Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mikey gets needled

My gut pain has been pretty bad of late. There's been entire slabs of a week where my guts have been a gurgling cauldron of yucky pain, gas, spasming and all sorts of badness.

So, following a suggestion from theWife, I decided to give acupuncture a go.

Yes, I know, it's a potentially a bit of an ear-candle esq experience, but what the heck, if it works, then it works. I care not the how it does. Well, that's not true, I do care, but I am willing to whistle and look the other way if it gives me some relief.

I've had four sessions thus far. It took until the last session to actually get a needle in the gut, my having mistakenly flashed my stomach Spring Break style at Mr Sticky when he came into the room, given the pain is there and that therefore logic to me dictated that's where the needles would go. No, first time around it was one in the back of each hand, one in the tops of my feet, and one in my bald spot.

So ... the needles go in - and they do sting a little on the way in - then I get left to lie on a spongy mattress and look at the ceiling while new-age / classical / restful musak is pumped through the centre.

I hazard that part of the acu-success is the fact that you get to lie back for 20 minutes doing just that. Listening to musak. Which on the face of it is kind of nice. Not sure if the needles help at all.

But I did find it weird that today's first needle to the stomach was located in my numb spot under my gall bladder scar. I told the dude that, that I had no sensation there, but he said it should work nonetheless. I dunno, if acupuncture is nerve influencing you'd think the needle would have to be jammed in where nerve sensations would exist.

Today's head needle, when withdrawn from the bald spot, caused some light bleeding which was a tad disconcerting. I didn't think bleeding happened with acupuncture.

But hey, it's going to take at least 10 sessions to have an impact, though I admit I do feel kind of good afterwards. Though, as noted, I have just had a nice little rest.

It's odd that I'm not afraid really of needles anymore. I suppose when you've endured a decade at least of low-mid-high grade fairly constant pain, the occasional sting from a needle if fucking absolutely nothing.

So, crossing fingers this is all going to have a positive impact. And I'm hoping my needling in the feet and hands didn't have a knock on delayed reaction and launch that fucking itch attack I subsequently had. I might ask him about that next time I see him.

The added advantage that the dude I am seeing is also a normal doc, so he can give me scripts for meds. He also loaded me up with sample boxes of the current happy pill I am on, though wisely I checked the dose and discovered the samples were twice the strength - but the pills are easily split so it's no biggie.

Oh, the centre is sort of library-esq in that there's a number of cubicles (where the walls are not flush with the ceiling) so patients and staff typically speak in hushed tones so as not to disturb the others.

I do feel bad for the lady from the last session - she was a widow, and had brought in flowers for the doc from the garden her departed hubbie had set up. But she didn't have to have a tremendously loud and long boring fucking conversation about the flowers, their colour, their origin, and her (admittedly) sad change to her fucking relationship for fucking two minutes post her treatment, because I found it all an unpleasant intrusion in my digging on the musak and lying down experience.

So there you have it, acupuncture attendees. Whilst in the place of your needling. Please, be like the movies and shut the fuck up when you're in the room.

5 comments:

  1. "it's going to take at least 10 sessions to have an impact" yeah by which time the wallet will be much lighter and the symptoms will have wandered off on their own anyway - read the literature on this one (the real scientific literature too) Acupuncture has been studied to death by the medical profession and consistently comes up 'no better than placebo' on all the studies - the even use toothpicks on one study and pressed them randomly - had the same relaxing effect as the real needles.

    Wanna bet humans just like grooming routines - even ones with needles?

    Save your money - or get a massage - at least feels good.

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  2. I dunno, I can see that you've come to the end of your tether with the more conventional treatments, so if something gives you relief from non-expected quarters it's worth persisting.

    I'll admit though, the same few words jarred with me too when I read them. Ten sessions is a long time frame to attempt to rule out variables that may also influence your health, the cause and effect relationship is a bit hard to strap down. Magical thinking come into it?... I really don't know.
    A bit like chiropractors really, some swear by them, others are less convinced.

    You've obviously already thought about these things before booking your first appointment though.
    You've tried everything else, so good on you for being brave and open minded enough to find out if there is an alternative treatment that can help you deal with this. IBS and all its related little happy guy symptoms is so constant and persistant that it can be valuable to get some relief for your head as much as for your belly sometimes.
    If it works for you, it works for you...

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  3. Actually there is some sound scientific evidence in the literature to support acupuncture being better than placebo for certain conditions. For the life of me I can't remember what those are (probably because I don't have them), but the data is there.

    Anyway, regardless I understand what drives a person to try something unproven... I've been thinking of trying acupuncture for my hayfever for a while now, and now I'm not able to take drugs for it and am losing sleep and not just productive time during the day I am DEFINITELY going to try it.

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  4. Hey, I have my reservations I will admit. But I'm committed to trying it. Placebo, shmacebo. If I get pain relief from it, then it was probably worth it.

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  5. Sarah, you may be right and there may be something out there but the sheer range of claimed cures for acupuncture has to make you wonder at least a little surely - Hayfever AND IBS?

    and back pain, migraines, cold and flu etc.

    One question I would ask - if it is so good, why is it being dumped in China in favour of science based medicine?

    This article is worth a read: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=930

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