Acupuncture and Back Pain

As shocking as it may seem, being in a sort of smallish body and building two babies at once took a toll on what used to be a¬†pretty strong structure. I’ve always thought I was tonka tough. But two little bouncy boy babies have brought me d-o-w-n. I’m finally admitting defeat, and tapping out.

Fortunately, tapping out in this case just means I’m going to try to take care of myself rather than ignore the constant thud of pain in my back. Way back, around two years ago I was told by the surgeon who was fixing my umbilical hernia (another twin-pregnancy smackdown) that I was going to have back problems. My thoughts were as follows:

  1. Clearly he has no idea who he’s talking to.
  2. Back pain is for the same type of people who actually get sick.
  3. If my back hurts there’s always Ibuprofen.

And while I’ve been laying on my back, on the floor, faced with the multitude of marbles and books that have collected under the couch and TV stand over the past two days I have finally had to admit: he could be right. My back not only hurts, but it is a problem. I did nothing weird to tweak it out, simply putting Smitty’s shoes on, bent over in half. While holding Sheppard. As I’ve done seven thousand times before. But that was that and now I cannot even really stand up straight without some real driving effort.

My name is Jodi, and I have a problem with my back. (I also was forced to admit I was sick not more than a few weeks back. Apparently this is a “learning” year for me. YAY!)

So. After admitting that my “ignore this” approach was going nowhere, and taking several fistfuls of ibuprofen which wasn’t even coming close to touching the pain, I made an appointment with an acupuncturist. I have more than a few friends whom I respect that have said this is something that has helped. And in my vulnerable state of only being able to lie down flat, I kind of admitted defeat.

So here’s the spoiler: I’m not sure if I’m into it or not. The session was great: the acupuncturist¬†(is that what they’re called?) was empathetic and warm and attentive. I absolutely felt something during my time there – kind of like a river of pain moving from needle to needle, and then finally disappearing. I particularly enjoyed the sensation of a heat lamp on my back while lying there for around 30 minutes, alone, with needles everywhere, listening to a white noise machine giving me ocean waves simulation. I did love that. And walking home, I felt totally zen’d out. I felt better, for sure. But my caveman skeptical brain wonders if it’s just the actual laying down still for an hour that helped, the psychological boost of actually being proactive against this, time passing, or a combination of everything that was effective.

So I’m going to try more. They suggested that I combine some chiropractic care with acupuncture and I feel like I probably should. I’m trying to place my doubting brain aside and put a little bit of faith in people who spend their lives helping to fix up broken bodies like mine. I figure I’ll follow their plan for one month – maybe two acupuncture sessions and two chiropractic sessions, and if things go well I’ll continue. If they’re not, then I’ll go back to my ignoring this problem solution which is not actually helpful, but is totally free and takes up pretty much no time.

13 thoughts on “Acupuncture and Back Pain

  1. I’ve been there, taking the fistfulls of ibuprofen on the off chance it would help., and hot water bottles and damped heating pads. For me, all of the above helped, but I’m not the one in charge of the care and feeding of four other people, three of whom are under 10yrs of age. You are in a different place and if the acupuncture and chiropratic do the job excellent. I’m in Toronto, Canada and I’ve been reading your bro’s blog for years…just started to get into yours and I will say that I’m diggin’ it….lovin the different viewpoints and your overall sense of self. Get better soon.

  2. Try the chiropractor. Try a few if the first one doesn’t seem to help. There are different methods and people respond to differently to the different techniques. I wasn’t a believer until a few years back. Now I go when I have a consistent pain…

  3. Ken gives good advice about Chiropractors. I would totally agree that if you don’t like the first, try a different one. They have different approaches and different personalities. (I have 4 in my family and have been to several on my own, so I’ve seen this first hand.)

    Also, it takes a little time for your body to sort of agree to the changes that you’re asking it to make when you get adjusted. Your muscles have to adjust to holding your vertebrae in a different position, and they tend to want to go back to the same-old-same-old at first. So if the Chiro asks you to come in once a week for a month and then back off to every two weeks or more…that actually makes sense. I’d recommend a few months of care if your insurance covers it.

    I’ve been experiencing back pain recently, too, so I’m curious how your continued acupuncture treatments go. I’ve never tried it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have back and hip pain related to pregnancy and having a toddler on my hip so much. For me, it’s been a combo of acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy exercises that have healed me. Until I really started strengthening things, I didn’t feel better consistently.

    (And I agree. I think half of my love of acupuncture is just being alone in a quiet room for 30 minutes. Beware, sometimes my body super reacts to it and it gets kind of overwhelming. Drink lots of water!)

  5. Hey Jodi,

    I still don’t know if it’s the combo of lying still, an attentive woman or the needles; but I’m pretty sure, after two years of regular acupuncture for a shoulder injury that the orthophedist (is that how Americans call it?) had no idea what to do with. So I’m going with the needles.
    I think it makes sense to see what happens; my acupuncturist told me in my first session that if there wasn’t any improvement within three sessions, we should try something else. I still think that is good advice.
    Good luck!

  6. Hi Jodi,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now. I’ve never commented because I’m not a parent but I really appreciate your families approach to children and life in general. Thanks for sharing

    Ok, on to the topic at hand…I spent 24 years in the Navy, most of it on ships, and have some serious issues in my back and neck. I went through physical therapy and several drugs but with only very limited success. When I was seen by an orthopeadic surgeon who said I needed surgery, I balked at that and he agreed to try chiropractic care. It was life changing for me. I only rarely experience pain now and it can be treated with Motrin usually. I havent tried accupuncture, I have a needle thing so…anyway try the chiro, it may take a few visits. Good luck!

  7. I’ve been a devoted fan of both chiropractic care and acupuncture for almost 20 years now. When my son was born, my tailbone was badly bruised and one of my hips was tweaked. (small narrow hips… somethings gotta give, y’know?) Chiropractic care helped get everything back in place, and since they also discovered a whole lot wrong with my back, I’ve continued to see someone ever since. I firmly believe that everyone should have regular care under a skilled chiropractor. There is just no comparison for how your body feels when everything is right, and in the right place.

    And acupuncture cured me of chronic sinus infections, as well as other ills that occur when the body gets whacked out on life; carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory infections, a bone spur in my neck…. and that zen you felt is very, very real. I love that feeling!! Keep going, and know that it may take more than a month, but it’s absolutely worth it in every regard. You will wonder why you waited so long.

  8. I’m 46 – in reasonably good shape & health – and messed up my back doing something inexplicably simple about two months ago. The first night, it took me 15 minutes just to get out of bed. Chiropractic saved my life!! First time for everything. Good luck!

  9. Definitively chiropractor or osteopath… And wyou may only need a sessio or two. Heal well!

  10. I think that it will be good to try these procedures once in a while because 1. it does not involve operation (which I am definitely scared of) and 2. it’s just needles. You see, I also have a thing for needles but I’d rather face it than run from it all my life. Even though I haven’t tried chiropractor and acupuncture, I would definitely try to do this, especially that I have a recurring upper back pain; and I think it has t do with muscles though. I feel like its already worn out but let us see…

  11. Definitely try chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, lifestyle adjusting. Avoid surgery if at all possible. The dirt about surgery for the back, particularly fusion, that people tend to gloss over is that while it can provide relief, in the long term it often leaves one with renewed/new/or other back problems.

  12. Back pain is not generally caused by a serious condition and, in most cases, it gets better within 12 weeks. It can usually be successfully treated by taking painkillers and keeping mobile.,-;”

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