Wednesday, September 5, 2007

UCLA Hospital Pacificare HMO / Lower Back Pain

I've been an HMO patient under the UCLA hospital for the last 5 years. I had mainly went to see my UCLA doctor for the same re-ocurring lower back pain on my right side. My back pain is from sitting incorrectly for long periods of time, mainly while using my computer at work and home. I have tried everything from seeing a chiropractor to yoga to physical therapy and now accupressure/accupuncture/massage. I have only seen my current doctor once since I was forced to switch back in July; my last doctor recently moved to a different state. My last doctor had given me referrals to a chiropractor and physical therapy. Chiropractor treatments were good temporarily, back pain would resurface 2 days later. I did not like the physical therapist I saw at UCLA hospital. She had a weird personality and was aging and unmarried. I went to her for over 12 sessions. She had once told me that yoga was too difficult for me. I presumed it was because she just wanted me to continue to solely see her.

I eventually took up yoga at a local community college. The yoga instructor was great there and taught the basics well. I always felt lighter and refreshed after a class. It's hard to describe. I took it here for over 2 years. I had scheduling conflicts so I eventually moved on to the Larchmont Yoga Studio. I had tried several of the classes over a month trial period from gentle to intermediate. I never had that refreshing feeling, although I thought the instructors were pretty good and they obviously were trained well and were quite knowledgeable on yoga. I eventually stopped doing yoga. It's always better to take a class so you do the poses properly; learning the basics of hatha yoga is essential before you take any other yoga class. I still do some yoga poses at home every now and then. I had recently met someone who had tried several yoga studios in the area and highly recommended Liberation Yoga on La Brea (near 2nd). I might try this yoga studio eventually.

My current doctor whom I've only seen once since I switched doctors in July had given me a referral to accupressure/accupuncture/massage at the UCLA East-West Hospital in Santa Monica (Santa Monica Blvd and Cloverfield). She said a lot of research has been done to document that it really works. My first session 3 weeks ago included trigger point therapy (injection of lidocaine-numbing of muscles?) and heat-lamp massage. Felt better immediately, no back pain at all. Pain resurfaced 2 days later. My second session, a week later, included trigger point therapy again and accupuncture. Some pain relief but not the same as the first session. Third session was last week which included trigger point therapy, chinese massage and accupuncture. Felt relaxed and pain was gone. Couldn't tell what caused the pain relief. This week, my back pain is still there, but I must say it is not as bad as usual. Looking forward to my next session next week. btw - trigger point injections and accupuncture did not hurt. They also recommend you do accupressure at home.