I live in California and it seems everyone around here has tried acupuncture. I don’t have a fear of needles or pain, but for some reason just never felt the need to try it out. But after having my second child 18 months ago, I was left with 2 herniated discs that were leaving me with sometimes debilitating pain radiating into my right hip and down my leg. The pain was made worse by sitting for long periods, so I had to leave my job in pharmaceutical sales as all of the driving was aggravating the pain. I proceeded to try everything every doctor recommended: I went to physical therapy, regularly visited a chiropractor, took numerous medications, took up yoga, stretched like crazy, used hot packs and cold packs, so on and so forth. Nothing was working. I was faced with my last option before surgery which was to get epidural steroid injections. I’ve heard good and bad about those and didn’t really want to be stuck having to get them regularly. After several people suggesting it, I decided to finally give acupuncture a try.
I visited Nadia Ayadi at Eastlake Acupuncture in Chula Vista, CA and gave her a run down on my pain history. She assured me that acupuncture would help me, but that it may take some time to get real results. I went into it a bit skeptical, not really expecting much at all, so I was glad to hear she wasn’t making promises of immediate relief as I didn’t think that would be at all possible. Was I ever in for a surprise! I felt drastically better right after my first session and the relief lasted for several days, longer than the few hours she said it may last. I left in a euphoric state, similar to the feeling of drinking a glass or two of wine, but I felt great! I continued visiting Nadia weekly for a couple of months and every time I went, my pain felt better and better and the relief would last longer. Within those first couple of months, I was able to make it the entire week without feeling much pain. We then decided to try to spread out my visits to every other week and eventually every 3 weeks. I get an occasional flare-up where the pain will come back for a day or two, but it usually seems to just go away on it’s own.
I’m now about 4 months in and getting ready to cut back to just once a month acupuncture visits. I am in awe at how much better I feel. Most days, I don’t even notice or think about the hip pain that use to interfere with my life on a daily basis. I can drive my kids around town painlessly again, I can go out to dinner and sit comfortably in restaurant chairs, I can travel on airplanes effortlessly. I am so amazed at the positive impact acupuncture has had on my life! I’ve also recently taken advantage of acupuncture for sinus problems, and that works wonders too!
I know for most people who have never tried acupuncture, the first question is always “does it hurt?” For me the answer is not really! I may have a higher tolerance for pain, and the feeling can be different for everyone, but I don’t tend to feel the needles being placed or removed. I feel a light tap for the most part, with some exceptions. The ear points I feel a little bit, but the pain isn’t too intense and it’s very brief. When I had acupuncture for my sinuses, the points on my hands hurt a bit, and those on either side of the nose were the most sensitive that I’ve experienced and they made my eyes water, but again it was brief. But it was worth it to walk out of there being able to breathe! I’d say give it a try for what ails you, even if you do experience some minor pain, it may be well worth it to get rid of a more cloying pain you’ve had for ages!