I have chronic back pain, can I carry a baby with this back pain? The…
By Dr. Davina
My pain management journey
When I was 12 or so, I hit a fence on my bike, was flung head over heels, and landed on my back. At the time, I rested for a day, and mostly forgot about it. However, beginning in my teens, I started feeling bad.
At first it was subtle, my head would get hot at night and I had to use a fan. Later I started getting poor appetite and occasional headaches. However, by my mid-20’s, I would have debilitating, throbbing headaches that would last an entire day. Additionally, I would get nauseous, and would often go the entire day without eating, or eating very lightly, and if I wasn’t careful, I would vomit.
During these episodes, I couldn’t lie down, since that made my headaches worse, and I couldn’t take pain killers because of the nausea. I would instead have a very miserable day attempting to go about my life as best I could, neither able to rest nor function. By the time I found my way to China, I was having these headaches 3-5 times a week.
Finally, out of a mix of curiosity and desperation, I decided to try acupuncture.
I went to multiple sessions over a 2 month period, and during that time had dozens of needles placed directly into the areas I was having pain. However, after multiple sessions, the results were unremarkable.
Then, on what I decided would be my last attempt, my acupuncturist changed her approach, and tried non-local points instead. I distinctly remember she put a needle in the base of my palm, and I felt an electric jolt shoot up from my wrist into my shoulder.
The next day, several people asked me if I was ok. I checked in the mirror, and found that my face, and indeed my entire body, was flushing a dark crimson red (similar to a niacin flush).
This eventually cleared, and afterwards, I was 100 times better.
I went 6 full months without a headache, was sleeping better, and felt more calm. I later learned the magic point was Shen Men, the gate to the Spirit, and I understand now how so much of my body pain was due to my emotional stress and distress. I wasn’t cured, and still have chronic pain I have to manage.
But instead of severe headaches every few days, I get mild headaches every few months. Instead of being in pain everyday all the time, I have mild tension and discomfort that I can manage with stretching, tai chi, mindfulness, and regular acupuncture.
This powerful experience inspired me to learn more about Chinese medicine, and become an acupuncturist myself.
From this experience, I learned how difficult pain can be, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I also learned how effective Chinese medicine, combined with diet, exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation, can help manage even the most stubborn chronic pain.