When Nothing is Working, Keep Trying

I’ve been having issues with my IT band since last year. The IT band consists of fibers that travel from hip to knee and below.

I’ve been on steroids, increasing doses of Gabepentin (which from conversations with people lately I think half the population is on), done physical therapy, tried to exercise it out., iced it, heated it, rested it, and worn it out.

Last time I saw my Nurse Practitioner, she said the only thing that she could think to try next was acupuncture and chiropractic.

I’ve been fascinated with acupuncture since my twenties. I saw a pucture in a magazine, I’m pretty sure it was Newsweek, about this Japanese woman having open heart surgery with only acupuncture for anesthesia. Her chest cavity was open, her head turned and smiling at the camera.

That image is still seared in my brain. I swear I could pick her out of lineup. Well, except for the fact that it was probably 40 years ago.

But nothing has really been wrong with me that gave me an excuse to try it. But after all these months of on and off again pain and numbness, I decided to give it a try.

I found a chiropractor that seemed to utilize acupuncture quite a bit. After reading a few things I thought I’d let them decide which would do best. They agreed a combination of acupuncture and chiropractic would be good.

I haven’t been in pain much lately, though I have had numbness. If I touched my leg, I could feel a bit of pain underneath my skin. Still, the fact I still need the Gabepentin and that it can come back easily made me decide to give it a try.

Acupuncture is definitely not covered under my insurance. Chiropractic is, but limited to a certain number of visits for the year, combined with other therapies, like the PT I have already had. This doctor is not in my network, so I knew going in I would be paying for it out-of-pocket. I decided it was worth it.

While I didn’t feel pain before the visit, he knew just where to touch to “find it”. Yep, all along that IT band. He also said that side of my body was shorter than my other.

The treatment he suggested was acupuncture along the IT band. Instead of nervous of the idea of needles being stuck in me, I was excited. Finally I get to see how this works.

Most of the needles were like a pinprick. A few were a bit more intense, but nothing majorly painful. After they were inserted, he applied an electrical current to them. That’s like a slight vibration.

He also put a few needles in my ear. I had mentioned I was working with a nutritionist trying to get my metabolism up. He said these could help. Since we were doing the others, why not?

After they were all in, they left me laying in a darkened room for 12-15 minutes. It was relaxing.

After the acupuncture we went into the chiro room where I laid on this apparatus that looked like a piece of gym equipment. First I got a massage wand applied to that whole IT area, going into the lower back.

Then he did the chiropractic adjustment which I can’t really describe. Like kid kicking the gym equipment as I laid there? It didn’t hurt, but the noise startled me.

He has suggested two more treatments, Friday and Monday, and then we will evaluate if more is needed. For now, until we are don’t he wants me to limit my exercise so I don’t undo what we accomplished today. I plan to avoid the gym and only go and float in my friend’s pool and relax. I won’t risk messing it up.

Tonight I have soaked in Epsom salts and applied ice. Now we wait. It feels a bit extra tingly, but no pain.

I bought a pool noodle because they say that is best for gentle rolling to keep the circulation going. It is awesome for this! I have a roller (a plastic device) that I use, but sometimes if there is inflammation it can hurt. I’ll be keeping a pool noodle around now.

I don’t give up until I feel better. I’ve been spoiled by a strong body and have too many things to do before I stop using it. This is my year for getting everything in strong working order.

Oh, and since I didn’t want to use a boring chiropractic picture, I decided to use a balloon picture I took at a festival this weekend. This was on Monday morning, when I got a chance to ride.

It was a cool festival – celebrating those we remember at Memorial Day, held on a 1,000-acre farm owned by a former NFL player who gave up his career to become a farmer, something he had no experience in, because of a heart to feed the hungry and live his faith. They have given away over a million pounds of food.

His brother was killed in Iraq in 2003, so he committed to this special Memorial Day festival last year. This year was year two. Hopefully it will continue for a long time to come.

You can find more about the festival here and the farm here

To those Gold Star families who have lost loved ones in service to our country, we will continue to find ways to remember them. Let’s keep telling their stories. (I have profiled soldiers who lost their lives on NewsBreak the last two years, though have picked my own personal soldier to remember for quite a while now.)

I hope your week is a memorable one!

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