Hi. This is my first time on the board and I was hoping maybe someone could shed some light on my experience. I would appreciate almost any rational theory whatsoever at this point.
Incredibly Shortened But Still Long Version of History:
I've been stuck in the Workers Comp Nightmare Carousel for about 16 months now being handed off from disinterested party to disinterested party who all insist on treating me for "lower back pain" despite the onset of injury and the symptoms being elsewhere. I basically pulled something under my left shoulder blade... my whole left side tightened and swelled under the ribs/above the hip and I haven't been able to walk more than half a block since without the same thing happening with tremendous pain in those areas. I was 36-years-old at the time and in good health, physically active and strong.
When I was about 2 1/2 months into the injury and feeling maybe 75% better.... I had started to walk upwards of a mile without pain and was up and down hills, stairs, etc....... I was sent for acupuncture treatments. YAY I thought! I'd had many pleasurable experiences with it in the past administered primarily for general well-being and presumed this would be the icing on my cake of healing.
PhD in Chinese Medicine Man used the "long needles" and inserted them directly into the muscles of my lower and mid-back. I questioned whether there should be so much PAIN as they went in and I was assured that it was normal due to injury. (It wasn't really until he started pressure and poking around that I'd even realized that these muscles near my spine were sore. As I said, my symptoms were elsewhere). I was then connected to electricity and these poor muscles of mine were forcibly contracted for a period of 20 minutes. I was in great pain but was again assured that it would subside and I would be the better for it.
By that night my symptoms were far more severe than they'd been even in the initial injury. I was literally laughing out loud from the pain it was so overwhelming/confusing and a different quality of pain than I'd ever experienced. A couple of days later my back went into such spasms that my legs were uncontrollably kicking and my whole body was shaking and it took all the concentration I could muster (thank you meditation background!) and someone laying on top of me and almost AN HOUR to get it to stop. I couldn't even hold a cup of water to try and take a sip I was shaking so bad. I was even beginning to fear a heart attack my body was in such duress.
It is now a full year since that treatment and I'm still struggling with walking/pain/mobility, etc. The progress that I'd made prior to that visit has never returned. Without many people taking me seriously, chiropractic not helping, and being basically forced into situations by circumstance, I was again prescribed acupuncture. I agreed with the condition that we'd only do what I felt comfortable with, (again harkening back to my fond memories of positive outcomes). My first couple of appointments we did legs only. No big deal. The third appointment I was persuaded to return the needles to my back but only the small needles and Never Again Electricity. And obviously a different practioner. I felt pain with the needles in my back but when I relaxed a bit more it subsided so I trusted in it and followed through with the session.
By the time I got home I was barely able to lift my left leg from the pain. My back was extremely hot and within an hour my side was again on fire with pain and I can barely get around. The acupuncturist felt my back today and says she can see no signs that anything had happened or was changed but my pain hasn't been this bad in months. My mobility has gone from about 60%, if i was careful, to about 20%. I basically had the same reaction as before except this time I immediately hit the floor with ice packs and kept it from spiraling out of control. That and the lack of electric current coarsing through me.
SO.......... basically everyone is either confused or in total disbelief. I've yet to find anyone who can tell me what is going on that would make the muscles (nerves?) react this way to acupuncture. Obviously whatever took place or was triggered by that original appointment has not gone away and/or was reignited with this latest. Also, ever since the original acupuncture I have been unable to take a hot bath without the area swelling. It takes about 3 days or so for that swelling to subside. When I walk and it tightens and swells it takes about 10 days to 2 weeks to return to pre-push-it state.
I have a fresh MRI which reveals an annular tear, though much lower than the areas of acupuncture, and a "broad-based bulge which in conjunction with facet hypertrophy and ligamentum flava laxity produces minimal bilateral neural foraminal narrowing and no central canal narrowing" at the areas in question. if that helps.
I know, right?
If you've made it this far, bless you. If you have some idea what may or may not be happening physiologically, I'll owe you a ton of gratitude. If only for peace of mind. Try explaining to a doctor, let alone an insurance company, that acupuncture has made you worse. The ridicule alone is enough to drive you madddd.
Many Thanks for the time invested and I look forward to anything you may have to offer.
UPDATE: I was told on another board that my experience is "unheard of" so for clarification: I don't mean to imply that acupuncture alone has caused my condition, only that it took an apparent recovery from injury and turned it into something that just won't fully heal. And then to have the same reaction when acupuncture was attempted a full year later must suggest that something's being tapped that doesn't want to be tapped or something is in some state where a needle is highly objectionable. (a nerve? over-stimulation of injured muscle destroyed something?) Sorry to make this even longer. I just don't want to come off as some "skeptic" or lawsuit-happy injured guy. I simply want to walk again and live a normal life. thanks.