Acupuncture as Primary Medicine
In another lifetime my husband and I made our living driving a tracker-trailer across country with a variety of goods. At one point we got a load of lumber that was stacked two pallets high on a flatbed trailer. My husband and I were on top of the lumber trying to chain it down when suddenly I lost my grip on the chain. My husband tried to grab my blouse in hopes of steadying me a bit. It was too late though, gravity determined what happened next. I went over the side of the truck falling the equivalent of almost a two-story building hitting the ground hips first, then the rest of my back, and finally my shoulders. I bounced once and hit the ground flat, further injuring my back. I remember nothing about the fall so friends and family had to fill in my memory gaps months later.
I spent almost months in the hospital and was released in a body cast that was later changed to a steel reinforced body brace, and got around in a wheelchair. Doctors told my husband and I both that I would probably never walk again, which was the last thing I was prepared to hear. Years later, after constant effort and unbelievable pain I did learn to walk again with an ever-present series of body and back braces that doctors hoped would decrease the extreme pain. During this time doctors tried every pain medication on the market including ones that were IV administered to relieve my pain. There were only two things that somewhat helped the pain, which was a limited epidural in my lower back and a TENS unit. The acronym TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which blocks the pain message to the brain but it too has its drawbacks. The TENS unit doesn’t do anything for the soreness and stiffness often associated with extreme pain. A Epidural steroid injections for back pain was especially helpful but also caused a deadening effect in the back and legs, so walking was almost impossible for a while. In between times I took a series of muscle relaxers and strong pain pills with little or no relief from the ongoing pain.
Fast forward 30+ years with me still in constant pain, a variety of doctors who knew little and cared even less about true pain control, a few suicide attempts (just to end the pain), and countless pain medications, the majority of which didn’t work. Then someone living in the same apartment building as I lived in joined a health care program that offered all the medical services a person could need. After checking the services out I joined the program, which was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.
Within a couple of months of joining I was able to try Acupuncture and if I hadn’t pinched myself I might have thought I was dreaming. With weekly visits I went from having horrible 11 to 12 pain on a scale of 1 to 10 to a pain level of 2 or 3 in just four months. A few more visits and my pain level was almost nonexistent, unless of course I decided to move my livingroom or bedroom furniture around or take huge loads of linens to the laundry.
Not only has Acupuncture relieved my back pain but it has done 180 change in my attitude toward life. It’s lifted a deep depression that I didn’t even realize I was experiencing until it started lifting. All of this was accomplished with little needles that did not hurt, instead they felt barely like a very light prick. There was also no need of pills, shots, IV’s or invasive medical procedures.
Acupuncture has been nothing short of an absolute miracle for me and if it’s my choice I will NEVER live without an acupuncturist to go to BEFORE visiting a traditional doctor. The cost of an acupuncture treatment is not much different from the cost of a traditional doctor’s visit, copays on prescriptions, and probable follow-up visits to the doctor. Best of all, acupuncture lasts longer WITHOUT ANY side affects.
One piece of advice to anyone considering this alternative form of medical care. Check out the acupuncturist you consider visiting and make sure the person has been trained in the Asian form of acupuncture and ALSO whether acupuncture is the person’s main focus. Some acupuncturists are trained primarily in chiropractic and do acupuncture simply as a secondary focus. PLEASE, from a person who has enjoyed the benefits of an Asian trained acupuncturist, DO NOT settle for second best.