Friday, April 16, 2021

Alternative healing and Kgosi’s pain in the back

Kgosi had had debilitating acute back pain for two weeks. He had heard a muscle snap somewhere under his shoulder blade after he had jolted out of bed. From that moment on, he became paralyzed with the most excruciating intense pain. This type of acute back pain is caused by doing something physically wrong, which in turn, puts a strain on a particular muscle. At the government clinic, he was prescribed a massage ointment and ibuprofen pills, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent. The pills have a capacity to provide a 4-8 hour window of pain relief. For a week and a half, the pain did not subside and the ibuprofen pills seemed to not help at all.

By this time Kgosi was getting restless and worried about what seemed to be turning into a chronic back pain. He jetted out to a private doctor for a second opinion that prescribed him Syndol, which contains codeine, paracetamol, caffeine and doxylamine succinate, which relieves muscle tension. After three more days, the pain was not going away. The drugs that he was taking seemed to just mask the pain. He felt the same pain between medication intervals and the pain would wake him up in the middle of the night and cause him to take more medication.

Kgosi’s mornings were worse because it would have been hours since his last pill. It had been two weeks of, literally, a pain in the back.

After being convinced by a friend, Kgosi decided to see an acupuncturist and herbal doctor. After explaining his problem, the doctor took his pulse on both his wrists and checked the condition of his tongue. Apparently there is a lot of diagnosis that can come from a tongue inspection. Soon after that, he was lying face down on the doctor’s bed where seven needles were inserted and left for a period of about 10 minuets. His treatment was followed by a blood stimulation technique referred to in this instance as “cupping”. The glass cups had the oxygen quickly burnt out of them and placed on Kgosi’s back where they were left for another 5 minuets.

He went home feeling even stiffer. However, after a nap he woke up feeling hardly any pain at all. He describes his acupuncture treatment as a miracle.
Acupuncture is a medical process where hair thin needles are carefully inserted in strategic pressure points in the body and left for about 15-20 minutes. Some acupuncture practitioners use minor electrical stimulation as part of the treatment. The procedure is believed to date as far back as 2000 years and is now practiced widely all over the world. In Botswana, there are a few doctors that practice acupuncture although the government of Botswana does not recognize them as qualified “Doctors”.

The hypothesis of this particular medical system is based on diagnosing the imbalance of the yin and yang. This duo is supposed to regulate the positive and the negative forces in our bodies. According to the Chinese medical system, when the yin and yang are imbalanced, the body’s qi is disrupted and the flow of the body’s energy is blocked. Qi (pronounced chee) is believed to flow along meridians in the body that connect to over 2000 acupuncture pressure points.

The following are alternatives to dealing with back pain:

No pain no gain. Before you start exercising your pain away, consult your doctor. In addition to that, consult with a professional fitness trainer about the best possible course of action for your specific problem. Exercise will strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments resulting in the muscles becoming more flexible. It also increases blood supply to the muscles and helps with the supply of oxygen.

Massage may be one of the most overlooked features of health. It not only provides relaxation and stress relief, it also relieves muscle tension and reduces pain and swelling.

Hot water bottle and Ice pack
Ice packs reduce swelling while the hot water bottle will help with relief.

It is very important for anyone considering any alternative form of medical treatment to do thorough research. Some medical health insurance policies do not cover alternative healing, so it would be wise to inquire before hand. Again, it would be advisable to let all your medical providers know of your intention to use alternative healing.


Read this week's paper