Monday, 5 June 2017

My Acupuncture Experience

Back in January I began my experience with acupuncture with an open mind and a willingness to give anything a go to try and relieve my chronic pain. It's been a while since I had my acupuncture sessions and I didn't think people would still be interested in hearing about how I got on but I got a positive response when I asked on Twitter so I hope some of you find this helpful!

I was referred to have acupuncture by pain management and I know for a fact that this isn't something that is available everywhere as I never got offered this while I was living down south. I've always said that I'll try anything when it comes to my chronic pain because quite frankly, what have I got to lose? I'd heard a mix of experiences from people, everything from it being super helpful to the actual experience being really painful so I didn't really know what to expect.


I had acupuncture done in both my knees and in my lower back, the areas where my pain is the worst. I was hopeful that I would get some relief from my knee pain but I always said I would be surprised if it helped my back because it's quite severe nerve pain that differs dramatically depending on whether I'm sitting or laying down. I still went in with a really open mind though, with a few nerves too. I used to be terrified of needles but years of being prodded and poked have helped me to adjust so I wasn't too nervous.

During the first session I barely felt the needles being put in, I think I had a total of 16 at first and they were left in for about 20 minutes. I had to be sat up during this time as I had them in my lower back so my pain did start to worsen and I found it difficult to be sat up but chatting to the nurse helped to distract me. I had the same people putting in and taking out the needles each week which was really lovely, it made the 20-30 minutes go a lot quicker. Of course I didn't feel any affects of the acupuncture immediately, they explained how it would probably take a few sessions for it to have any positive affect so I was prepared to wait a little while to see how it helped.


The sessions were weekly and I'd say by about the 3rd session I felt as though it was helping my knees but there was no sign of it improving my back pain, as I had predicted. During this time it was also becoming more and more painful inserting the needles though and I was beginning to wonder if the pain was worth the small benefit it was having. By this time we had also moved on to using a TENs like machine alongside the needles, it connected on to the needles and it felt like little vibrations once turned on. It was no where near as intense a feeling as a TENs machine though. However, despite the introduction of this it was on my 6th session that we jointly decided to stop with the acupuncture sessions, inserting the needles was becoming extremely painful and I was still not getting any relief from my back pain, the main reason why I'd given it a go. I think if the insertion of the needles had been more bearable I would have continued for a little longer though, especially as I did have a small improvement in my knee pain. It's a shame that I didn't get on with the treatment but I'm glad I gave it a go otherwise I never would have known if it could help. I'd recommend giving it a go if you get offered it as like I said, you really don't have much to lose from trying it.

Have you tried acupuncture? How did you get on?
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