Over the years, I have tried many different methods of getting rid of my back problems. I have gone to various chiropractors and an osteopath, gotten professional massages, and even tried the age old trick of crossing my arms over my chest and having someone lift me up from behind to crack my back. Ouch. Don't do that. And when you do that, take ibuprofen after. After several months of working at a pub, constantly lifting heavy glass racks and boxes of wine, the problems with my back were becoming intolerable. One of my friends told me that he had tried an acupuncturist in Kingston that worked really well for him. As I'd never really thought to try Chinese medicine before, and I know several people who swear by it, I thought I'd give it a go.
Choosing a new kind of therapy is sort of like picking the place to get your tattoo. You need to go in, get a feel for the location, cleanliness, and most importantly, the staff. I was happy to feel instantly comfortable when I walked into Dr TCM in Kingston Upon Thames. The whole office smells like herbs and tiger balm, the two doctors are friendly and competent, and the atmosphere is very clean and open. On my first visit, the doctor asked specific questions, making sure he knew exactly what and where the problems lay. I'm not afraid of needles, but I was surprised how little they hurt going into my back. It felt like just a gentle flick on my skin.
Now here's where it might get strange. After they put the needles in, they clamp these little wires to them and send electricity through the metal into your skin. Sounds very strange, but it improves the circulation through your muscles, which is usually a big part of the problem when you're suffering from back pain. After about twenty minutes of this, the doctor comes back in, removes the needles, and gives the patient a ten-minute massage with tiger balm (a cream that acts like Deep Heat/Icy Hot).
Fair warning: you leave sort of feeling like a zombie after having your face squished in that little massage bed pillow with the hole cut in it, and your muscles all squishy and rubbery. Drink lots of water to wash out all the toxins that were just released by the massage. After a few sessions, you should definitely feel improvement in your pain level. From the girl who's tried almost everything, I would recommend Chinese medicine, and Dr TCM specifically, to help with whatever problem you might have.
A note: although I haven't used acupuncture for these purposes, it has also been known to improve fertility, weight loss, help you quit smoking, and treats indigestion.