My back is a real pain in the neck. (Actually, my neck is no picnic either.) I’ve been dealing with upper back and neck pain issues going back 20 years now, right around when I first entered the workforce.
Coincidence? I think not.
Being a writer (aka, a “desk jockey”) my days are spent hunched over a computer as I write things like what you’re reading right now. (Can you believe I actually get paid for this?) This type of sedentary, repetitive work is killer on your neck and back, as you computer-based workers out there know all too well.
Over the years I’ve tried everything to ease the pain. I’ve tried different chairs, different desks. Heck, I’ve even tried the standing desk thing, but that only made my knees and lower back ache. Massage and chiropractic adjustments have definitely helped. But until my health insurance starts picking up the costs (I’m not holding my breath), it’s just not something I can afford to do on a regular basis.
So when my friend Shawn, owner of Free Spirit Acupuncture and Wellness in Beaver, suggested I try acupuncture, I was skeptical but willing to give it a go. I’d already tried everything else. What did I have to lose?
In case you’re not familiar, acupuncture is a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the skin in order to stimulate specific points on the body. The process encourages the flow of energy (Qi or Chi) through the body, allowing it to find equilibrium and to achieve balance.
So on a recent Thursday evening, I strolled over to Free Spirit to take part in their Community Acupuncture service. After checking in, I went back to their community room where I found four other local folks already receiving treatment from Shawn. I admit I was a little nervous, since I’m not so good with needles (I pass out just thinking about giving blood). But Shawn made me feel comfortable right away.
Before I knew it, I had four needles inserted in my upper back, three in my head, one in each hand, and one in each foot. (I’m pretty sure someone somewhere has a voodoo doll of me that looks pretty much the same.) And besides a slight pinch on one of the more tender areas of my back, I didn’t even feel him insert the needles into my skin.
After that it was easy. Shawn had me recline in a chair for about 20 minutes as he went around helping the others in the room. It was actually quite peaceful just sitting there, listening to the soothing new-age music, and letting the acupuncture needles do their magic. Every once in a while Shawn would check in with me and give me some tips on things I could add to my diet that would help with my back and neck pain—things like leafy greens (Yum!), dark chocolate (Yes!), and black licorice (Ugh.).
Before I knew it, my first acupuncture treatment was over, and I was free to go off and resume my normal position—hunching behind my computer like a modern-day Quasimodo.
And you know what? Here it is a week later, and my neck and upper back feel great! Honestly—the pain is gone. Turns out acupuncture might just be the remedy I’ve been so desperately searching for.
And here I thought Calgon was the only ancient Chinese secret.
Blog contributed by Valentine Brkich
Free Spirit Acupuncture and Wellness offers Community Acupuncture on selected dates throughout the year. To find out when the next Community
Acupuncture session, click here.