In late 2000 I started suffering from severe neck pain. The pain started from back of my head, and radiated down my neck. It had gotten to the point where driving a car was almost impossible and I was living on painkillers.

I started on a battery of medical test, all of which ruled out serious injury, arthritis etc. 6 months after starting on my journey in frustration I blew up at my doctor and said if there is nothing wrong with me why the hell am I in so much pain?

He offered all sorts of hypotheses but no concrete solution. He DID recommend I go and see an acupuncturist. Now, I am not one for “complementary” medicines. I have zero belief in homeopathics, I think naturopathy is short on real science, and could continue on down the list. I come from a family of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. But, it was either that or continue to take strong pain killers whose effects on me where not super.

SO! I went and saw my local acupuncturist. I’d heard great things about her from people whose opinions meant nothing to me…. but I figured I had nothing to lose but my 80 bucks. I don’t remember the actual consult process much… in fact I came out rather disorientated and woozy – unable to drive a car for about 30 minutes. There was some sticking in of needles, some small electric currents and I do remember some incense burning.

What I CLEARLY remember is leaving without pain. Awesome! My acupuncturist examined me and determined that I had done some sort of injury to the neck muscles where they join the head. The injury had caused my neck muscles to spasm, causing further pain, causing further spasms – thus my perpetual pain that pain killers would not help. Without stopping the muscles spasm, the pain would be self perpetuating. Painkillers never totally removed it so it always returned to a state of spasm.

The acupuncture treatment somehow, stopped the spasm in my neck, and thus stopped the pain. I have no doubt this was nothing to do with a placebo effect, this was a real and actual positive physiological change as a result of the acupuncture. I went in with the absolute belief it would not work so hardly could have been placeboed! I went back a month later for a follow up – not that I really needed to.

Meridians? Qi? I don’t believe any of that stuff, but I am 100% positive that acupuncture can effect pain relief, it can effect muscles spasms. I thus need to at least entertain the idea that it can do a lot more than that.