Last week I had some pretty severe neck pain. It started out as stiff neck in the mornings from poor sleeping position. Through the week the stiffness lasted longer and turned into soreness, and after 5 days was shear pain. Pain, as in, if I didn’t hold my head & neck in just the right position, I’d cringe. Pain, as in, I couldn’t move.

Given that I’m not only in the land of acupuncture and tuina massage, but also in class taught by an acupuncture and tuina doctor, that was my first choice. So as the teacher watched me stiffly try not to move or cringe through the whole first part of class, he agreed to help. After scolding me for waiting so long to get help, of course.

First he felt around my neck to diagnose the problem. And found that my 1st and 3rd cervical vertebra were significantly raised on the left side and out of alignment. At which time he scolded me again for letting it get so bad. Then he felt down my left arm to find different changes in texture under the skin. He found a couple of spots–that were also quite sore–near the elbow and one on the pinky side of my hand where the palm meets the back of the hand. He asked my other classmates to feel and they too could sense the change in texture under my skin.

Those points, with the change, in texture are acupoints or sometimes A-shi points, i.e. points that make you scream ‘aaaa’ because they’re quite sore. They were largely located on the Large Intestine Meridian which is the meridian that runs along the arm, across the shoulder and neck, and into the cheek. ¬†Since my pain was so strong and radiating all the way from the neck across my shoulder, down my spine, and into my jaw line, that meridian as the pain line made sense.

After finding the problem areas throughout my arm, he did a gentle massage on my shoulders and neck. He found both sides were quite abnormal but because one side was so painful, I hadn’t even noticed the other side.

After the neck and shoulder loosening massage, he went back to my arm to press and rub the points he’d found before. Before rubbing the points, I couldn’t turn my head left nor right. While rubbing the points, he asked me to slowly turn my head to the left and it was AMAZING! Almost instantly I could turn my head with ease!

And then he asked me to turn right, but I still couldn’t turn right. So then he found another sore point and rubbed there. After some time he asked me slowly turn right. And this time I could!

It was absolutely incredible! After the shear pain, stiffness and no movement before, with his quick handy work (no needles necessary) I felt like I could fly. I was convinced he was a miracle worker.

Until…later that afternoon when the pain came back about as severe as before. And I was desperate for help.

Story continued in the next post.

Photo: Flickr user Menage a Moi