Meet My New Old Friend, Acupuncture!
My Brain’s Too Full, full of (mostly) excuses, a bit of fear, a bit of grief, a bit of overwhelmedness.
And i’ve missed you.
What made this Missing You worse was thinking of you each day when I’d hear on the radio a commercial for healing foot pain. This commercial specifically names (boo, hiss) Plantar Fasciitis (“PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus), the delightful feeling you’ve got the sharpest Lego ever molded stabbing the heel of your foot/feet.
Why did I think of you? Why does that commercial bother me? Because I tried them, and other things. And because Plantar Fasciitis (PF) is common, and if you have it, you might be curious how I got rid of it:
from the Mayo website: “Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain.”
A Little Back Ground:
My first PF relationship, a dozen years ago, was finally cured by my sister’s (a non-medical professional) advice: stretch. Before rising from bed, I’d lift my leg straight up, bend my toes toward my face, to stretch the plantar fascia. Finally, after weeks of these stretches, it went away.
So long, don’t write, I won’t miss you.
But then in early 2015 the plantar fasciitis returned. Unexpected. Uninvited. My foot wasn’t being stretched, cuz I wasn’t swimming, cuz I was recovering from carpel tunnel and “tennis elbow” surgeries.
No problem, undesirable guest, I’ll just stretch You away!
But it got worse! My feet wouldn’t hurt for just a couple steps when I got up to walk, but all the time I walked, and all throughout the day.
Same Idea, stretch that fascia!
Not my poster, not my body
Well, you know how it goes, and I am not complaining…
I am grateful for all the medical opportunities we enjoy in this country.
And I know there are people who have it much worse, both the physical problems and the “run-around” with the medical and insurance communities.
Having said that…
Got Persistent Pain?
After several months of PT …
Stretches and exercises and extremely cold treatments and an hour later my feet just want to be up in my lay-z-boy for the rest of the day.
After 3 months of this twice-weekly physical therapy, I stopped going. Quitting PT may not have been the best decision; it’s just what I did. And to be honest I’m not a very good example at all because I didn’t do faithfully (or even very much) my exercises at home.
After two years of PF and PT and PoDiatrist, I was desperate for another (non-surgical) solution.
“Leave us alone,” my feet screamed
Now’s the Good Part:
Not the cruise ship’s brochure
But first I enter a plane, a boat, and a Spa.
In September of 2016 I wore my sensible shoes and fashionable old-lady black compression socks on the plane to Boston, where our cruise ship would depart.
Once on board, we scurried to the Spa Area to make appointments for massages, my hub’s favorite thing to do without me. The Spa peeps also chatter you into a tour to hear about all their pricey treatments, including Acupuncture.
The acupuncturist, a Marine veteran who studied acupuncture after it cured his pains, gave me a brochure of “Ailments Acupuncture May Help”. One ailment was Plantar Fasciitis, my feet’s companion, which I don’t leave home without.
I got to thinking… acupuncture costs about $500 for 3 treatments, plus discounts if you book more, and before midnight, you get a set of steak knives. (Beware the sales pitch).
Hmm. $500 is about what I’d spent on 3 pair of Good Arched Shoes. What I might have to spend again on PT/PD visits. I’ve tried “everything” else except surgery.
Not my Acupuncturist … and not his finger
Not my acupuncturist, not my legs
well, Sign me Up!
The rest is easy. I saw him 3 times over the next week or so of the cruise. My feet didn’t feel particularly different after the first session, but somewhere during the 3 treatments, the PF left and hasn’t returned. Hallelujah!
And I still don’t exercise much.
I still marvel at that healing. If there’s a quack, a medical fraud anywhere, you’d think they might be on a cruise ship, where a negative social review probably wouldn’t harm them. But nope, it worked marvelously.
And I want to share it with you!
15 Pointy tips about acupuncture!
(1) I’ve been to 4 different acupuncturists, and depending upon the area you need treated, you’ll need to take off your clothes. Of course he/she should leave the room, and you should have some sort of drapery, like a gown or sheet.
(2) When I went for a nagging hip issue, she wanted to also add needles to do an overall balancing My Chi whatever whatever first. (I should pay attention to that) but really I think, Just make my pain go away already!
(3) Your acupuncturist should be willing, (perhaps after the initial overall treatment mentioned above) to address/poke you with needles for several issues, if the source points/meridians? are in different areas. So be prepared to share all your aches: migraine, congestion, feet, hands, etc.
(4) For PF he put the very skinny needles in the back of my leg, where the nerves run up from the foot. I don’t remember any in my feet, but that was a while ago. So expect they might place needles in a new area from your more recent non-acupuncture treatments.
Use sterile, disposable needles
Needles may be placed in strange places on yer bod…
5) Depending on your ailment(s), it may take more than one treatment!! Especially if you continue to do the same motions and behaviors that created that ache.
(6) Now I must admit sometimes a specific needle may sting just when it’s inserted. That could mean it’s hitting just where it needs to hit, or perhaps they can adjust it if you notice (while they’re placing other needles) that the discomfort isn’t going away. The key is to talk to your needle placer.
(7) After they insert the needles, they’ll probably leave the room so the needles can do their thing for about 20-30 minutes, (which may depend on the area). So you may get a little nap out of it.
(8) If your back is being treated, you’re gonna be half naked. Be sure to tell them if you’re feeling chilled, as they may have a heat lamp, light-weight foil blanket, heated table etc. Better to ask them to cover/heat you up before they leave the room. You need to relax, not shiver.
(9) He/she may offer to turn on some aromatherapy (smelly oils diffusing in the room). If it’s already going and you don’t like it, ask to turn it off or move it before your session.
(10) I would recommend agreeing to spa music (soft instrumentals) or having your own relaxing music to cover outside noises like phones/doors/other customers’ yakking about their chi, chai, and feng shui.
Furry man feet, not mine
No more silly walk!
11) I asked if she had to insert the needle farther in for “heavy” people (thinking stupidly that it had to hit the nerve close to our skeletons). “It depends,” she replied, but it’s not in the nerve (yeeow! too painful) but something about where the meridians are relative to the surface of the skin?? So don’t assume it’ll be (too) painful.
(12) Use social media reviews to find the right fit (person, place, methods, philosophy). You probably know and can ask people who use alternative medicines; we don’t have to embrace (or know) about it all to benefit from some.
(13) My acupuncturist sticks tiny bead magnets in a kind of tiny square bandage inside my upper ear after I’m done. I don’t know why, but it’s part of the cost, so hey, I’m game.
(14) Invariably they’ll have some vitamins/supplements etc to promote, so be ready. I do take the anti-inflammatory supplement, but you can certainly decline it then (or when you run out). Sometimes just say I’m starting slow, let’s see how the acupuncture goes. Or I say my husband won’t let me buy anything. Ha ha. Jk. He’s the softie who first bought the anti-inflamm.
(15) Speaking of my husband he says he feels much better now that he’s having acupuncture. And he’s an old country hick. Give it a go, I say. What do you have to lose?
And Hey! Let me know how it goes!
Not my happy feet not driving this way.
Again, a Disclaimer: I am only writing this post to present another option to you, an option I found, with this particular ailment on this particular body, at that particular time, to be particularly helpful.
A Pokey, Puncturing Poem
Someday in the future,
I may think this post is particularly
because then I’ll know more
about Accurate Puncturing,
and my qualification to speak of it
will be more than
“It worked for me.”
But for now
this lame attempt will suffice
to share what might help you,