I Am Giving Acupuncture a Shot for My Chronic Pain and Fatigue

Last updated: August 2023

I recall meeting people with chronic pain telling me that they benefited from acupuncture treatment. I am naturally curious and always keen to try something new, particularly if it can help me to manage my symptoms better without taking more drugs.

I grew tired of taking so many medications

I am not against taking medications, and I am grateful when they work and help me to live better with AxSpa. However, I am not a fan of taking many tablets. I have stuck with my Humira injections for eight years now, and I feel lucky that they work magic for me.

However, I've had to take tablets for my pain, for my disrupted sleep, so I could rest better at night, and function with more ease during the day. This was ok for a while and then I get fed up with taking medication every day. That doesn’t suit me, and this is probably why I constantly search for new ways to self-manage my symptoms and look for non-medical intervention when it’s possible.

Acupuncture has been on my list of therapies to try for a while

And I think I have found the right place to finally give it a go. I came across an organization who used to be a therapy center for people with multiple sclerosis. They had diversified their service to other neurological and non-neurological conditions.

I visited that center as part of my job as a health and wellbeing practitioner. I support people with chronic conditions to live a better life according to their hopes, needs, and circumstances.

I met people who used that MS therapy ceter, and they told me what a great service it was. When I went there and met their team, I was amazed by their facilities and approach. They have high tech modern equipment to help people with their mobility, they have an oxygen chamber for hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, as well as a range of complementary therapies including acupuncture.

Learning about my treatment options

I chatted with the wellbeing staff and understood that they were offering treatments for people with fibromyalgia and other conditions linked to chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Therefore, I could see how I would benefit from going to this center as a patient.

So, I decided to self-refer in order to access their service. Then I was invited to a consultation with a physiotherapist; we did a very useful review of my journey living with both AxSpa and fibromyalgia.

We discussed my hopes from receiving treatments in that center, and the physiotherapist suggested three alternatives for potential treatment. One of them was acupuncture and I was definitely interested in trying that. The physio was also qualified to deliver acupuncture treatment, so she was able to do a tester session on me for 15 minutes to see how I would react to the needles.

I'm used to needles!

As I shared with her, I was not worried about the needles but rather enthusiastic about them. I think taking biologics by injection for so long and with such a positive outcome made me associate needles with a positive feeling, seeing the needles with a therapeutic power. So that probably made me a good candidate to try acupuncture as well. I stayed relaxed as the needles went in my feet, elbows, and head. I could feel a sense a release straight away in my limbs, so I closed my eyes and lied still in a low light therapy room until the physio came back to check on me.

After that trial, the physio said to notice how I would feel in the next couple of days. I did not take any tablets and just observed how I would be with my pain and fatigue. I had a busy weekend ahead, and I did feel good, relaxed and with a nice level of energy to enjoy my activities.

Having done that short session and reflected on how beneficial it could be to have regular sessions, I decided to book a series of four weekly sessions as suggested by the physiotherapist. I was looking forward to seeing how I would feel with longer sessions.

My experience so far

I have now done two sessions of 45 minutes and I have been off my tablets for pain and sleep for two weeks. I feel I am regaining energy and really enjoying the sessions. I get needles in my feet and hands to target the pain and one needle on top of my head for boosting my energy level.

The tingling sensation when the needles are in followed by the instant release is quite a unique experience. I will carry on noticing changes as I continue to receive acupuncture. I am very much a newbie to that therapy, and I am curious to find out if you have tried it? Please share your experience below. Thanks!

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