Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Work stress and the 2-week headache

I've had a headache for the last two weeks, not including the weekend. And my job (which is a Monday-Friday job) has been a nightmare.

Coincidence? I think not.

That's all that needs to be said right now. I actually don't have too much of a headache right now (just some neck tension), so I'm going to go work out, something I haven't been able to do in, well, two weeks.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Acupuncture my butt

I had a free consultation at a local acupuncture clinic last week. Here's my experience:

The first person I met with, who is an herbalist and possibly their receptionist too, took me back in a private room and asked me some generic questions, and then asked me if I had questions. I asked her how often I would need to get acupuncture before seeing an improvement in my headaches, and she said it depends on the person, but since I've had headaches for 8 years it might take a while. Then I asked her the cost, which is my #1 concern:

$85 a session, plus a fee for the initial visit!!!

YIKES. And that is after taking the supposed 20% off that most insurance companies would offer. And she said that the acupuncturist would probably want to see me twice a week at first.

So then she went to see if the acupuncturist might have a minute to talk to me. And what do you know, he did. I felt special.

Now, I didn't want to be fed empty promises, but the acupuncturist could have at least explained why acupuncture might work and how it's helped others with chronic headaches/migraines. Instead, he simply stated how headaches were "his favorite" because he helps 90% of headache patients, mentioned one lady who quit her job and her headaches went away (what does this have to do with acupuncture...?) and then he PITCHED me, which is part of what I do for a living (in PR), and let's just say I can recognize bull crap when I see it. He flaunted his years of experience, awards, and the fact that all the neurologists in the area send their headache patients to him, and then asked me what other acupuncture clinics I had looked into, because he is head of some board and knows all about them and can tell me how good or bad they are and how much better he is.

One random thing he did was look at my tongue and tell me I was stressed because the tip was red. And he said I wouldn't need acupuncture very long since I'm young (which contradicts what the lady said).

He also told me that his office doesn't "accept" everyone who is interested, and that some people just don't want to get better and they wouldn't be able to help those people anyway so they turn them away. I can't imagine why anyone would not want to get better, but I'm not denying there are people like that out there. However, at the end, when he handed me his card and told me to call if I wanted to set up my first appointment, I played dumb and asked if he would contact me to let me know if I was accepted, and he said not to worry; that I was definitely a candidate for acupuncture.

Wow, I feel special yet again.

Why do places have to play games like that? I really want to try acupuncture some day when I can afford it, but thanks to this place, I am extremely turned off to the whole thing.

Has acupuncture helped anyone with headaches/migraines?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Imagery to Reduce Headaches

A good friend of mine cut out something on headaches from a magazine and gave it to me the other night. It's a short write-up on how "practicing guided imagery can reduce tension and headache frequency." It refers you to a free how-to video from the Mayo Clinic's Web site. Here's the link.

I've been wanting to try acupuncure, but I found out it's about $50 a session, plus initial consultation fees which vary. I'm wondering if the relaxation aspect of acupuncture is what works. So I think I'm going to try doing the video and yoga regularly to see if it helps my headaches. Unfortunately, the vido doesn't work with my mac, but I'm going to try it at work. I was able to read the transcript and it seems to be breathing exercises. The article (sorry, I don't know what publication it came from) says to "concentrate on the throbbing artery in your head and visualize it relaxing and the blood flowing more easily."

It sounds a little cooky, but as always, I'm willing to give it a try if it helps my headaches!