Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"You're the one true thing I know I can believe / Your love is just the antidote when nothing else can cure me"

For the past two weeks or so, I have been having the worst tailbone pain. (Yes, I said tailbone. If you are squeamish about body parts, stop reading this post right now. Seriously. I'm going to say tailbone again. Don't say I didn't warn you. I will also say ass. Just so you know. You're in my house now, and I say ass. A lot.)

So last week, I went to see my acupuncturist, and I told him about the literal pain in my ass. For the first 15 minutes of the hour, we talked about the possible causes of the tailbone pain and he offered a plausible, albeit slightly New Age-y, theory that made a lot of sense to me. Basically, the muscles in that general region are tensed up from past injury and the current stress in my life is aggravating the tension. I guess I really need to unwind and unclench. Easier said than done.

He tried treating the pain with a needling pattern that was actually nowhere near my tailbone, but the energy was way too intense and he had to take the needles out halfway through treatment. Still, he was really concerned that I was in such pain, so he showed me a realignment exercise that relieved it almost immediately. The relief only lasted a couple of hours or so, but it was there. He also suggested that my regular Pilates exercises should help with gently stretching the muscles that are tensed up around that region. My acupuncturist rules!

Just for a second opinion, I went to see my medical doctor yesterday. I waited for 15 minutes and then talked to her for exactly seven minutes. She hurriedly asked me a few questions, then used both her thumbs to push hard on my tailbone. She asked me, "Does this hurt?" You just poked me in the ass, lady! Of course it freakin' hurts! I told you I'm here because my ass hurts! I want to yell "DUH!" directly in your ear and ask, "Did that hurt?"

Her "treatment" amounted to giving me this spiel: "I don't know what causes this kind of pain. It could be any number of things. Maybe you sprained a muscle behind your tailbone. I don't know. There's no treatment for it. Take some Advil. It should go away soon. Come back and see me if it doesn't improve or if it gets worse." Why? So you can tell me some more how you have no idea what is going on and proceed to do jack-all to help ease my pain? Whatevs, yo. I bet you'll just poke me in the ass again. At least buy me a mojito first. Damn.

To be fair, I've had great experiences with doctors of osteopathy (DOs) who did more than just poke me and shrug their shoulders. They actually took the time to find out what is going on in my life that could be causing the ailment, talking out the symptoms with me and figuring out the best treatment. So I'm not saying I'm completely done with Western medicine; I'm just saying that MDs need to take a more wholistic approach to health, much like DOs and Eastern medicine practitioners do.

Just because the pain is in my tailbone doesn't necessarily mean the issue is with my tailbone. It is, after all, connected to my pelvic bone, which is connected to my hip bone. The hip bone's connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone's connected to the--Everybody sing it with me now!--Them bones, them bones...

I leave you with this brief history of medicine by the renowned historian Anonymous:

2000 BC - "Here, eat this root."
1000 AD - "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."
1850 AD - "That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion."
1940 AD - "That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."
1985 AD - "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic."
2000 AD - "That antibiotic doesn't work. Here, eat this root."
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