They call me the human pincushion

Ok, not really, but “they” (who is this mysterious they we all speak of?) justifiably could.

I let a woman stick multiple needles in my body twice a week and then lay on a massage table for 30 minutes with needles hanging out.  Sometimes, when I’m really lucky, she aims a heat lamp at my feet.  It makes me feel like a lizard.  And I pay her to do this.  I have lost my mind.

A treatment room at the acupuncturist. Surprisingly cozy!

But, you know what, it works.  I went to the ED (apparently we aren’t supposed to say ER anymore) twice within three weeks last August/September because of my migraines.  I had previously been managing them with my antidepressant (truthfully, I was really taking it more for the antidepression effect, rather than the migraines) and triptans (the class of drugs that includes Zoloft and Imitrex), however all of these drugs are toxic to a fetus, so I was told to stop taking them if we were going to try to have a baby.  Long story short, I had a migraine every day for a month, including the 2 that caused me to go to the hospital and I was getting desperate for any relief.  I had a prescription for a drug that is relatively safe in pregnancy, but it’s a barbituate and a bit addictive.

Anyways, I used to work with the sweetest Taiwanese girl, H.  H suggested I try her acupuncturist for my migraines and my fertility.  Since the craniosacral (kind of a massage thing) had only helped some and was prohibitively expensive, I decided to give acupuncture a shot.  H also promised that it didn’t hurt at all.

H is a liar (love you!).  I think acupuncture is quite uncomfortable, especially during a head ache or your monthly flow.  BUT, it works.  Like no migraines in the first 3 months works.  I’m not sure it’s helping my fertility a ton, but my TSH levels went down (the were high normal) and my head doesn’t hurt, even when it rains or I don’t sleep.

So, basically the first month, my TCP (traditional Chinese physician) stuck needles in the top of my head, forehead, ears (the worst!), above my sinuses, chest, stomach, arms, hand, and legs.  The next month she flipped me over and did my low back, butt, and legs with electric stim attached (like what the use at PT or a chiropractor, but attached to needles).  Never have them turn the stim up too high, by the way, one time I did and my right calf charlie horsed from contracting too much.

So, for those who don’t know, acupuncture is believed to work by moving your life force (chi) around teaching the body to self heal.  I don’t know if I believe in this mechanism, cause that’s really not that important to me.  I know it works and it makes me feel good.  I also know that my doctor is still allowing me to only pay my $20 copay even though my insurance stopped paying her in October (she says it is more important that she help me than that she make a ton of money).

I also wanted to add that I have had my TCP treat a joint injury (sprained elbow) and would absolutely ask her to treat a running injury at the same time as going to an orthopedist.  If my shin splints ever really come back, I’ll be in her office that day.

So, to sum up, I love acupuncture, despite the discomfort and I think it’s made a huge difference in my life.  But I feel like a total weirdo telling people I get it done.

Have you ever tried alternative therapies?  Did it help?

If anyone has any questions, I’ll try to answer them.  If you live in Central OH, I’d be happy to share my doctor’s info.


About Sarah S @RunningOnWords

Married 20-something in flux and trying to cope by running and occasionally crafting.
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One Response to They call me the human pincushion

  1. this is so interesting! i love learning about different methods of medicine. i’m married to an (almost) doctor, so he’s always talking about health related things. so cool that it’s helped your headaches!

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