Monday, January 28, 2008

Pins and Needles, Needles and Pins ...

I had my first acupuncture appointment last Saturday and I go back again this Saturday and several Saturdays after that. My unsurance, Oxford, only partially covers alternative treatment so my co-pays at an "approved provider" would have been either 70 or 90 dollars a pop. Instead, I opted to go to the Tri-State College of Acupuncture, located near me at 14th and 8th Avenue.

There were a bunch of us sitting in the waiting area, and of course I'm wondering how many of these people are ahead of me for a nine thirty appointment. Turns out, the class lets out at that time and we all get teamed up with a pair of pin-pushers and go to the back. I had an Asian guy who looked like he was ready for his close up, nattily dressed and all officious in his white coat, and a Russian or other Eastern European woman who seemed disappointed that I had so many scars.

They talked to me for a long time, asking all kinds of questions about how I was sleeping and if I had any digestive problems, etc. It was kind of depressing to have to rattle off my list of stuff that's wrong. The clicking in my hip, the pain in my neck, the occasional sciatica, the leg pain, the acid reflux, the two surgeries on my arms, the sinus surgery; it was such a litany that I decided not to even report the biopsy that I'd had on my right breast two weeks ago and that was still seeping blood.

They called in their supervisor, a Chinese lady with an accent so thick I could barely understand her questions. Mostly what she was saying was "better?" when they stuck me with a needle or pressed somewhere.

I had needles everywhere. My arms, ankles, knees, and that was just the front side. They had me flip over and did the same thing to my back.

I can't say that I felt all that much better afterward, but they said it's an ongoing thing, so I might not feel anything for the first few treatments. They also have a pain clinic on Tuesdays that they recommended to me in addition to the Saturday appointments.

It seems like this is going to be a life-long thing with my back.

I have to say, I was looking forward to being pain-free for at least a little while, but a few months into my recovery from the low back surgery, the upper back and neck starting getting painful. When I discussed the upper back pain with Teresa at Dr. Balderston's office, she told me that the cervical disc replacement surgery was a lot easier than the lumbar. Okay.

I have high hopes for the acupuncture.

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