Thursday, July 07, 2005


actual size - about 7cm

They say accidents come in threes. Well, I have one more to go then. Last week I tore my biceps tendon climbing through a window (doing a good deed, not a burglary). A sudden pull upwards led to a loud crack in the crook of my arm and a strange feeling in my forearm. I drove home, but ended up in Accident & Emergency a couple of hours later. The strange thing was that I never really felt any pain.

As a follow up I had to make an appointment for some physiotherapy to help the healing process.

First came a gentle massage with a white cream that smelled vaguely of dentists. Next I was hooked up to an electrical muscle stimulator that contracted and relaxed my arm, making my hand into a fist. Weird. So far so good.

The next day he suggested I try something different. "Have you ever had acupuncture?"
"How would you feel about trying it?"
I'd just seen a documentary showing Michael Stipes having needles pushed into his face. If he can do it - so can I. "If you think it will help." I think I fooled him with my nonchalant reply, but I was very nervous. I hate needles and vaccinations and have done since the traumatic "six needles" that preceded your TB shot at primary school.
"I usually charge extra for this, but I'll do the first session for free. If you think it helps we can do some more later." Gee thanks.

He put four needles like the one above into my arm. Four!
"Can you feel that?" he asked with each penetration.
"Yes! Yes! No."
He gave it a little twist.
"YES! You bugger."
"This next one might be a bit more painful. It's going between your index finger and thumb."
"...OK." Thankfully it was no worse than the others. Once they were all in my arm settled down to a dull ache.
"They have to stay in for about twenty minutes. Don't move your arm."
He left the room, leaving me a bell to ring if I needed releasing from my purgatory. I fumbled open a copy of National Geographic with my left hand an started reading about Egyptian mummies.

He came back into the cubicle (to remove the needles I thought foolishly).
"I've just come to give them a little twist." Bastard!

Since then I've had two more sessions and, apart from the initial sting of the needles, there is very little pain. It's a gentle throb, almost like a low level electric shock. Whether it's helped my recovery is difficult to say, but it doesn't appear to have hindered it.

I think I'd recommend it as something to try, just for the experience!

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