Monday, July 29, 2013

An Update and a Lesson Learned

It has been several months since I posted and for that I apologize.  My life has been in flux in a very large way.  Maybe not flux- but more like a perpetual state of limbo.  I have had some difficult personal things going on and I've allowed myself to be blocked in all of my writing projects in the process.  While I still am not feeling at liberty to go into details, there are some updates and a lessons that I can share.

First, let's talk about the Chiropractor.  When last I wrote, I was ready to try acupuncture for the pain.  Dr. Rich started with X-rays and found that my C5-7 and L4-5 vertebrae have enough osteoarthritis in them that I look like my  back  in those areas is that of a 65 year old.  Not great news but it explains the limited motion is my neck and the constant pain in my lower back.  We began with 8 appointments of massage, electronic muscle stimulation and adjustments.  I also received a new TENS machine.  You may recall from the last time I did physical therapy that I had one of these- but the unit itself failed and I returned it.  This one is pretty fantastic.  It allows me to apply the electronic stimulation any time which is wonderful!  While the adjustments were helpful in getting some of my range of motion back into my neck, the headaches from the tension in my neck begin in my shoulder and go up to my head.  The constant pain ranges from a dull throb to feeling as if there's an ice pick going in the back of my head and coming out of my eye.   The massage therapist tells me on a regular basis that working on me is like working on a cement block.  I know that much of this is due to stress and that I will need to find a way to alleviate that if I am going to try to have long term relief.

Last week we finally started the acupuncture phase.  Wednesday he concentrated on my neck.  20 little needles were inserted everywhere from my neck, into my head and hands, elbow and calf and then I laid on the table for about 15 minutes in the quiet.  I actually dozed off.  When the needles came out, my headache had gone from an ice pick feeling down to a dull throb. The relief just took me back.  Friday, the headache was still at an even place so we worked on my back.  This time there were 33 needles and a totally different experience.  The areas of my lower back felt as if they were tightening up while I lay there and when the needles came out it was as if there was a deep ache left behind.  The doctor said that was normal, that it was drawing out what it was supposed to and that it should subside shortly.  After the first treatment I had more energy but after the second I went home and napped because I just felt drained.

The following morning the pain was noticeably better and the relief in both areas lasted until Sunday evening when my stress began to rise.  This week I have two more sessions and though we are almost back where we started last week, I am cautiously optimistic.  I think that if I can work on stress management in conjunction with the acupuncture it will make a BIG difference.

Therein lies the lesson that I have learned.  I knew that stress can play a large role in our health but I was under the misconception that I had it handled.  Obviously I do not and I need to work on this.  It effects not only my sleep (which I knew) but also my body in ways I never imagined and has a large part to play with my Fibromyalgia.  So that's where I am as of this morning.  Some answers, some work to do and a glimmer of hope on the horizon.


L."Wren" Vandever said...

I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time, lately, Jules. Stress is such a bugger, particularly because it's so often caused by circumstances we cannot easily change--like a job. How to avoid stress when you need to make a paycheck?

Anyway, I'm glad that things seem to be easing a little and that the chiropracty combined with acupuncture is giving you a little relief from the pain. Both seem to be long-term treatments; perhaps this next week will bring much more relief than last week's did. My fingers are crossed for you.

I've missed your "voice." Wishing you well, as always...

Ian Jarvis said...

Hi Julie

I dont know if this is the best place to reach you but I would like to get in touch.

I stumbled upon your blog and would appreciate any help in getting in touch with RA sufferers.

I work for a UK company that manufactures a cooling bandage. We are receiving increasing feedback from RA suffers who are using our products to reduce inflammation and pain.

I would like to give away free product in return for feedback and have attached a link to a testimonial we received from the son of a lady who uses Physicool to reduce her pain and inflammation:

Please do get in touch. As a first step I am happy sending a bandage to you to use and trial.

Many thanks,
Ian ( said...

Hi Julie,

Healthline editors recently published their final list of the top rheumatoid arthritis blogs on the web for 2013 and An Attitude of Gratitude made the list. You can find the complete list at (in no particular order). We encourage you to share your newfound status as one of the best blogs on the web with your friends, family, & followers.

We also created a set of badges you can easily embed on your site & anywhere else you see fit:

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Warm Regards,
Tracy said...

Hi Julie,

Together with the help of our RA FB community ( we compiled a list of RA-inspired tattoos. We would love if you could help share their stories with your friends and followers.

You can find the list at:

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Warm Regards,

Jules0705 said...

Hi Tracy, I have added your community to my resources. Thanks!