Severe worsening of back pain after acu

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Severe worsening of back pain after acu

Postby leon » Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:57 am

Hi. This is my first time on the board and I was hoping maybe someone could shed some light on my experience. I would appreciate almost any rational theory whatsoever at this point.

Incredibly Shortened But Still Long Version of History:

I've been stuck in the Workers Comp Nightmare Carousel for about 16 months now being handed off from disinterested party to disinterested party who all insist on treating me for "lower back pain" despite the onset of injury and the symptoms being elsewhere. I basically pulled something under my left shoulder blade... my whole left side tightened and swelled under the ribs/above the hip and I haven't been able to walk more than half a block since without the same thing happening with tremendous pain in those areas. I was 36-years-old at the time and in good health, physically active and strong.

But Anyway.

When I was about 2 1/2 months into the injury and feeling maybe 75% better.... I had started to walk upwards of a mile without pain and was up and down hills, stairs, etc....... I was sent for acupuncture treatments. YAY I thought! I'd had many pleasurable experiences with it in the past administered primarily for general well-being and presumed this would be the icing on my cake of healing.

WRONG.

PhD in Chinese Medicine Man used the "long needles" and inserted them directly into the muscles of my lower and mid-back. I questioned whether there should be so much PAIN as they went in and I was assured that it was normal due to injury. (It wasn't really until he started pressure and poking around that I'd even realized that these muscles near my spine were sore. As I said, my symptoms were elsewhere). I was then connected to electricity and these poor muscles of mine were forcibly contracted for a period of 20 minutes. I was in great pain but was again assured that it would subside and I would be the better for it.

By that night my symptoms were far more severe than they'd been even in the initial injury. I was literally laughing out loud from the pain it was so overwhelming/confusing and a different quality of pain than I'd ever experienced. A couple of days later my back went into such spasms that my legs were uncontrollably kicking and my whole body was shaking and it took all the concentration I could muster (thank you meditation background!) and someone laying on top of me and almost AN HOUR to get it to stop. I couldn't even hold a cup of water to try and take a sip I was shaking so bad. I was even beginning to fear a heart attack my body was in such duress.

It is now a full year since that treatment and I'm still struggling with walking/pain/mobility, etc. The progress that I'd made prior to that visit has never returned. Without many people taking me seriously, chiropractic not helping, and being basically forced into situations by circumstance, I was again prescribed acupuncture. I agreed with the condition that we'd only do what I felt comfortable with, (again harkening back to my fond memories of positive outcomes). My first couple of appointments we did legs only. No big deal. The third appointment I was persuaded to return the needles to my back but only the small needles and Never Again Electricity. And obviously a different practioner. I felt pain with the needles in my back but when I relaxed a bit more it subsided so I trusted in it and followed through with the session.

By the time I got home I was barely able to lift my left leg from the pain. My back was extremely hot and within an hour my side was again on fire with pain and I can barely get around. The acupuncturist felt my back today and says she can see no signs that anything had happened or was changed but my pain hasn't been this bad in months. My mobility has gone from about 60%, if i was careful, to about 20%. I basically had the same reaction as before except this time I immediately hit the floor with ice packs and kept it from spiraling out of control. That and the lack of electric current coarsing through me.

SO.......... basically everyone is either confused or in total disbelief. I've yet to find anyone who can tell me what is going on that would make the muscles (nerves?) react this way to acupuncture. Obviously whatever took place or was triggered by that original appointment has not gone away and/or was reignited with this latest. Also, ever since the original acupuncture I have been unable to take a hot bath without the area swelling. It takes about 3 days or so for that swelling to subside. When I walk and it tightens and swells it takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to return to pre-push-it state.

I have a fresh MRI which reveals an annular tear, though much lower than the areas of acupuncture, and a "broad-based bulge which in conjunction with facet hypertrophy and ligamentum flava laxity produces minimal bilateral neural foraminal narrowing and no central canal narrowing" at the areas in question. if that helps.

I know, right?

If you've made it this far, bless you. If you have some idea what may or may not be happening physiologically, I'll owe you a ton of gratitude. If only for peace of mind. Try explaining to a doctor, let alone an insurance company, that acupuncture has made you worse. The ridicule alone is enough to drive you madddd.

Many Thanks for the time invested and I look forward to anything you may have to offer.

Be well,

jeff

UPDATE: I was told on another board that my experience is "unheard of" so for clarification: I don't mean to imply that acupuncture alone has caused my condition, only that it took an apparent recovery from injury and turned it into something that just won't fully heal. And then to have the same reaction when acupuncture was attempted a full year later must suggest that something's being tapped that doesn't want to be tapped or something is in some state where a needle is highly objectionable. (a nerve? over-stimulation of injured muscle destroyed something?) Sorry to make this even longer. I just don't want to come off as some "skeptic" or lawsuit-happy injured guy. I simply want to walk again and live a normal life. thanks. :cry:
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Postby DR Teeth » Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:18 pm

interesting and certainly atypical.

I am a chiro and an acupuncturist.

Something is inconsistent with your case history.
Do you drink alcohol?
Do you take drugs or meds?
Have you had any severe emotional trauma?

Your medical/lifestyle history is of utmost relevance if you are over heating internally?
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Postby leon » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:09 pm

inconsistent how?

don't drink. no meds aside from hydrocodone (vicodin) off and on and in reasonable amounts since the injury. occassional marijuana smoker. severe emotional trauma? I've had my years of quietly completely freaking out, yes. As well as some early childhood stuff. I was happy and contented in a healthy stable situation when all this started and now trying to maintain that in the face of this.
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Postby yinyangthang » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:25 pm

Hi Leon

As you may know, it is pretty difficult to make a differential diagnosis without actually seeing you, and I could probably be more use to an acupuncturist asking advice on how to proceed rather that giving you advice but I thought I'd write and let you know that occassionally pain can be aggravated by acupuncture.

The initial treatment sounded pretty heavy-handed (again, I'm judging from a distance). I'd be interested in whether you received any relief from the acup on the legs. Knowing your history now, I'd be inclined to avoid local pts and use distal pts (GB41, Sj5, Bl60, GB34 for those interested). Maybe gentle gua sha (spoon-scraping) along paravert muscles.

Which spinal level seems most affected? T4-6 region can point to emotional origins, especially if you have a history of anxiety. if so, might I suggest kinisiology (one who specializes in emotional blocks).

Sorry I can't be more help than that. Melbourne is a long way from San Fran.


Good luck!!!!
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Postby izzy » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:27 pm

hi leon,
i believe you. i dont have an explanation, only a possible cause. a lot of s&s suggest Heart involvement, hence ppl asking you about your emotional world. i would suggest an ECG and if still game to give acupuncture a go (never know 3rd time can be lucky) find a practitioner that takes pulse seriously, dont let them touch your back and go from there.
one of the functions of Heart (TCM view) is relating to the world in a conventional manner. it is more common this to reflect pscycologycal and emotional matters, but i dont see why it cant relate to physical unusual manifestations, such as pain after acu?
anyway - good luck. there is always hope.
abby
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Postby cleondann » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:30 pm

I think acupuncture treatment is best method to cure back pain problems. It has been suggested by the American family physician as well. :)
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Re: Severe worsening of back pain after acu

Postby Skyhigh » Fri May 28, 2010 2:06 am

leon wrote:Hi. This is my first time on the board and I was hoping maybe someone could shed some light on my experience. I would appreciate almost any rational theory whatsoever at this point.

Incredibly Shortened But Still Long Version of History:

I've been stuck in the Workers Comp Nightmare Carousel for about 16 months now being handed off from disinterested party to disinterested party who all insist on treating me for "lower back pain" despite the onset of injury and the symptoms being elsewhere. I basically pulled something under my left shoulder blade... my whole left side tightened and swelled under the ribs/above the hip and I haven't been able to walk more than half a block since without the same thing happening with tremendous pain in those areas. I was 36-years-old at the time and in good health, physically active and strong.

But Anyway.

When I was about 2 1/2 months into the injury and feeling maybe 75% better.... I had started to walk upwards of a mile without pain and was up and down hills, stairs, etc....... I was sent for acupuncture treatments. YAY I thought! I'd had many pleasurable experiences with it in the past administered primarily for general well-being and presumed this would be the icing on my cake of healing.

WRONG.

PhD in Chinese Medicine Man used the "long needles" and inserted them directly into the muscles of my lower and mid-back. I questioned whether there should be so much PAIN as they went in and I was assured that it was normal due to injury. (It wasn't really until he started pressure and poking around that I'd even realized that these muscles near my spine were sore. As I said, my symptoms were elsewhere). I was then connected to electricity and these poor muscles of mine were forcibly contracted for a period of 20 minutes. I was in great pain but was again assured that it would subside and I would be the better for it.

By that night my symptoms were far more severe than they'd been even in the initial injury. I was literally laughing out loud from the pain it was so overwhelming/confusing and a different quality of pain than I'd ever experienced. A couple of days later my back went into such spasms that my legs were uncontrollably kicking and my whole body was shaking and it took all the concentration I could muster (thank you meditation background!) and someone laying on top of me and almost AN HOUR to get it to stop. I couldn't even hold a cup of water to try and take a sip I was shaking so bad. I was even beginning to fear a heart attack my body was in such duress.

It is now a full year since that treatment and I'm still struggling with walking/pain/mobility, etc. The progress that I'd made prior to that visit has never returned. Without many people taking me seriously, chiropractic not helping, and being basically forced into situations by circumstance, I was again prescribed acupuncture. I agreed with the condition that we'd only do what I felt comfortable with, (again harkening back to my fond memories of positive outcomes). My first couple of appointments we did legs only. No big deal. The third appointment I was persuaded to return the needles to my back but only the small needles and Never Again Electricity. And obviously a different practioner. I felt pain with the needles in my back but when I relaxed a bit more it subsided so I trusted in it and followed through with the session.

By the time I got home I was barely able to lift my left leg from the pain. My back was extremely hot and within an hour my side was again on fire with pain and I can barely get around. The acupuncturist felt my back today and says she can see no signs that anything had happened or was changed but my pain hasn't been this bad in months. My mobility has gone from about 60%, if i was careful, to about 20%. I basically had the same reaction as before except this time I immediately hit the floor with ice packs and kept it from spiraling out of control. That and the lack of electric current coarsing through me.

SO.......... basically everyone is either confused or in total disbelief. I've yet to find anyone who can tell me what is going on that would make the muscles (nerves?) react this way to acupuncture. Obviously whatever took place or was triggered by that original appointment has not gone away and/or was reignited with this latest. Also, ever since the original acupuncture I have been unable to take a hot bath without the area swelling. It takes about 3 days or so for that swelling to subside. When I walk and it tightens and swells it takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to return to pre-push-it state.

I have a fresh MRI which reveals an annular tear, though much lower than the areas of acupuncture, and a "broad-based bulge which in conjunction with facet hypertrophy and ligamentum flava laxity produces minimal bilateral neural foraminal narrowing and no central canal narrowing" at the areas in question. if that helps.

I know, right?

If you've made it this far, bless you. If you have some idea what may or may not be happening physiologically, I'll owe you a ton of gratitude. If only for peace of mind. Try explaining to a doctor, let alone an insurance company, that acupuncture has made you worse. The ridicule alone is enough to drive you madddd.

Many Thanks for the time invested and I look forward to anything you may have to offer.

Be well,

jeff

UPDATE: I was told on another board that my experience is "unheard of" so for clarification: I don't mean to imply that acupuncture alone has caused my condition, only that it took an apparent recovery from injury and turned it into something that just won't fully heal. And then to have the same reaction when acupuncture was attempted a full year later must suggest that something's being tapped that doesn't want to be tapped or something is in some state where a needle is highly objectionable. (a nerve? over-stimulation of injured muscle destroyed something?) Sorry to make this even longer. I just don't want to come off as some "skeptic" or lawsuit-happy injured guy. I simply want to walk again and live a normal life. thanks. :cry:


Hi Jeff,
I have a plausible cause and a course of action that can be taken. In TCM there is no real understanding of Trigger point techniques, but some acupuncturists in New York have been using this technique developed by a acupuncturist in NY with over 20 years of clinical experience. What has happened is that the nerve endings have been damaged. Hence the trigger point of the muscle and nerve was damaged in your original accident. This is a common occurrence that can now be measured and determined as a fact in physiology.

Here in lays your problem. The ANS is divided into two major sections. Much like in TCM, we have the two major sections. The Yin and the Yang. If you are in a state of pain, your ANS will naturally be in more so off balance than balanced. Simple medical terminology. Much like in TCM, more yin or more yang.

The ANS will in fact react to any change quite rapidly, as it is designed within us to do that. Hence when we have an accident, our hormone (chemical messengers) levels change to affect the the balance of ANS.. Simply put.. ANS.. sympathetic and parasympathetic functions. These functions can be measured by HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and recorded and are reproducible every time. Personally, I think that this is the best piece of medical testing equipment to use with ever patient in practice. It measures and records the heart function on a physiological level and determines the hearts ability to recover from a change in the ANS status and balance. All physiological functions in our body go through the ANS, which does many things to help keep our body's functions in balance.

Now to explain it all to you what has happened to you would take a great deal of time and explanation, so I will give you for now the short form.

Your original injury has left your ANS with a deficit and as such when the acupuncture was done to you, you were in a pain mode, but in recovery. This means that you body's functions were injured, but your body's memory cellular functions were still in an unbalanced state of the ANS. What the acupuncture did for you was to push that unbalanced state further unbalanced. Reading what you have written, makes me believe that the acupuncturist doing what was done was the wrong thing to do, clarified that to the fact you said THEY WOULD NOT LISTEN. The heat sensations are evident to that. Would can really only by years of clinical experience, other than using pulse techniques, determine heat in the blood. Such is caused as a natural function in the body from a chronic tissue injury. The ANS starts to balance out this injury but increasing the blood chemistry heat to the cellular level. Often this will not only occur at the injury point, but at the trigger level to the muscle and in other trigger point areas that affect the muscles' abilities to function as a unit. What has happened is that the function has been interrupted by a well wishing acupuncturist trying to help the area in an attempt know as "Dragon Circling." This is not to say that anything was done wrong, but appropriately that not listening to the patient was wrong. The good news is that with the use of HRV, it can all be proven. There is a push currently by some forward thinking cardiologists who have used and seen the value in the use of HRV to have it approved by the FDA, and the last I had heard was the it was now approved for experimental use. Much like everything else in the USA.. "Double blind studies just means two blind men trying to figure out what to do next." My opinion.. never resolves anything, never sources the problem, and most of the time never repairs anything outside the box.

I hope that is of some help to you and give you a better understanding of your problem. My heart goes out to you, for as practitioner, I know that we all like to do the best we can for our patients. Any further assistance I can offer, just let me know. I could refer you to people in the US that will be able to help you and give you a more comprehensive evaluation of the Trigger Points techniques I use and for the HRV information.

Skyhigh..

P.S. Both these techniques I learnt while in practice living in NY
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Re: Severe worsening of back pain after acu

Postby jhonpointing » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:39 pm

Once you settle on Acupuncture, you can hope for getting relieved from the pains on your body as well as stress helping you to stay fit.
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