Brachial Plexus injury #5 – acupuncture to the rescue

Colon4

The famous Colon 4.
photo credit: http://www.sthelensacupuncturist.com/

I had my first acupuncture session 4 days’ after the mastectomy, my surgeon agreed to release me for 4 hours from the hospital.  He knew that acupuncture helped calm my agitated system down and gave me a reasonable night’s rest.

However, two days after the electromyography torture test, I had an encounter with acupuncture that wasn’t so pleasant.

Acupuncture works by releasing blockages or facilitating flow of energy by the insertion of very fine needles into energy lines (meridians) in the body.  Pain when needles are inserted may indicate a blockage at that meridian.

The acupuncturist I saw wasn’t my regular acupuncturist (who was on holiday and recommended I see this other acupuncturist instead).  This second acupuncturist used to be a concert pianist and I was looking forward to meeting him because I was a pianist myself.  The room where he had his practice couch had a grand piano in it!

He inserted a needle into a classic acupuncture point, Colon 4, which is between the thumb and index finger.  OMG.  I nearly jumped into the air.  The pain was unexpected.  The point actually started swelling up and bruising blue-purple before our eyes.  I felt the pain radiate into the knuckles.

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Brachial Plexus injury #4 – What is the Brachial Plexus

When I woke up from my mastectomy, I discovered that my left arm was paralysed.  I couldn’t lift it.  The arm, down to my thumb and half the index finger were numb and unfeeling.  Turns out that I had a compression injury to the brachial plexus during surgery probably because the arm was tractioned for about 3 hours.  Why it happened to me, I don’t know.  I don’t know anyone else who’s had this happen to them.  But here’s my story.

So, what’s the brachial plexus?

BP2

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