Sunday, December 23, 2007

Looking for Alternatives

Well, I'm finally going to follow some advice and try acupuncture for my current ailments. While I don't expect to find a cure for whatever the heck it is that's making me sick, I'm hopeful that it will help some with the joint pain and maybe even the fatigue.

At this point, easing my symptoms would be a huge relief.

Since my insurance doesn't cover acupuncture, my parents have generously offered to help with the expense. They have both had very good experiences with acupuncture and are hopeful it will make the difference for me.

I've done acupuncture twice before. When I lived in Yakima, WA, I found an amazing acupuncturist who had trained in mainland China and was wonderful. While she couldn't cure my shoulder problem, which ultimately required two surgeries and left me declared by the state to be permanently partially disabled, I got a lot of pain relief from it. And it amazed me how my range of motion improved while she had the needles in. Eventually, she told me that my job was making my shoulder worse and that she couldn't do anything more for me as long as I kept that job. (And you know, she was right -- when I left the AP, my shoulder finally improved to the point where it only occasionally bothers me.)

In my first year or so in Portland, I was having some back pain and sought out another acupuncturist. At that time, my insurance had some coverage for acupuncture, but there was only one approved provider in the metro area. She was locally trained (I think at the College of Oriental Medicine), and I did not have a good experience with her. Not only did the acupuncture not help my back pain, but the experience itself was painful. When I complained about it, she insisted it was supposed to hurt with the needles in. That completely contradicted my first experience and everything I've read about it. I quit seeing her after just a handful of sessions and since my insurance wouldn't cover anyone else in town, just gave up on that route.

A friend has strongly recommended an acupuncturist that she has had wonderful results with, so I'm finally going to call Monday and see if I can make an appointment for early in the new year.

Meanwhile, I've taken several DVDs out from the library looking for an exercise program that will help or at least not aggravate my symptoms. Today I tried one called Tai Chi for Arthritis. I only made it through the 10 minutes of warmup exercises before my chest pain got too strong to continue, but I'm hopeful if I do it slowly and build up, I might be able to get a little exercise. Everything I've read says that gentle exercise is good for the type of joint pain I have, whether it's caused by arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia or whatever.

I figure I'll try several different types of exercises aimed at people with chronic pain and see which one(s) work best for me, and then I'll buy my own copy. You just gotta love the library for the ability to try things out for free!

No comments: