Pincushion Part 2, Acupuncture and MS

Early on in my MS journey I had my first experience with acupuncture.  At the time, I was not yet diagnosed.  I just had an occasional odd tingling in my left thigh.  At the urging of my wife, I agreed to try her acupuncturist for a sore back and neck that was plaguing me.  I went a few times and while it did nothing for my back, I curiously noticed that the tingling sensation in my leg disappeared for a few days each time.

Fast forward to today and we now know that the tingling was an early symptom of multiple sclerosis.  My disease has progressed a bit in that walking normally is becoming increasingly more difficult.  I thought that it might be time to give the needles another try and see if it can help with my current symptoms.

The acupuncturist said that to give it a fair shot, I would need to go once or twice a week for at least six sessions.  I agreed to that plan.  Meanwhile, I researched online and found a study that claimed to have success with MS by using a certain type of scalp acupuncture.  I didn’t mention this to the acupuncturist, but apparently he was aware of it, or at least found it online like I did.

In my first of six sessions, he performed many of the standard spots like he had a year earlier.  Unfortunately, there was no effect.  For sessions two through six, he focused on the scalp and gradually increased the intensity of the treatment each time.

The typical acupuncture does not particularly hurt.  In fact, it is somewhat relaxing.  The scalp acupuncture, on the other hand, hurts a lot.  For the typical, you can barely feel it as he flicks the needles into you.  For the scalp, he pushes them in, guiding them up under the skin.  In later sessions he would also twist and move them around for more stimulation.  Ouch!

I had mixed feelings.  I really wanted this to help with my disability, even if only temporarily.  However, the thought of having to be tortured like this once or twice a week, possibly forever, wasn’t terribly appealing.

Four weeks and six sessions later, I had no change in my symptoms at all.  I was disappointed but at the same time relieved at not having to get my head stabbed anymore.  I have no doubt that acupuncture may work for some people with some conditions.  For me though, the book is closed.  Onward to something else.

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