Taming the Wolf

The ups and downs of life as an early 30s career girl trying to balance the various demands of life, including fibromyalgia. autoimmune and dietary issues. Somedays I succeed more than others, but it’s an adventure…

Adventures in Acupuncture: Visit One April 3, 2009

Filed under: Therapy,Treatment — jwz1978 @ 8:13 pm
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Yesterday was my first acupuncture visit. Unfortunately, it was not a good day for me. I don’t think that I can blame the acupuncture visit though. I woke up yesterday with a headache…by mid morning I was nauseous. I felt a bit better by afternoon, the headache was just a dull roar, so I went to my appointment.

The appointment itself was interesting. My acupuncturist is a fireball of energy. We talked for a bit, talked about what our goals would be, and then, it was time for the needles. I had to use the restroom, and then undress 1/2 way. Since I tend to be cold and my shirt was short sleeved, she had me leave the shirt on and just remove my pants and wrap up in a cloth. I laid on my back on the table.

She did a series of needles on both arms, my ears and a few around the eyebrows/forehead. Those, I barely felt, just a little pick as she tapped them in. The ones in my legs and feet were mostly the same, but a bit more uncomfortable. After the pins were in, and she had heat lamps set up over my feet and legs (since they felt cold to the touch already!) I was left to relax (with a reminder to breathe!).

Laying there, over the next 30 minutes or so, I really did feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time. It was an interesting experience as I felt like I could feel different parts of my body reacting at different times…I’d have an itch on my right foot for a few minutes, then it would go away. Then my left foot would be warm and sort of throb around one pin, and then a spot on my arm would do the same. All that lasted just a few second though, and I would be left with this relaxed, almost “tingly” sensation, but a good sort of tingly. It was the most relaxed I’d been in quite a while. My headache mostly went away during this time as well. I had been told that I might feel emotional at this time, and to just let whatever happened happen. I think I was too intrigued by the process in this instance. I probably could have relaxed even more had I not been so interested, but I probably would have fallen asleep to be honest.

When my time was done, the needles were removed. No pain there, but there were a few spots of blood (so would not recommend wearing white or light colors just in case there might be a few stains, but it was really next to nothing). I still felt pretty good, and did have the “energy” I had heard about from others, I understand now what they meant. I was warned that I might have a bit of a headache afterward, and to push fluids, as acupuncture is really about detoxification.

By the time I got back to my office, the headache was back and POUNDING. My stomach was queasy again too. After about an hour, I had to go home. I went right to bed, napped for a couple of hours and spent the rest of the evening on the couch. I haven’t had a headache that bad in years. I swore my head was going to split in two. I ended up that night being sick to my stomach, and then slept hard all night. And then most of all day today. The stomach is better today, but the headache was sort of a dull roar. I think that is in part due to dehydration and lack of food over past couple days. Unfortunately with all this, I haven’t felt good, and if there was any good effects to the acupuncture, I didn’t get to enjoy them. I don’t know whether I was coming down with the flu and that caused the headache and sick stomach, or if the migraine caused the upset stomach. I don’t think that it was the acupuncture, but it was unfortunate that all that happened on the day of my first visit, because I’m somewhat paranoid about going back and migraines now.

I am going back though. My next appointment is in about 10 days. Luckily it is on a Saturday, so if there are migraine issues, I don’t have to worry about trying to go back to work. I do think that if I have that type of problem again that I’ll have to rethink my third appointment (I’m scheduled for 4 in total). I am a believer in alternative medicines and therapies, but I also believe that not all work for everyone. Maybe this one won’t work for me, but I’m still not ready to give up on it. The next time we might be working on my back, so that will be interesting as well. I’d be curious if anyone else has tried acupuncture what their experiences have been, especially after treatment.


Heat? Ice? Neither or both? March 9, 2009

Filed under: Therapy,work — jwz1978 @ 8:07 pm

At my massage appointment on Saturday, the therapist recommended heat to try to ease some of the tension in my back.  I’ve done heat before, it does help.  But, my concern is that heat can increase inflammation, and there seems to be no shortage of that in my body right now already.  So my question to the world: should I use heat, perhaps on a limited basis, to try to relax some of the tension?

On the other hand, I wonder about cold packs or ice?  For the headaches/migraines, ice and cold seems to help.  I wonder too if it won’t for some of the other various aches and joint flareups…I just don’t know.  Or maybe alternate with the heat?

The other debate is that both are somewhat frustrating to try to use at work.  I’ve been looking at a variety of various flaxseed satchels that can be microwaved, some that can be frozen as well.  I just don’t know how or if these types of products actually work?  The satchels and bags would be much easier to store and use at work too.

Anyone who has experiences or thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing from you!


Rainy days… March 7, 2009

Filed under: Misc,Therapy — jwz1978 @ 1:19 pm
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For the first time in months and months and months I went and got a massage this morning.  I forgot how wonderful they are.  Today is a rainy, damp, dreary day here, and I know that I’m feeling better this afternoon than I would have with weather like this!  In no way do I feel great, but at this point, any relief is appreciated.

The place I went is a national chain that you join for a monthly fee, and with that you get one massage a month and discounted rates on multiple trips.  You can go to any location nationwide (although there aren’t THAT many yet I noticed).  The introductory special sucked me in, and overall, the rates are pretty good for an hour massage.  So I’ve signed up, and I’m thinking that I’m not going to regret it.  I carry most of my tension in my neck and shoulders, and that just causes pain there and to radiate from there.  Regular work on that has got to be a good thing…

I tried a hot stone treatment today as well (ok, but I prefer just more time working the problem areas I think) and then also a hot towel/cold stone facial massage.  That one I’ll do again.  It was great on the jaw and TMJ.  It’s been a few hours now, and I’m starting to stiffen up again already (thank you weather) but I take it as a good sign that it’s already afternoon and I’ve only taken one pain pill today.  Small victories like that make me feel good.

Now back to my couch, a big glass of water, the dog and a sappy romance.  A good way to spend a rainy afternoon



Filed under: Therapy,Yoga — jwz1978 @ 9:50 am
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Today was my weekly yoga class.  I’ve gone two weeks in a row now, after a month away.  I feel mixed on the benefits.  I know that it’s good exercise and it’s good to get myself moving.  I do feel somewhat “stretched” after I’m done, which is a relief, and I love the relaxing at the end (although I have to be sure to keep myself awake!).  I’ve noticed though that it’s hard on my hands, my fingers and hands tend to swell the afternoon/evening after.  And the worse I’m feeling, the shorter the time period that the yoga stretch seems to last.  Has anyone else had much luck with yoga or other types of classes like this?

My instructor is a huge inspiration I have to say though.  She has RA and through yoga (for a large part) is medicine-free.  She said today that she knows that at some point that will likely have to change, but it’s still amazing to me that she’s able to manage her condition in this way (and be so darn flexible!).  Gives me a bit of hope that it is possible to manage auto-immune conditions, to at least some extent, without havin to rely on drug after drug after drug.