Small pricks

My back was still sore this week, so today I tried acupuncture. I’d been meaning to try it, but my back hadn’t bothered me for a couple of years, so I hadn’t had the need.  While I’m skeptical about acupuncture’s ability to deal with (say) asthma or high blood pressure, when it comes to back pain I can see a plausible mechanism for it working.

I’ve had shooting electric pain that feels like it goes down my left leg all the way to my toes. I’ve had back pain suddenly (after a couple of weeks) result in shoulder pain or leg pain. It’s pretty clear that there’s an interconnected system here, and that poking part of it might affect another part of it. And when the acupuncturist prodded parts of my upper arms and legs, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t imagining the painful spots I hadn’t previously been aware of.

And ultimately, placebo or not, I felt better afterwards. Before, I could barely tie my shoelaces; after, no problem. Before, leaning over the counter to fill out paperwork was painful. Afterwards, not at all. Before, my back felt stiff even when it wasn’t in pain. Afterwards, much more flexibility. The shoelace thing is key: because I compared identical tasks before and afterwards, I’m confident I’m not just imagining that I feel better (whatever that means).

I’ll be interested to see if I still feel better tomorrow morning. I’ve had a stiff back every morning for the last week, so if I wake up feeling normal that’ll be an impressive result.