lumbar spine.  Again, she let me cook for 20 minutes with the heating lamp over my back while I listened to some music.

At the end, I could lift my left leg.  I could bend over and put on my shoes.  I got into my car without wincing/crying out in pain.  I don’t care if it’s mental or if it actually works – I just know it saved the day for me.

She also gave me some “homework” which I’ve been bad about.  I’m supposed to rub my belly, spleen, and liver each night before bed.  I’d forgotten about it until now.  She also wants me eating breakfast (which is nearly impossible for me) and lunch (which sometimes doesn’t work out either).  More vegetables, included some fermented ones.  I bought some kimchee but haven’t tried it yet.  I had it once in a Korean restaurant and thought it was good, but something about it being in a jar just grosses me out.  I’ll see how it goes.  She wants to see me every 5-7 days for the next 5 weeks.  That’s gonna be hard because she works when I work.

But wait!  There’s more!  I called my doc later in the day and she got me a referral to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss.  I went there on Friday.  Spinal x-rays were normal.  They contemplated giving me a course of steroids, but that conflicts with the diabetes.  So they scheduled me for an MRI on Jan 11th.  In the meantime, they gave me a script for a different NSAID.  I hope it starts working soon.

I miss class.


7 responses to “Acupuncture & A Back Update

  1. Jo, I’m intrigued by the acupuncture and would like to try it. My skin has started to get sensitive and I am not sure if it is from the heat … red and burning. I am likely taking the month off. i hope you find a solve. I know that my lower back hurt alot when I started Bikram and it’s subsided since – remembering to engage the stomach muscles is key for me. Stay positive and have some kimchi – it has to be bottled to be fermented. Unless you place it in porcelain?

      • I dunno! But it’s been a few days since the hot room, and the skin is starting to feel and look better. Think dermatitis on different parts of the face. I may need to work on a process of elimination. Cutting the Bikram (but not the yoga!) and anything hot n spicy. that aid, I did have a hot stone massage yesterday and my back feels alot better. I recommend it :)

    • Could it be rosacea? I’ve got it, and it is very commonly triggered by extreme heat. It’s more of an itching sensation for me though, not so much a burning. It definitely causes extreme redness and sometimes even bumps/pustules. It usually starts around the nose, or on chin and forehead. Either way, hope you can find a solution quickly :(

  2. You’ve got a lot going on! My thoughts:
    1. Do you have a nail bed? You can get one on amazon for around 30.00. It won’t hurt (ha ha). It can only help. A woman at my studio who has major back issues just got one, loves it, and says it is helping a lot. Get one and lay on it for as long as you can stand it.

    2. Acupuncture: LOVE IT! Give it a chance. The more serious the issue, and the longer you have had it, the more treatments it will take. It can’t do everything of course. When I had nasal polyps I had to have them surgically removed. But in other arenas it has worked wonders. I once had to go to acupuncture once a week for three weeks and then dropped down to twice a month and am now at once a month and more only if I want it. Those extra sessions in the beginning were worth it. It saved my butt from getting a CAT scan.

    • Got the nail bed and I’m laying on it daily, but I’ve had to backtrack and wear a thin shirt while I lay because the intensity is just too much right now.

      Plus, I’ve been thinking about how I’m heavier than the two people I know who have one (you and a gal at work) and I think my weight makes the intensity that much greater.

      I’m going to keep going to the acupuncture. I really think it’s going to help.

  3. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a rough patch! Earlier this year (shortly before teacher training, actually), I was having a lot of pain in my lower right back. It got really bad–to the point that I took a break from yoga and couldn’t bend forward/down at all. I tried acupuncture then for the first time, and had six sessions (once a week). They used heat, acupuncture, and cupping. It definitely helped!

    I hope it does the same for you. If you need or want to try something else, I know that going to a chiropractor trained in gentler methods (primal reflex release technique, acupressure, craniosacral work, and trigger point therapy) worked wonders for me! He would swipe his thumb over my neck and my coccyx and then walk away, repeating this several times. It seemed like B.S.–like you describe here as “woo-woo”–but honestly, even after the first twenty minute appointment I walked out feeling better than I had in weeks when nothing I did seemed to help.

    (The idea was basically to cue the body to release the areas that get stuck in “tight” mode due to musculoskeletal imbalances, then adjust and reinforce proper alignment.)

    Please keep us posted on how your treatment goes, and don’t be afraid to vent some more about the frustrations and the pain. :)

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