Exhaustion after acupuncture for chronic pain and fibro

longtimer

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Hi - I started getting Chinese acupuncture (as opposed to physio acupuncture) in November. I have such deep tissue scarring (from an accident in 1976) that the acupuncturist had to break up the scar tissue during the first 5 treatments, to get anywhere near the nerves. I went every week for a one hour treatment til just before Christmas. I was sick with pain through it all and I have hesitated to go back. I know that I need this treatment, but I am also suffering from intense fatigue - overwhelming fatigue. I saw that I posted about fatigue in March 2020 - that seems eons ago, and now i feel I am much worse. The acupuncturist asked me to not exercise while i was getting treatment to allow the muscles and nerves to recover, so I have not been doing anything.

I know I don't have covid - as no one in my family of 5 here at home has had any, and I've had three vaccinations. But I also am having problems gasping for breath - the muscles around my chest are so tight.

It has also been extremely cold here for 4 weeks - minus 20s to 30s Celcius - can the fatigue be from the cold??

I take several supplements and a multi vitamin - can you suggest anything? or help me understand why I feel so awful. (I had a heart monitor and blood work done in October and everything was normal)... please help!
 

JayCS

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Hi - I haven't been able to try Chinese-trained acupuncture, but I tried two different docs, once 9x, 1-2x per week, once 1x, and I was also sick with pain every time, could hardly move during and also after and that lasted for 1-2 days or even longer. This reaction of ours is completely unnormal and I can't imagine it being right. The second doc told me for people like us they shouldn't use many needles, but then he still used a lot. The first doc about 20, the second about 14-16. A different Chinese-trained doc again told me they should only use 2 or 3 needles for people like us. But my GP who also does acupuncture said REAL Chinese acupuncture uses really big long needles, and is completely unsuitable for us Westerners.
If you really do go again, please let me know how you fare - good luck!
 

longtimer

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Thanks for your comments it is weirdly reassuring that other people react to the treatment in a bad way too. The doctor I saw tried to go easy on me after the first couple of times it made me dizzy and sick. The thing is that I have tried all sorts of therapies for the chronic pain and this one does seem to get down to the basic problem - the original injury. But I don't understand how this kind of acupuncture can it be unsuitable for Westerners? don't we all have the same nervous and muscular systems? My husband who researches these things, specifically suggested Chinese acupuncture rather than Western style acupuncture.
 

Charz

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Needing to rest after acupuncture is standard procedure. I always go home and sleep.
And fatigue is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia. You can try herbs for some energy.
 

JayCS

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Thanks for your comments it is weirdly reassuring that other people react to the treatment in a bad way too. The doctor I saw tried to go easy on me after the first couple of times it made me dizzy and sick. The thing is that I have tried all sorts of therapies for the chronic pain and this one does seem to get down to the basic problem - the original injury. But I don't understand how this kind of acupuncture can it be unsuitable for Westerners? don't we all have the same nervous and muscular systems? My husband who researches these things, specifically suggested Chinese acupuncture rather than Western style acupuncture.
I agree with you on all points, actually:
Now you say it, it made me dizzy and sick too, almost every time.
I very much understand acupuncture like all of TCM going deeper to the basic problem. So I got acupressure instead, for a year, also TCM-influenced, without needles penetrating the skin, and using the ear as a mirror of the body, as well as acupressure points sharply pressed, which hurt for a minute, not for days. This helped me with local pains and also 3 deeper things (breathlessness, cold tolerance and leg "strength") more than any other physiotherapy. Unfortunately despite the acupressurist hoping so, it didn't help with Ache, fatigue, stiffness etc.
I think the contradiction about Chinese practice is brought about by my GP referring to acupuncture in China using really enormous needles, see the Chinese video "ACUPUNCTURE How to heal with LONG needles?" I can't remember if the explanation they can do this we can't had to do with tradition/culture or praps with a slightly different body system, but I'd think it's also a longer more intense training.
Like your husband a pain doctor also specifically suggested Chinese acupuncture to me, but CoV prevented the two acupuncturists in my town taking me on (one trained for years in China, one Chinese). It has actually still been on my list, however hearing you have the same experience as me, I won't try it after all! :cool:

Edit (#6 I think :cool:): But I've just realized I haven't ever tried home acupressure, altho she'd shown me some points. Now I'm once again looking for & finding good youtube videos showing them, starting with breath/lungs first.
 
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longtimer

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Thank you JayCS - I will look into acupressure - I'm willing to keep on trying new things to find help. But the fact that fatigue sets in after treatment also happens to you too makes me wonder if its the fibro reacting to the nerve stimulation... if that's a good thing?
 

JayCS

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wonder if its the fibro reacting to the nerve stimulation... if that's a good thing?
I know what you mean. I sometimes had some initial worsening after acupressure and then it got better. That's what all complementary therapists will suggest or even claim if if gets worse. That wasn't often tho. And it was a kind of fatigue, yes, sometimes making me rest a lot, but not more.
But I've also often had fatigue (e.g. of late) where it doesn't get better.
And with acupuncture I had a lot of pain while the needles were in, cramped up a bit because of that, had pain after, had fatigue, and as you say nausea & dizziness, sometimes couldn't cycle, had to lean on my bike walking. I think that's a kind of reaction where I say: No. And no excuses. Doesn't mean ending it, means I tell the therapist: Do it different. And if it isn't better directly the 2nd time, I'm off.

BTW I'm getting pretty elated about acupressure at the moment, because I've tried only 3... edit: 5 things and they've immediately helped. It'd be understandable as expert acupressure was the thing that helped most before. Just I underestimated being able to do it myself. But it's also wonderful, cos I can do it myself, I can do it immediately and as flexible as I need it, so I'm neither physically nor mentally dependent. I've been looking up acupressure plus 1 symptom on youtube. up to now lungs, energy, stiffness, itchiness and tailbone. Every time I get one down, another becomes apparent, but the others stay down, so they become less and less. Spooky. Dunno how this is working. Tailbone is still there, a bit less, cos I'm sitting on it on the hard floor - praps that's a bit much to expect... But the lungs are good, energy too, stiffness I'll try now, itchiness has decreased even more. :cool: Well I'm not that stiff, but I haven't been sitting long, and it was over half an hour ago, that I rubbed 2 points on the side of my knee....
 

Charz

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Reishi. Rhodiola.
Maybe go once every 2 wks???
 

JayCS

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Oh, I'd quite forgotten this thread, while I've been getting Chinese acupuncture done since mid-February to try to get my jab-triggered severe MCAS-fatigue down! Despite what I wrote Jan 8th the needles about twice as thick are more painful on putting in, but on average considerably less painful during and after, and actually seem to be sort of helping, however not that clearly. And whilst the Chinese-trained doc said only 2-3 needles, my actual Chinese Chinese-trained doc started with 20 needles in my front, plus cupping on my back, and then changed to >20 needles in my front and >20 needles next to my spine, and that spurted my energy up to 20%. Before that the results were confusingly mixed: More energy, but if I acted upon it, more pain & feverishness. Then she got CoV, so there was a 16 day break during which time the energy went up to 30%. When it started again, it crumbled back down to 10, then since the 12th session it is at around 15-20%, again confusingly mixed, again more pain & feverish feeling. Then I started getting the symptoms I get when I don't have enough serotonin, which increased my suspicion that the acupuncture is upping cortisol in a certain way, but that is decreasing serotonin, so I've now upped my GABA, which again was all a bit confusing, but definitely going in the right direction, because for instance it's decreasing my fog, increasing my alertness and inner energy from 80% to 100%. (Which reminds me of the experience of a colleague of mine who has been using GABA mainly for that for about 9 months, since my good experiences with it starting a year ago.)
Maybe go once every 2 wks???
I've kept thinking that. And my wife even believed after the downer when re-starting that it was the acupuncture that made everything worse. But quite apart from the fact that it is improving quite a few other symptoms (e.g. my suppleness), the chart shows that it definitely improved my "energy" from 5-10% to now pretty stable around 20%. Sometimes I am stiffer, but it does then get better again, sometimes I can do a little jig after the session, usually when the treatment was hardly painful at all, so I'm pondering how that can be used to adjust treatment. Maybe I should note the pain levels.
 

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Charz

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What is suppleness? do you talk to your doctor about these results?
 

JayCS

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What is suppleness? do you talk to your doctor about these results?
Suppleness as the opposite of stiffness (like alertness as opposite of fog and energy as opposite of fatigue).

Yeah, sure, I always report to and educate all my docs. My cardiologist (open for what helps), my GP (who learnt Chinese acupuncture himself, but had to adapt it to Westerners), my sleep psychiatrist (who's supporting my rehab attempts), my psychologist are all interested in my acupuncture results.
And the Chinese acupuncturist herself doesn't talk much, but I get the important things thru. Otherwise she wouldn't have successfully changed the cupping to needles around my spine. Hadn't got the chart result up yet last week, but it actually just clarifies the gist of what I've been thinking and saying anyway. But she also regularly tests my pulses and my belly to analyze me to see what's up. When I tell her tho that I believe it's a cortisol - serotonin imbalance: that's not her language. But I'll definitely try, seeing as that is more successful than the acupuncture alone. "Peculiar, these backlashes" she just says about the downsides.
 
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Charz

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That''s great! I have never heard of anyone using thicker needles. Did you ask him/her???
 

JayCS

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That''s great! I have never heard of anyone using thicker needles. Did you ask him/her???
It seems real Chinese acupuncture always means thicker needles, because that's what my GP said he'd been trained on in Chinese acupuncture and I also asked my acupuncturist herself and she said yes, in China they use them in varying thickness, also she laughed: some heat them up in fire beforehand :🔥 😲. If you're asking if I asked her about the thickness that was the answer. But I didn't ask her to use thicker ones, I'd just been recommended to try Chinese acupuncture instead ... by a pain doc, come to think of it....
But I also told/asked her about cortisol and serotonin today and she said: Yes, cortisol being increased is verified by studies (yeah, I knew, I'd looked that up), but she apologized she isn't able to regulate my serotonin - so that will be my part. She was interested in my chart and laughed and asked if I'm a mathematician because I always put things in percentages - I laughed back and said: no but my mind is a bit math(s) orientated. Talkative today! 🙊 😁
 

sweetkamie20

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Hello, It’s been several months since you posted this but I am wondering how things are going. Needle acupuncture was too hard on me.

I have EXTREMELY sensitive points. Pain pain pain when simply touched. I use moxa as a replacement for acupuncture and it really works for me.

As for internal scarring: I think serapeptase is worth looking into. I don’t understand how or why it works but it helped me. I won’t go into the details of how I know but I will say there was evidence it was working :)
 
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