Leg Problems & Acupuncture

For a very long time now I've been having issues with my right leg. Problems started in my heel and later I noticed problems with my knee. I got physiotherapy for the knee and began using my stationary bike a lot more. The problem seemed to get better in the knee but returned with a vengeance.

After my recent trip to the north country (which I've posted about), I could barely walk. This wasn't the first time things had gotten that bad. I was told by my doctor that the heel problem is plantar fasciitis and by the physiotherapist that the knee problem was caused by tight muscles. Neither of these medical professionals associated the two problems as being related. My own assessment is that the heel problem which was long untreated and for which western medicine can't seem to do too much except surgery (yikes, I'm not having surgery on my feet), led to the other problem of tight muscles.

Many years ago I'd gone to a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM) for treatment of a heel spur on the opposite foot.  I resolved to go again because the problem is really limiting what I can do both inside and outside of the house. Some days I can't walk too far and the pain is excruciating.

I'm happy to report that after the 2nd acupuncture treatment I was feeling huge relief. Unfortunately, I had to walk very far on the day of my 3rd appointment and over did things. My pain is back in spades but the acupuncture once again is helping to alleviate it. I know the problem has flared back up but I also know the acupuncture is working so I will continue with it.  I am now getting treated twice a week and I take some herbal Chinese medicines to relax the muscles and improve the blood flow.

The Doctor of TCM that I see, normally charges $60.00 (Canadian dollars) for one acupuncture treatment.  Sadly it is not covered by my extended health care plan.  I was blessed to have my doctor charge me for the herbs at cost and give me 2 acupuncture treatments for $25.00 (Canadian) instead of $120.00. I think that is quite a bargain!  In return, I am helping her with some drafting work she is doing. I edit and advise her on preparing some important documents she is working on. I also give her some advice related to some committee work she is doing.  This is trade and barter and I love it! It is a good way of being frugal.

Here is my leg with all the needles in it.

The basic idea behind the acupuncture is that the needles and the heat lamp put over the area while the needles are in the skin, help to unblock the blood and fluid stagnation. In Chinese medicine they call the stagnation, "blocked chi" or "blocked energy". The purpose of acupuncture and chinese medicinal treatments is to unblock the chi or energy. In western terms, you can say to unblock the stagnation.

While the needles are in the skin I feel very sleepy and relaxed. Sometimes when the doctor puts the needles into the skin it might hurt but this is momentary.

I feel fortunate to have this treatment available to me. If I lived in a small town I would not have this service and I would not have a way to address my pain and mobility without drugs or waiting for surgery. I'm also going to order some heel pads for my shoes. My doctor has suggested orthotics but I know from my mother's experience that orthotics didn't help her. I'm going to order heel pads on line. These pads seem to be working for many people who said they got orthotics made and the orthotics didn't work.

Anyway, I hope my regular readers will understand now why I haven't been posting or commenting as much as usual. Things have been busy for me and my mobility is limited. I'm also feeling more tired than usual but hopefully that will pass in a few weeks.

On an unrelated note, I see that my blogging posts have hit the 500 mark. I am a little suspect about the count given.  By Blogger's count I was at 489 posts about 3 months ago and have been posting steadily since then so the number should be higher. At any rate, I'm sure I've now passed the 500 mark, possibly a bit more. I've thoroughly enjoyed the blogging experience and wouldn't trade it for FB.

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27 comments:

  1. Ow...ow...ow... This sounds horrible. Acupuncture has always sounded intriguing and I've often wondered whether it can treat sciatica (my particular problem). I'm so glad it's working for you, and don't worry if you're not blogging, you clearly need to concentrate on your health for a bit.
    Congratulations on reaching 500 posts! I'm only on 162... I'm relieved to hear you prefer blogging to FB!
    Caroline

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  2. You made me laugh with your "ow, ow, ow". I want to assure you that it really isn't horrible. I find it quite relaxing. It is only the odd little prick feel and once in a blue moon a larger "ow" but nothing enough to put you off of it. Trust me it really works and it can help your sciatica for sure. Thanks for the congrats about reaching my 500th!

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  3. Wow, good for you! I'm encouraged by your post though it's a bummer to have to go through various issues with our health! The Chinese herbalist sounds wonderful! Your right, it's like you have to look for something healthy instead of drugs and surgery.
    Anyway.. Me too..this past week has been lowest of the low. We're doing that MMS again but it's easier to take now (we picked up liquid citric acid), rather than squeezing lemons each time (this has also helped with consistancy) I visited my sister and she gave me a culture to make my own pro biotic (kefir) for stomach issues and overall immune system. Well cheers, it's good to know this is working for you too.

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  4. Hi KP, it really is a bummer to go through issues with our health! But we are so fortunate to have some therapies that were not accessible before in my parent's time; at least not accessible where we lived and not accepted even if they were accessible. I wish you well with the MMS. I know what you mean about consistency. The pro biotic is great. I eat yogurt a lot but it is better if you can make your own ;-)

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  5. I've had acupuncture from two different doctors. The first was an MD, a pain-control specialist. It was very strange about the needles — it would hurt if he put it into a muscle in spasm, but it would ease the spasm. If the muscle wasn't in spasm, it didn't hurt at all, so we always knew where the right spots were.
    Then I moved from the coast to the interior, where I saw a naturalist in Kamloops to try acupuncture to quit smoking. I was seriously addicted, and didn't manage to quit, but the needles between my toes (really) put me to sleep and really helped with fibromyalgia pain. Unfortunately, I then had an hour's drive back to Ashcroft, which undid all the pain relief.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  6. Interesting to hear of your experiences Kay. I've read about auricular therapy where acupuncturists put 5 needles in your ears to treat you for alcoholism and drug abuse. I'm wondering if it might also help a nicotine addict? In any case, I think it might help to go once again to an acupuncturist for the smoking issue. As like any professional, I'm sure there are some acupuncturists that are better than others and one of them may actually help you! I understand what you mean about the travels back after treatments. It is best to do nothing but rest afterwards for at least 6 hours.

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  7. Glad you are able to get some relief - I believe in alternative medicine as well, if it works!

    Congratulations on reaching the 500 mark!

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  8. Thank you PW! I am so glad to get some relief too. Thanks for the congrats also.

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  9. sounds painful.....and anything that helps take away the pain is the best.

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  10. I'm glad you found a way to get some relief. If it works, use it as the need arises. I've never liked the idea of putting chemicals into my body in order to feel better - which is what we get from medical doctors here. However, when I hurt bad enough I will look for some way to get relief!!

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  11. Hi dear Penny,
    I'm sorry to hear about that but wow this acupuncture treatment seems to work and i also like this trade exchange ! :-) Hope you keep on feeling better with it and the medicinal herbs.
    And congratulations for having passed the milestone of 500 posts !
    Lala

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  12. Hi Sarah, thanks for your visit and your good wishes :-)

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  13. Hi Fred, I am so grateful to have this option for pain relief and am definitely not going to wait so long next time. Like you I don't like the idea of chemicals and pain killers. I've only tried using over the counter stuff and it doesn't work for me anyway.

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  14. Hi Lala, so nice to see you again. I hope you enjoyed your blogging break. I thought you might like the trade exchange. Do you have acupuncture where you are? Thanks for your congratulatory and well wishes.

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  15. Sorry to hear about the health problems you're experiencing Penny - but also glad that you've found some relief from the pain through Acupuncture (btw what do your regular doctors think of this?)

    I agree with your assessment that the two problems are related.

    I hope that you find some permanent relief soon.

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  16. Hi Graham, thanks for the words of empathy. My regular doctor doesn't know that my problem became so bad. She would likely tell me to go back to the physiotherapist because it gave me relief also though it took longer and it didn't address the tight tendons in my heel.

    My regular doctor did tell me before that she knows acupuncture relieves pain but she doesn't generally support my looking for alternative therapies.

    My doctor of TCM didn't promise permanent relief just relief without surgery and without Rx medicine. I will likely have to go back for acupuncture and/or physiotherapy at some point but perhaps less often if the medicinal concoctions work to keep the tendons less tight.

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  17. joy I was also faced this problem and took homeopathy medicine.now it is wel under control.
    you can read my blog by translating my blog from hindi to english as this facilities are available on blog page. thanks.

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  18. Sorry to hear you have been in pain, but very pleased that things are going well for you and you have found some good treatment and someone you can barter with.
    Love and blessings, Jan

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  19. I hope your feeling much better soon! Love Martine :)

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  20. @ G.N. Shaw, thank you for the encouragement. I thought of homeopathy too but I've had more success with acupuncture in the past. I'm glad homeopathy worked for you!

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  21. Thanks, Jan! Lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and your are busy but not too busy ;-)

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  22. @ Martine, thank you so much for your kind and healing thoughts :-)

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  23. I have never experienced acupuncture treatment so I am wondering if it hurts when they stick the needles in your skin?

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  24. @ Chubskulit, as I was mentioning in my post, sometimes the needles prick a bit but not always. I find it quite relaxing overall. Try it if you have any pain. I think you will find it a generally pleasant experience.

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  25. I had the same heel diagnosis a few years ago. It's very painful. I changed my shoes to a good tennis shoe for every day and purchased SAS 'old lady' looking black shoes for nice wear. The SAS are expensive but they last forever. It's the kind with lace up ties. It made all the difference in the world. Hope you pull out of it quickly.

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  26. Hello Living on Less, thank you for your visit and the tips. Actually I have tried these kind of shoes and they don't do the trick for me although they really helped my mom. Thanks for your well wishes. I was in a great deal of pain again since Saturday but I can see that it seems to take 2 acupuncture treatments to feel a big difference when things are real bad. I'm sure this will improve over time as we are in early days of treatment yet.

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  27. I’ll be learning about some of the features as I go along. I hope that it eventually proves easier for you the reader to follow the postings and comments.
    Acupuncture to Quit Smoking Edmonton

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