Since Ky tried it and my physiotherapist recommended it, I decided to agree to give acupuncture a chance. Well, less decided and more like my physio told me I had to.
You see, for the last 20 years or so, I have clenched my jaw and ground my teeth while I slept. I clench all day long and grind all night long. It sounds a little dirty when I put it that way if you don't know it's my teeth.
I went to a new dentist this summer and she was horrified by the state of my teeth. (I know, it would help if I brushed once in awhile) She immediately referred me to the physio for the prevention of TMJ. Twelve physio appointments later and I can open my mouth wider and I don't clench or grind as often. At least, not during the day.
The problem is that my jaw muscles are remaining in constant pain and tense-ness. The physio says its because I keep all my tension in my shoulders and jaw. Where else am I supposed to put it?? But the acupuncture is supposed to help with all that. It is supposed to force the muscles to relax.
By stabbing a long needle into the middle of the muscle.
Um, what? Is it just me or does this seem counter productive?
The first session was okay. The acupuncturist was nice and said reassuring things like "You're in control here. You can chose when to stop or if we keep going." It seemed like I should have a safe word. But with all my thinking all I could come up with was "banana". After her calm assurance, she proceeded to stab me with a three inch needle. Actually, she used two of them.
Into the left side of my face she pushed the needles in one at a time. The first was a little awkward but had no real pain. I relaxed. Big mistake. The second one caused an intake of breath and a small screech. I wanted to scream, but there was a needle in my jaw. After 5 minutes of that, she then wiggled the needles around. Apparently the needle wiggle is very important as it radiates pain throughout the entire area and causes one to black out. Or wish they would black out.
Finally she announced it was over. I had made it. And she started taking them out. She took the first one out slowly. I relaxed. Big mistake. She then stabbed the second one in a couple of times and just a bit deeper for good measure. "That was my finishing move", she said.
My finishing move was to punch her straight in the face.
Not really. But I thought about it.