Monday, August 29, 2011

Pins and Needles

I've been having chronic pain issues for about 6 years now.  It all started when I moved from Chicago to New Jersey in 2005.  We packed up a moving truck and moved here ourselves.  Shortly after we moved, I started noticing pain in my left shoulder.  I went to the doctor a few weeks after and he just showed me some exercises and gave me some medication.  Little did I know this would be the start of a long journey with chronic pain.  To make a long story short, the pain on my left shoulder then began to effect my neck and my right shoulder as well.  It's been so long now I think my entire body is involved in it and I get a good amount of headaches.

Through the years I've tried medication, massage, physical therapy, and cortisone shots and nothing has really had any long term impact.  When I was in Houston about a year ago, my mom took me to a Chinese friend of hers that practices acupuncture.  I had two treatments and it was helpful.  I couldn't get any more treatments because this lady left to go to China.  This has always been in the back of my mind as a possible treatment, but I've been putting it off as a last resort option mostly because I have a fear of needles.  This fear has gotten worse as I've gotten older.  Lately, if I know that I have to get blood drawn, I'll cry to Mark about it the night before.  Poor guy--puts up with all my craziness.  Anyway, my pain has been worse lately and I've been getting headaches several times a week.  I decided it was time to investigate acupuncture further.

My friend's fiancee went to school for acupuncture at the Swedish Institute in NYC.  I knew he went through extensive training, so I wanted to try to find an alumni that I could go see.  I found someone that is about 10 miles from me and had my first appointment Friday.  I was nervous!  I told her I didn't want any needles on my feet, hands, or face and she was fine with that.  Phew!  I did the treatment face down, and she put the needles in the back of my head, neck, shoulders, back, and legs.  Maybe 16 needles in all.  It wasn't too bad, just a little prick.  I think the worst part is then you have to lie there with the needles in for about 30 minutes.  It was hard, virtually impossible, for me to relax.  I tried to use  all the distraction, self-soothing, and distress tolerance skills that I teach my patients but I still felt very anxious.  The thought of having needles in me made me anxious and I was afraid to move at all because I remembered reading something on the informational sheets about needles breaking.  Yikes!  In any case, I survived it OK and for the short term, I think I'll be going every week.  I hope this's the last thing I know of that I haven't tried yet!

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