View Full Version : Acupuncture?

03-19-2008, 06:44 AM
Has anyone gotten significant pain relief with this? I am sooooo tired of throwing pills down my throat.

I would describe my pain as mostly moderate with more severe flare-ups depending on my activity level.

03-19-2008, 08:15 AM
Hi Chris,
I do acupuncture. I can't tell you whether I have got significant relief from it since I've been doing it for a while. My acupuncturist tells me that the post-surgery work she does on me stimulates the central nervous system to help my muscles, bones, nerves, etc. repair themselves. I also do PT and massage therapy.

I have great health care that pays for half of my acupuncture, so I don't see a loss in doing it. I figure it can't hurt, but it can only help.


03-19-2008, 08:36 AM
Thanks Anya,

I am also looking into a massage therapist who does some kind of gentle touch stimulation thing (forget the official name). My problem is my torso is so hypersensitive I jump ten feet if anyone even THINKS about touching my back. Does massage therapy help with this??

03-19-2008, 08:47 AM
Hi Chris,

Not sure if my pain is the same as yours but instead of acupuncture I have been getting Intra Muscular Stimulation...IMS.
Very similar to acupunture, the needle goes into the muscle that is tight, forces it to cramp and then the muscle relaxes. My physio does it and it has reduced my shoulder pain by about 70% after only 6 treatments along with some gentle exercises.
I am having it done because of the tilt has put my shoulder out and caused such pain I couldn't lift my arm out to the side without shooting pain. Today I can reach up over my head and it is only a little uncomfortable at the upper most extension.
I wanted the shoulder to be better before the second surgery which is tomorrow, and it is.
Hope this helps. Carol

03-19-2008, 09:22 AM
I have only done it pre-surgery, Chris.

The best result I got was a series done by a Vietnamese M.D..

My pain managment doctor (an M.D. - Anesthesiologist) referred me to him after 4 years of pain mgmt, when it became clear NO traditional method was going to give me any relief (and, man ... we tried them ALL - a few times).

For me, I had *amazing* results the first month ... absolutely NO pain for 1-2 weeks after I started seeing him. I was a little leery of needles, but by that point I was pretty much "stab me with a screwdriver just a little to the left of my right shoulder blade if it MIGHT help because it can't feel worse than this!". I assure you it wasn't painful at all. He placed maybe 30 needles (very fine gauge) in my back - and in the muscles in the back of my neck (as far up as the base of my skull), and the only thing I felt as they went in was a slight "thump" kind of pressure - absolutely no sting.

He then hooked the needles to a machine (via wires at each needle), and left me relaxing for maybe 30 minutes as the slight charge was delivered by each one.

I had the weirdest sensation of being a bit loopy when I left - and NO pain.

I don't know what happened, but after about 1-2 months, the results diminished on subsequent treatments. Someone else mentioned this effect recently, but I don't know that's it's common, nor a given.

I've also seen a Chinese doctor for treatment (that wasn't too long before I saw Hanson for the first time). The treatment was VERY different (he claimed "proper" acupuncture required no more than 7-8 needles, and no electricity. Not only did it give no pain relief, that sh** HURT!. I can't say whether it was the practictioner or the method.

The worst part was the language barrier (or he just wasn't listening ... he certainly had no problems saying "$60, please. Buy some of our oil? It balance the body!" afterwards), and I swear I thought he was understanding me.

I have a few stainless steel screws in my right outer ankle from ankle reconstruction in 2006. He put four needles in my feet, and when he picked up the other foot and started palpating that area I said "No, no, no ..." and pointed to a VERY clear scar above the screws on the other foot explaining "surgery", "metal", "NOT there". He nodded and said "Ok".

I'll be damned it he didn't pick up my right foot and try to stick a needle in there on top of the screws. He very narrowly missed a kick to head as "Chandelier Syndrome" manifested.

(that's what we used to call it when the sports trainer or ortho hits a spot on you, asking "That hurt??" and before you could answer they *had* their answer - as you were clinging the the ceiling, screaming. Geish, you've probably witnessed this with "your boys" - LOL!)

Needless to say, I didn't go back and figured (until I saw Hanson and decided on surgery) my $60 a few times a week was better spent on (in my case just as effective, more enjoyable - and *certainly* more relaxing - deep tissue massage).

So (very) long story short, Singer, yes ... I tried it, and yes, I did get marked pain relief for a while. I know it *continues* to show positive results with some people. It certainly can't hurt, although I'd clear it first with your surgeon.

He may poo-poo it (although some M.D.'s are more open these days to Eastern techniques), but just make sure it's safe. The only thing that would be a concern is that they stay away from the hardware.

Many Vietnamese and Chinese M.D.'s here in Houston have the same (and often more) training than their U.S. counterparts, but aren't licensed in the U.S. The only reason I mention this is because at various times I've had insurance that would NEVER pay for acupuncture, I've had insurance that would pay for acupuncture performed by a U.S. licensed M.D. (that's a tough one to locate!), and I've had a scenario where insurance wouldn't pay under any condition - but I could file on flex spending for coverage.

I'd suggest you check out the office, make sure all needles are sealed and disposable, and get patient references before you choose anyone (I'd bet there's a "Before you see an acupuncturist" checklist on the 'net).

Hopefully it gives you some relief, Chris. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Best regards,

03-19-2008, 09:59 AM
Thanks Anya,

I am also looking into a massage therapist who does some kind of gentle touch stimulation thing (forget the official name).

Chris, are you referring to craniosacral therapy?

03-19-2008, 10:35 AM
Thanks for all the info, Pam. I was actually warned that there were two types of acupuncture practitioners, one less integrated into the healthcare mainstream, and probably being in the camp of the second guy that you described.

As far as craniosacral therapy goes, I'm not sure -- I will get the official name from the friend who recommended it to me.

And thanks Carol, that sounds interesting and I will look into that as well.

Karen Ocker
03-19-2008, 07:00 PM
Chris: I was using my TENS machine at the point you are in recovery. You are not unique in having this type of pain less than a year post-op

03-19-2008, 07:47 PM
I've used accupuncture quite often, after my first operation and prior to my second. I found it really good, and I got considerable relief from it. I found the results didn't last that long, but it was cheap to get it done, and covered under my insurance. I had some needles put into my ear that stayed there for a few weeks, tiny ones that sat flush with the ear. I think the more open you are to it, the better the results will be. I used it in conjunction with medication too.

03-19-2008, 09:32 PM
I had surgery January 2008. I couldn't sit without severe hip pain for 6 weeks. That let up, but still had pain under my rib cage, which keeps me from sitting for any length of time. I am able to walk and try to do that as much as possible. I started acupuncture a couple weeks ago and have had good results. Electrical stimpulation with that has reduced the numbness in my back. Has anyone had the pain in the area under the rib cage?? Surgery was S1 to T9.

03-20-2008, 07:23 AM
Thanks again for replies. Karen, I'm not sure why my pain mgmt guy has been cool on the TENS machine but I go to see him in a week and I will bring it up again. Maybe because a lot of my pain is in my rib area/side incision and not my back, per se?

I think some of my discomfort comes from holding myself stiffly and tensely. When I make a conscious effort to relax, I am amazed at how tense I've been unconsciously.

My overriding feeling is that I have not yet made friends with my new back. I don't quite trust it yet......!

03-20-2008, 07:30 AM
Pam -- thanks for your PM. Your mailbox is full so I couldn't reply!