Thursday, June 10, 2010

Needle in a Haystack (or foot or knee or wrist)

Recently, I have seen a lot of people on twitter asking about acupuncture, so I thought I'd put my two cents in.

The first time I went for acupuncture was actually for treating my TMJ. I'm a tooth clencher/grinder, and even with a night guard, I sometimes have issues. I had reached the point where my lips were numb, and my dentist suggested I add acupuncture to the treatment plan. I had a friend who was apprenticing at a local clinic, and he recommended one of the practitioners there (who was on my insurance plan, as luck would have it). I wasn't entirely sure what I thought about it, but I was certainly willing to give it a shot.

The first visit, she asked me about a million and three questions before she stuck me full of needles. Can I just say how bizarre it was to lie there with a face full of needles? But after laying completely motionless and on the edge of sleep for about an hour, needles out and I felt so refreshed and peaceful. She asked me if there was anything else, and I remembered something I had forgotten to tell her about in the beginning.

A few months earlier, I had cut myself quite badly on a trash bin, necessitating a tetanus shot. Well, it turned out, I was still carrying sufficient immunity and had a bad reaction to the shot. I lost about 50% mobility in that arm for a couple of weeks. Three months later, I was still only at about 75% of my full range of motion in that arm. I explained all of this, and she said, "Oh! I can fix that!" She had me put that arm behind my back, palm out, and show her how far up my back I could move it. She then stuck a needle in one of my legs, and asked me to move my arm higher. After a few more minutes with the needle in my leg, I had equal range of motion in both arms for the first time in months. And I was officially converted.

After that, any time my TMJ, migraines or sciatica got out of control, I headed back for more acupuncture. And when infertility began to loom as a larger part of my reality, I began to see references to acupuncture as complementary treatment. I started noticing articles about studies showing it to be beneficial to fertility. I knew what acupuncture had done for me in the past, and once again, I was willing to give it a shot.

I had been having weekly treatments for just over a month when I first met with the RE and got the Luteal Phase Deficiency diagnosis, and in that time, she had already corrected my early/extended spotting issues. Another month of weekly treatments, and I got my first and only positive HPT. Coincidence? Maybe. But in the ensuing aftermath of miscarriage and subsequent cycles, I just didn't have time to go back for more acupuncture, and neither have I had another positive.

After the last BFN (which was accompanied by a recurrence of the early/extended spotting), the nurse said it was time to schedule another consultation with the RE, to revisit the plan going forward. It seemed like this current cycle might be the last shot with an IUI, so I wanted to throw every possible advantage at it. I decided it was time to bite the bullet (or the needle) and head back to the acupuncturist. At this point, I can definitively say that the spotting issue has been sorted out again. In a day or so, we'll know even more.

I don't know how or why it works. I don't necessarily drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak. My RE told me not to take the herbs, so I don't. But I will keep going back, because I have seen results. And I will encourage anyone who asks, try it for yourself. And check with your insurance company first. You might just be surprised.

1 comment:

  1. i am so on the fence about acupuncture. my mom really wants me to give it a shot, but i just don't know.....

    (what would jen do)