A Conversation With My Acupuncturist (Yes, You Heard Me Correctly)

I’ve been suffering long enough with migraine headaches and neck pain, and after a discussion with my husband’s cousin Angela over dinner, as well as the stories I’ve heard from other migraine and pain sufferers, I finally decided to try something new to try to heal me. I made an appointment with an acupuncturist.

Now, there are two things incredibly noteworthy about this decision:

#1—I am not an adventurous person, and I’ve never tried a holistic treatment for a headache except for icing my head during my migraines.

#2—I am a chicken—one of the biggest you’ll ever meet—and the idea of needles is not something that gets me excited, like say, having a deep tissue massage.

What’s remarkable is that I am sitting here tonight, after experiencing my second treatment, and I have five words to say:

I FEEL PRETTY DAMN GOOD.

I have no neck pain. I have no headache. We are treating the headaches now to see if we can prevent them as they may approach in the weeks to come. As a woman in mid-life, these headaches have come on strong and last way too long each month. There are times when I just want a new head. Any will do.

That’s where I am now, and I plan on writing about this journey a little here and there to let you know if I’m seeing any results.

Nevertheless, here’s how the conversation went as she examined me for the first time, prior to any needles entering my skin, as we tried to get a handle on my “ying and yang” issues and to get my “chi” back in order. Apparently, the root of the problem lies within my “core,” and all the pain and symptoms are emanating outward from my organs. If this sounds a bit strange to you, don’t worry. I may as well have been talking to an alien because I know so little about the principles of feng shui.

The Conversation

She:  How many days a month do you suffer from migraines?

Me:  At least five.

She: Five. Wow. Long time. Severe. (She writes it down).

Me: Yup, you could say that.

She: Does anyone in your family have heart disease?

Me: No, thank God.

She: Does anyone in your family have a blood disorder?

Me: Well, my grandfather died of Leukemia at 63.

She: Oh…(notes it). Does anyone in your family have bladder or kidney issues?

Me: (Starting to get worried…) Well, my grandmother died of bladder cancer.

She: Oh…(on the chart it goes). Do you have any trouble breathing?

Me: Let’s see, not really, but I do have bad allergies and suffer from sinus infections.

She: Ah…breathing problems…Now, one other question, do you have trouble sleeping?

Me: Yes. Panic attacks in the middle of the night or restless nights. It’s awful.

She: I see. (I’m not 100% sure, but she probably wrote “deeply troubled” or “this girl’s got some problems” on the chart at this point. Who knows…)

I was then instructed to lie face down on the table, and she decided to give me some needles in my back, which I didn’t care for very much, and got a little lightheaded. It was my first time, and like I said, I’m a chicken, and a squeamish one at that. After she ripped the needles out and I recovered, I didn’t want to go down as the biggest wimp she’d ever seen. Luckily, she asked if I would like for her to try acupuncture on the front side. I mustered up every ounce of bravery I had and agreed. The rest of the time went well. I actually relaxed on the table and allowed the needles to get my chi flowing, and hopefully in the right direction.

Two days later, the neck pain that had been plaguing me for five days went away.

That’s why I went back last night.

My friend Bari is a doctor, and we went out Saturday night to see a show in Baltimore. On the ride there, I filled her in on the idea of acupuncture for my often-debilitating headaches. She agreed that I should give it a try for one primary reason: that there is substantial data that shows that acupuncture does offer relief to migraine, as well as to some pain sufferers.

I’ll keep you posted on how this progresses. I’m intrigued, and hope that I’m one of the amazing success stories that comes from believing in and trying eastern medicine.

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