I thought I might find you over here! Hope you had a nice vacation. Did you have any more accupuncture done? Has it helped at all? W/C is going to approve it for me and I was just wondering how it did for you? How did you find someone in your area? I want to make sure I go to someone qualified and I hate to just look in the phone book. W/C and my surgeon do not have anyone that they know of. Thanks for your input!
Hi Moldova.....all my back buddies are over here!
Hi Deb! I have had 9 sessions of accupuncture. I am finding some relief with it but it is very short lived. I have not said much on the back board but I am going thru a very bad flare. In fact, I have been down for 3 weeks now with pain levels of 7,8,9 and 10's. I have had 2 ER trips for pain control in the last 3 weeks.
So as you can see it is really hard for me to say it is helping but I figure if it makes me feel relaxed during the procedure and for an hour afterwards it is well worth it. She begins each session with heat packs and does a light 15 minute massage thrown in there as well. Last time according to my son, she used 56 needles. All for a whopping price of a $15.00 co-pay. I get 40 appts of accupuncture a year then I can have 52 sessions of chiro a year. So we are going to do a combo of both and I can have 92 sessions per year.
She has said that typically one will have longer pain relief results but in my case I have had high levels of uncontrolled pain, sciatica since 2004, and 4 back surgeries so it would be hard to tell. It might take us up to 20 sessions to figure out if it is working or not.
I actually found her in the phone book and she is a chiroproctor. Her and her hubby are grouped together and they both have examined me and said I am never, ever to let anyone manipulate my back so I respect and feel comfortable with them.
I would go by word of mouth. Alot of the older generation use chiro's so you might call and ask a nursing home director if they use anyone in particular or ask your pain mgmt doctor.
Hope this helps.
How are you getting along? I know they are saying your surgery was failed too, correct?
Must be the special of the month....all back patients get a dose of increased pain! I have had increased pain for the past 3 weeks and finally I broke down and called the surgeon for a Medrol Dose pack. When that nerve gets inflammed it does help to decrease my pain somewhat.....I just HATE taking those steroids though. Yep, failed laminectomy due to permanent nerve damage and lots of scar tissue around the nerve. So I'm trying to get a grip on a life of pain management. My pain definitely isn't as bad as yours though. I'm about a 3 on a good day and 6 if I try to lead a "normal" life. Then if I actually try to lead an "active" life...well I don't do that much anymore. Mostly nerve pain in the buttocks, legs and ankles.
Thanks for the accupuncture info. I finally talked to someone who knows a family practice doctor who practices holistic medicine and is also an accupunturist, so I think I may try her. I am so surprised (and thankful) that Workers Comp has agreed to a trial run on this. You know I'll try just about anything.........
I was just reading through all your posts. I am so sorry that you have been having such an awful time. It sounds like your pain is a little more under control now. Hang in there my friend, hopefully there are brighter days ahead. Your family support sounds awesome and I know that helps get you through. Are you going to be able to continue home schooling this year?
Take care and I'll say a big prayer for you!
Deb, geez it must be the special for the month. So many people are in the midst of a bad flare right now that we need to just pray.
Be thankful they are willing to give you the steroids - right now they refuse to give me that. Do you believe it?
I could not begin to imagine having a 3 on the pain scale. My pain since surgery has not been below a 5/6 and if I get that it very rare. My pain as a rule stays at a 6/7/8.
I am thankful that they are going to pay for the accupuncture. I am not sure how helpful it is but at this point I will take a reduction in pain even if it for an hour. When I get up off the table, my legs feel like they are numb almost. It feels so good. Just be careful because I am known to stumble those first few steps afterwards.
Yes, I have already started homeschooling the munchkins. We are doing it part-time to get into the swing of things for the month of August. We had a family meeting to decide if we would continue and all was in agreement that we would continue. For our family, it works.
I have had 9 sessions of accupuncture. I am finding some relief with it but it is very short lived. It might take us up to 20 sessions to figure out if it is working or not. I actually found her in the phone book and she is a chiroproctor.
Hey Pepper and Deb (Deb, nice to meet you)-
Deb-- I don't know if money is an issue for you, but noticed that you are in Richmond , VA - they have a community acupuncture center there - sliding scale $20-$40. I resisted going to "community acupuncture" for a while b/c I had my own acupuncturist and liked her. But I now pay $15 and I paid her $55/treatment. At $15, I can get acupuncture far more frequently and I haven't noticed any big difference in the quality - My understanding is that 1-3x/week is best for chronic conditions at first.
I don't know if there is a placebo effect for me, or what, but I have had great results with acupuncture. After meds, it's my number 2 source of pain relief. I can feel things change on the table and usually feel the pain level dropping within 10-20 minutes. I could not have made it through the last year without acupuncture. I had to go 3x a week in the beginning, but it made a significant difference in my pain level. From my experience and discussion with diff. acupuncturists, it can take time for there to be a significant response - some people respond immediately - others see a slow, gradual improvement over the course of months to a year. I've found it incredibly helpful for other problems as well. I've had a stye under my eye twice - once it was huge and extremely ugly and painful. Doctors couldn't do anything - said they would have to drain it surgically if it didn't go away on it's own. After more than 2 weeks of agony, I went to the acupuncturist and it began draining over night. Had another one a month ago-small b/c I caught it early. Gone w/i 2 treatments. I've used it for just about everything from the common cold to anxiety - it's just incredibly effective for me. At the new place I go to, I almost always wind up asleep, regardless of how agitated I feel when I go in.
Pepper, I think that you should see *some* improvement before 20x though and consider trying out one or two others if you aren't getting noticeable relief. I've had different results with different acupuncturists. There are acupuncturists who specialize in treating pain. Many want to prescribe herbs - I've been cautious about the herbs [tho less so lately - I use amino acids, herbal supplements like valerian, essential oils, etc.] b/c I'm concerned about interactions w/ my meds. Many swear that herbs won't interact, but I know that isn't accurate from reading about various herbs on the web.
My pain levels are a lot lower than yours though - perhaps that's why it's easier for me to feel the results. I'm almost embarrassed to say I have experienced a zero and that it usually ranges from 2-5. The big problems occur when I do something new or any number of activities that move my head, neck upper back. It's the flare ups [and I can almost always trace them to a specific activity] that cause the worst pain for me. If I don't have a flare, I can often keep the pain down to a 2-3 level
IHMO, 50 needles is far more than I've ever had in years of acunpuncture -- probably 20 max. They usually try not to add too much so that it doesn't completely wipe me out and while the treatment is designed to address specific issues, it's also holistic - the combination of needles matters. Maybe chiropracters who do acupuncture are trained differently??
Does your acupuncturist check you tongue and pulses on both hands each time? These are their primary [aside from the client's comments] diagnostic tools. They have also looked for the right point by testing an area to find the spot where it is tender. If a needle is working well, I often get a deep radiating feeling from the pt. where the needle is. It's also rare for an acupuncturist to put a needle in where you are feeling pain. Some of the needles are very painful going in [I have cursed more than once - if you have any trouble w/ painful needles you can use breathing techniques [which also help acupuncture work better if you do it throughout the session - I'm usually too lazy]--exhale slowly when the needle goes in. Alternatively, coughing hard also helps. The painful needles almost always but settle down fairly quickly - the acupuncturist removes them if they continue to hurt. It's my understanding that the painful ones are often some of the more effective ones or are treating something that is important. I've never been to one who is also a chiropracter - I'm a bit scared of chiropracters - mostly b/c of the stories I've heard. I've only had one experience... I wish I could get a light massage as well though the one and only massage I've had since my accident caused horrible pain for several weeks. I would very much like to try cranio-sacral treatments as well [I've only had one and I couldn't tell if it made a difference]- my PM doctor actually mentioned these - I was a bit surprised b/c she seems so firmly in the camp of western medicine.
Originally Posted by 123dietdrpepper
All for a whopping price of a $15.00 co-pay. I get 40 appts of accupuncture a year then I can have 52 sessions of chiro a year. So we are going to do a combo of both and I can have 92 sessions per year.
What kind of insurance do you have?! I have yet to get insurance that will pay for more than $100 a year!
Last edited by Confused089; 08-14-2008 at 10:50 PM.
Was at the beach for a week and didn't have the computer with me.
Confused089......I must say your post has certainly brightened my day! The accupuncture works for you!! I am actually on Workers Comp and they have agreed to a trial run of accupuncture for pain relief. From what I understand this is a first for them to agree to accupuncture since it is not "real medicine"...their words, not mine. I have the name of two people in the Richmond area, both physicians as well as accupuncturists. I am calling the surgeon tomorrow to give him the names and he will then order the treatment. I'm hoping to have all the "red tape" taken care of and an appointment next week. Your info about how they look for the target areas is interesting and I appreciate the info. I have absolutely no experience with accupuncture so any info that anyone has about what to look for and what to expect....I am totally open to it.
We went to the beach....the ride down hurt my back so bad.....walking on the beach hurt.....sitting too long and reading hurt.....sitting through a nice dinner out, hurt.....all the things you do at the beach...hurt. I ate pain pills like crazy just to try and enjoy myself. This sucks!!!!!
Pepper, any relief for you yet, my friend?
Hey Deb, Sorry if I'm jumping in on your thread to Pepper, but I just wanted to add that my S-I-L had end stage liver cancer and part of what hospice offered her was accupuncture, every day if she wanted it. She told me that the sessions helped her, albeit temporarily, and she was never sure if it actually helped with the pain, or if it just relaxed her to the point where she could get some much needed rest. it was one of the few things she actually looked forward to, toward the end.
I also wanted to mention Reiki sessions. I don't know if you've heard of it, or tried it before, but I know that I went in a bit skeptical and came out very much convinced. It too, was only temporary relief, but I honestly don't remember when I have had such low pain scale numbers in years. It lasted about 4 or 5 hours and it was a bit of a let-down as I felt that old familiar feeling settling back in, but I have wanted to do it again and just haven't had a chance, with summer being so busy.
I won't be going back to the place that I had it done initially, because it was quite expensive. It would have cost me $85, if I had paid for it myself. (It was at a high end spa and my daughter gave me the session for mother's day) But I have done some searching and have found a few Reiki masters around my area who charge more like $40 per session. My insurance doesn't pay for any "alternative" medicine, unfortunately.
Best of luck with whatever avenues you end up trying. I really believe that it can't hurt to give some of the more "ancient" remedies a chance sometimes. Heck, many of these methods have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. So, why not give them a shot? Please let us know how it goes. CMP/MM
Confused089......I must say your post has certainly brightened my day! The accupuncture works for you!!Deb
I'm glad I was able to brighten your day! :-) It has always worked incredibly well for me [you can run a search on my screen name and acupuncture] to see what else I have said. I know it works more slowly for some people and has varying effects on pain. It stimulates your endorphins, which is one reason it provides pain relief, but there are others as well. I assume you need to see a "doctor" who does acupuncture since they also do "real medicine." I wonder if they have the level of training acupuncturists get - I will be curious to hear about your sessions and whether or not they are different from those I have had with acupuncturists. I was surprised, for example, that Pepper's acupuncturist put 50 needles in - this doesn't sound right to me given my experience. I think the most I have ever had is 20, and the acupuncturist has usually commented that this many be "too much" for me/my body. But, different traditions of acupuncture may have completely different techniques/practices so it's possible that her chiro/acupuncturists simply had a different form of training.
If you don't feel like you are getting *any* relief after 5-6 sessions, you should try someone different [if that's allowed]. Personally, I would love to get off of all the medication - I know if would take quite a while to do this however, and I am under a lot of pressure with both time and money.
Not all acupuncturists check for sore areas when they are putting in a needle. However, my experience [10 years now] as been that they check pulses on both hands and examine your tongue [you can do research to see if this is the case for all acupuncturists - I wouldn't want you or Pepper to discount someone b/c they do acupuncture differently - but I would ask about their training if you aren't getting relief or if they aren't checking your pulse or tongue - or less threatening might be a question along the lines of "I've heard acupuncturists traditionally check pulses and the tongue to help make a diagnosis - was your training different?" I think doctors can take short course in acupuncture to become certified, and may not have the extensive training that acupuncturists have. I could be *completely* wrong about this however.
I hope it helps you - again, switch if you aren't getting *any* relief fairly soon after starting treatment...
Confused089 and cmpgirl......thanks to you both for your input! Yes, since I am no longer a surgical candidate (can't fix scar tissue and nerve damage) it is time to look at alternative medicine. I talked to one acupuncturists office today and I still need to get the name of the other. I also have found 2 acupuncturists who are not MD's. Confused089, you gave me great food for thought....do MD's have to go through the same rigorous training just by the mere fact that they are MD's? Do they have to have the same hands on experience? They MAY actually not be the best practitioners. I'll look into that.
Confused089....you have been doing this regularly for 10 years to help control the pain???
Funny you mentioned Reiki....I actually have a friend of a friend who is a Reiki master and I have thought of going to her. I don't want to overlap the acupuncture and the Reiki so I'll know which, if either, of them works.
If anyone was watching the Olympics last night...they actually had a segment on acupuncture, many athletes bring their own personal acupuncturists to the games with them! It was very informative and I'm sure will be quite a boost for their business!
Deb, my accupuncturist is actually going on a trip in support of some sportsman and she goes out of the country for these events frequently. Could you imagine? Her and her hubby both are chiropractors and do these then tack on some rather nice vacations on the side of these busines trips.
Just a quick update. W/C has approved the acupuncture trial!!! I am pleasantly surprised!! I will be seeing a Dr. David Groopman. He has medical degrees in Emergeney med and Rehab med as well as acupuncture. I gave W/C 2 names and they did their own research and want me to make an appt. with this guy. I'll keep you updated. I am just praying that this will help!
Deb, good luck! It can take some time, but you *should* feel some relief within a few weeks (usually best to start w/ 2x to 3x/week but the acupuncturist will often tell you how many times she/he think you should come in for acupuncture (and I imagine that wc has stipulated how many treatments and possibly how often you can receive a treatment). If it doesn't work with one person however, don't assume it won't work for you. I've had a few acupuncturists who, for whatever reason, didn't seem to help - or helped once or twice and then I got no relief (obviously, I switched pretty quickly! One of them charged $110/session - it *has* to work at that price!). Helped me a lot today - I feel like the effects are wearing off somewhat 6 hours later, but it often last far longer. I 'forgot' to remind the acupuncturist to treat my arm/hand - so I got relief for my neck but hand has been bothering me all day...Usually, it's the last thing to bother me (Ie, my hand pain is more sporadic than my neck pain, which is pretty constant).
I look forward to hearing about your experience. I'm curious about how, if at all, acupuncture done by doctors may differ from that done by acupuncturists. I'm wondering if they will check your pulses (apparently this takes a lot of training to do well - it isn't like a 'normal' pulse - there are 100s?? of different pulse readings off each hand. Reading the tongue is supposed to be more straightforward. I suppose I could look it up, or ask my acupuncturist, but I'm curious about how the training differs as well. BTW, I asked my acupuncturist about the 50 needles Pepper was getting, and she said that she knew acupuncturists who used a lot of needles - she didn't say that there was anything 'wrong' with using a of needles - she just said it could really wipe the patient *and* acupuncturist out [b/c of the time involved in placing so many needles). So, doesn't sound like one form is better or worse than another - it is whatever works for you - I find that their 'favorite' techniques vary alot and that some acupuncturists are more prone to putting in 'painful' needles [I using breathing to help or coughing to distract myself if it's a really tough one - they almost always settle down within a couple minutes. I've had other acupuncturists whose needles caused very little or no pain going in...
I think you might have asked if I have been going for over ten years for chronic pain - the answer is no - I had back/neck pain before my accident but went somewhat infrequently. I honestly can't remember the first time I tried it or what the treatment was for - it's been *great* for anxiety as well as sporadic issues. It's really only in the last couple years that I began using it a lot for chronic pain.
BTW, Reiki, craniosacral, amino acid/herbal/vitamin treatments, biofeedback, hyponotherapy, tai chi [restorative yoga again if I feel like I have enough pain control - right now, I'm afraid it might aggravate everything] are uhhh, just a couple of the different things I want to try. Time and money....:-(
So, when you post about your experience, post the details! :-) *Really* hope it helps you! Just reread your pulse - "trial" of acupuncture - be sure to tell teh doctor/acupuncturists all your conditions or anything that is off - anxiety, depression, physical issues, insomnia, etc. If it helps with anything else, and but not pain, and you can't switch, you might want to sugarcoat your response a little :-). I hope you're not their "one" trial of acupuncture - works for Deb, start paying for others, doesn't work, never again for other WC patients...this would be super scientific but I can see it happening!
Last edited by Confused089; 08-20-2008 at 09:24 PM.
Hi Confused.....thanks so much for all the wonderful info. You have been so helpful!! The acupuncturist is on vacation till next Tuesday so I can't make my appt yet, but now that I know it is approved I am very anxious to get started!! I just have a really good feeling about this.
You know, I also worry if it doesn't help me that W/C may not approve it for someone else who may benefit greatly from it. A little pressure being the one to "blaze the way".
I will most definitely keep you all updated.....you can learn so much from others...that's why we have these wonderful boards!!
Deb, so I asked my acupuncturist about the differences in training - acupuncturists do the equivalent of 4 years training in three years (not quite sure what she meant - probably summers are included) and have 3000 hours of training. Doctors may be certified in acupuncture with about 200 hours. Chiropractors have to undertake the same amount of training as acupuncturists. She said that doctors will often specialize in something like acupuncture for pain (while trad. trainined acupuncturists are trained broadly). She teaches at the college of acupuncture here so I think she knows her stuff. She certainly did not say that she thought that the acupuncture doctors performed was inferior b/c they haven't had as much training. She mentioned a few doctors she knew that she thought were very good.
I'm afraid it was a short conversation, so I didn't learn anymore. I respect any doctor who integrates eastern and western medicine and think they have something unique to bring to the table. It's quite possible your doctor won't check your pulse or your tongue, but he may bring something to the table that a traditionally trained acupuncturist wouldn't. I can't imagine it won't be beneficial - especially with the attitude you have going in - sometimes, *believing* something can make a difference is half the battle..:-)
Last edited by Confused089; 08-22-2008 at 10:41 PM.