A play by play of visiting an Acupuncturist. And how I was electrocuted.

Today I went and paid a lady I don’t know to stick needles into me. That’s right. I did it. I tried acupuncture to help with my back pain. I will spare you the medical details but lets just say I suffer from severe back pain ever since I had kids. I broke my tailbone with both of them, then developed chronic sciatica. What all that means is, when my back goes out (and it can be for no reason at all. Including waking up wrong) I have a level 10 pain from my toes to my neck. Sometimes making walking a challenge. Fun huh?

So I am in the middle of recovering from one of those episodes (not the good TV kind that are over in 30 min either) when it was suggested I try acupuncture. Suggested by who? Oh by a contact on Facebook of course. You know where all wise medical decisions are made. And after announcing on Facebook that I was going to do it…I got more than a few emails from people curious about the process. So guess what? I am gonna tell you what to expect.

1. Office was in a strip mail. Next door to a Sewing Machine repair shop. My joke about needles and that being ‘convenient’ was lost on the staff.

2. Arrived early. Filled out the usual medical forms including insurance info. Yup. Most insurance cover it now.

3. Went into the consultation room (and office) and chatted with my practitioner. She asks me lots of weird questions. And got very specific. I started with’um, my back hurts can you fix it?’ and in 20 minutes I was telling her about the flow of my period, color of my urine and more. And? she asked to see my tongue. Which was followed with a disconcerting ‘Hummmm’. Then she looked at my hands. And in a surprised way said “oh my. You didn’t tell me you have low blood pressure! (which I do) and you didn’t say anything about having a hard time staying asleep (which is true)”. I was more than a little freaked out at this point. But she went on to explain how acupuncture can help blah blah blah. To be honest I was tuned out. My back was killing me. And I was eyeing any horizontal area in there. I needed to lay down.

4. After the way-to-personal meet and greet she took me to a little room. It looked like a massage room and sounded like a massage room with that weird Enya music playing. So it turns out you don’t get naked for acupuncture. This was a big question for me. But I did remove my skirt, down to undies and left my top on.

5. After grunting and groaning thru my back pain as I positioned my self on the table face down (head into a little doughnut hole thingy), she began. First sterilizing my skin with alcohol and then BAIMG_4559-1M the needles go in.

6. You don’t feel the needles go in.BUT…

7 If you are totally broken like me, once the needle is in the muscle- the body gets concerned and seems to send out a search party…so all of a sudden after the needle has been in for 10-20 seconds you get a twang or twinge or something at the site. Then it goes away. It is not pain. It is just a ‘sensation’.

8. I am feeling pretty damn zen at this moment in my underwear with my head in the hole of the table, while a lady puts needles in my back. I was proud of myself. Especially when she announced she was done ‘with the needle therapy’. I was looking forward to napping for a few minutes why those needles did what ever in the heck they are supposed to do. And then she says…

9. “Now I will hook you up to an electronic stimulator. And this will activate the muscles involuntarily and will help stimulate the nerves.” Ohhhhhkaaaaaayyyyy. This was news to me. I had not planned on being electrocuted- but whatever. I was half naked with metal needles sticking out of my back. It would be hard to drive home like that…so I agreed and let her ‘hook up’. (don’t believe me? I took a pic of the thing when I was leaving the room.)

10. What came next was odd. She would turn on the needles one at a time. It felt like a little pulse with most, and with others? Entire muscle movement. Hey my butt is moving and um, I wasn’t making it do that. It was a strange sensation.

11. I did that for 15 minutes. She left me alone and told me to relax. Which I think was her way of trying to be funny.

12. Her assistant came back and took out the needles (didn’t feel it at all) and then coated me with a ‘cooling hot gel’. I thought I didn’t understand her broken English. But I understand now. It went on freezing and by the time I got home it was burning HOT.

Oh the pain? Let’s just say I had NO TROUBLE getting off that table. Or in my car. Or out of my car. And right now I can see my son left his belt on the floor, and I plan to BEND OVER and pick it up. Do I feel 100% cured? No. But remarkably, tremendously IMPROVED. I am going to let her do this a few times over the next couple weeks. Then just down to tune ups after that. It is very possible this is going to be a life long thing for me.

It is amazing what you will consider when you are pain. But I am so glad I gave this a try….

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