Goodbye Western Medicine; Hello Eastern!

In early winter 2014, my right wrist and hand started aching at the end of every day. After typing on a computer for 7.5 hours, I’d go home to Facebook, probably some sort of dating app where you either swipe left or right 100 times in 5 minutes, and Instagram. My hand would fatigue easily, making it hard to write with a pen or even cut up a piece of chicken. It was painful to play volleyball, and most devastatingly, yoga was nearly impossible.

The year previous I’d had intense headaches to the point of not being able to concentrate at work. At that time, I’d gone to see more than a half-dozen doctors within as many months and spent a good chunk of change. (I chronicled my situation in 2013 here and then again in 2014 here.) Eventually, an orthopedist specializing in the neck found out that I had a fusion in my cervical spine causing a lot of neck muscle tension. After multiple months of physical therapy, I was feeling better.

Were the wrist and hand pains related to my neck malady? Onto another quest I went, seeing more than another half-dozen doctors:

  1. My GP who told me to seek out other counsel
  2. The same neck orthopedist who told me that the wrist/hand isn’t his specialty, but that he’d write me a prescription for more PT because it could be related to my neck, but he wasn’t sure
  3. An orthopedist for the wrist/hand who said that OT was better than PT; the OT was awful, awful, awful. He couldn’t find anything medically wrong with my wrist nor my hand.
  4. A sports medicine doctor who took an x-ray of my hand finding nothing wrong and telling me there wasn’t much she could do for me besides prescribe anti-inflamatories and then send me to #5
  5. Another guy who recommended that I sleep with my arm straight and gave me an arm pillow to sleep with (a pillow that wraps around my elbow) and then sent me to #6 and to get an MRI of my elbow
  6. Some other guy who was super nice, but could offer no help but to send me to #7
  7. Rheumatologist (concentrates on autoimmune conditions) who knew within 1 minute of meeting me that she could do nothing for me, but continued to do multiple tests anyway. I’d held it together for every other doctor’s visit, but I couldn’t this day and started crying out of frustration. She took pity on me and said she’d check in with me in 2 months after I continued taking the anti-inflamatories prescribed by #4 and sleeping with the arm pillow sold to me by #5. That was 3.5 months ago and nada.

Do you see a trend here? A long string of doctors (7 + the 6 or so I’d seen for my neck = at least 13 different doctors) who didn’t give a flying hoot about me or my pain. A laundry list of docs who willfully took my money and did nothing for me. Maybe they threw a prescription or a pillow at me, but just sent me onto someone else to deal with. The only reason the rheumatologist acted like she cared was because of my tears.

I’m still in pain. I wear a thumb splint to work because it’s the only thing that saves me after hours in front of the computer. So after nearly 2 years of wrist/hand pain and over 3 years of neck muscle tension, I have finally given up on the Western medical system. It didn’t take much convincing after a conversation with a friend who had a baby in May. She’d gone to the same hospital group as me and felt that she’d been passed around from doctor to doctor none of whom cared about her because they had no idea who she was; she and her baby were just another faceless/nameless mama/baby duo who asked a lot of questions.

I’m still in pain, yet I can’t give up on my own body. So where Western medicine has failed me, I turn now to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, energy healing and cupping, the latter of which was made famous by Michael Phelps at the Rio Olympics. The moment I walked into the acupuncturist’s space I knew it was legit and that he was legit. I wasn’t in Kansas, anymore, Toto. Sonny is patient and caring. He (gasp) listens to me. Insurance certainly won’t pay for this treatment, which is most likely why he spends as much time as needs/wants/feels necessary with each patient.

Out with the old. In with the…older. 

In simplest terms, here’s what each of these practices entails:

Acupuncture: By sticking needles into various regions of the body, the muscle tension caused by the overuse/trauma that may be pinching nerves or blood vessels is relaxed.

Cupping: The main purpose of cupping is to suck out toxins, so cupping treatments remove objects such as lactic acid and old/stuck blood from the area that impede circulation.

Clinical Qigong Energy Healing: This modality works with energy meridians and the nervous system in order to redirect the flow of the underlying energy behind blood, fluids, muscles and the nervous system for optimal function. Sonny performs energywork by projecting his own healing energy into others’ bodies, and this is energy that he’s gathered through several hours (at least 21hrs) of meditation per week. This is hands-off energy healing, so while the patient is relaxing, Sonny is nearby projecting his energy.

So while I don’t know if TCM is going to completely “cure” me, it definitely feels different to be with a practitioner who cares and who’s going to try everything he can to make sure I feel better. I’ve had 3 treatments so far and I’m not seeing vast improvements, but the fact that I’ve been dealing with some sort of pain since 2013, it certainly can’t be easy to break the habits my body has learned in 3 years. Here’s to hoping!

After my first cupping treatment. The treatment itself doesn’t hurt, but the area is a little sensitive for a day or two afterward.

If you’re looking for a great energy healer, look no further than Purple Cloud Center for Eastern Medicine!

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