Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pin Cushion

I had acupuncture yesterday (for the first time) in a continuing effort to rid my elbow of tendonitis.

There is a stark difference in the practitioner/patient relationship in eastern vs. western medicine. When I originally called my primary care physician, I couldn't even get in to see my doc, so I had to see the P.A. She talked to me for 5 minutes, touched my elbow in a couple of places, and told me I had tendonitis. I should take ibuprofin and ice it, and if it still hurt in a week I could call a different doctor to get a cortizone shot.

I really didn't want to get a cortizone shot. I'm not squeamish about needles (thank God, right? How could I deal with Daniel's diabetes if I had that problem?). I just don't think it is the best idea to inject that stuff into your joints because once you head down that road you just can't go back again. I don't want to rely on cortizone shots to reduce pain, so I thought I'd look into other methods. A good friend of mine had success with acupuncture for pain, so I wanted to try that route. But first... a call to the insurance company. Aetna's website said that they covered some alternative therapies. It only took 3 phone calls to get it approved, and I have to say that the people on the other end of the line were very helpful. Not my usual experience with an insurance company. Of course, we'll see what happens when I submit the claim!

I went to Blue Heron Wellness. When I first walked in, then gave me a few sheets of paper to fill out (practically a biography) and sent me to the "serenity room."

(I just have to add that I was just interrupted here. Trying to get kids to bed. Had to pull out Dominic's top front tooth, which was hanging by a thread -- I used the old tie-a-string-around-and-pull method. The other top front tooth is hanging by a slightly thicker thread. It would not budge, and after a few painful tugs, we called it a night. Sorry Tooth Fairy, you might have to visit two nights in a row!)

The acupuncturist, Brendan, read over my "biography." He spent half an hour talking to me about my elbow, my tingling palm, and other things in my life that might affect my health. I think the holistic approach is so very important. After he checked range of motion & figured out exactly where everything hurt (determining in the process that it was more than just an elbow tendon causing the pain) he prepared me for the acupuncture.

There were certainly a couple of pinpoints that were "singing" louder than the others. I was able to relax through the whole thing though. And afterwards, my range of motion was improved, although for a couple of hours my hand was incredibly weak. It's fine now. But the acupuncture has made a noticeable difference in my ability to move my arm, and has reduced the tingling sensations in my palm. I'm going back in a couple of weeks for a second treatment, and once the pain goes away we'll work on massaging the area and find some strengthening exercises.

Of course, I have to be very careful how I hold my arm while typing, and I really have to limit my time on this keyboard. Rats. But I had to write about this positive experience. In the meantime I'm going to look for an ergonomic solution for my home laptop (perhaps just keeping it on my lap?) and for work.


k2 said...

OK - I have tennis elbow as well!
I'm curious to see how being a pin cushion works for u. I used it for my trigger finger and it really helped.

I will kep reading on your progress!!!

kkonmymind said...

I was amazed, too, with the difference in approach between western and eastern medicine. When I had some tingling in my right hand once, my primary care doctor wanted to give me muscle relaxants. I decided to try a chiropractor before going that route. And, no more tingling. Fixed me right up. I hope you have continued success with your elbow!

Naomi said...

I have to say, so far so good. My arm is sore, but not as awful as it was. The pin cushion thing is pretty cool.

I've never tried a chiropractor. My husband went to one after a car accident once, and it helped him. I didn't think about trying one for my arm, though; that's a good idea! I guess I always associated them with backs & necks.

dae said...

Traditional Chinese medicine is very fascinating! My grand aunt claims that acupuncture has been very beneficial for her hurting knees, for instance. And my own mom brews us herbal drinks which function as all-natural remedies for coughs and other ailments. They actually work! :)

Good luck, Naomi!