First a little background.

Pain continues to haunt me day and night and recently comes in three flavors:


Neuropathic pain, which is persistent Central Nervous System (CNS) pain that is aggravated by many kinds of environmental stimulation, even strenuous rehab.  About 15% of spinal cord injury survivors suffer from severe neuropathic pain.  Unfortunately, I drew one of those wild cards.  As for what causes this, see …


Allodynia is more of a peripheral pain syndrome but is linked closely with CNS damage.  For me, Allodynia results in my arms and hands being hypersensitive to touch and feeling all the time as glass is being ground into them and sometimes as if they were on fire.  As for what this is all about, see …


Finally, since my surgery in mid-May, I have suffered from acute post-surgical pain emanating from the surgical incision in my neck down my right shoulder and arm … feels like someone twisting a knife under my shoulder blade.  It’s often so bad I can’t sleep at all.

Post-surgery pain is obviously a known phenomenon, although no one here in Kunming seems to have any idea what to do about it.  That’s why my Dad is flying over to Amsterdam on November 5th to attend a major international research conference on post-surgical pain.  See … http://www.brainandpainnijmegen2013.nl/

Meanwhile, our latest pain initiative, acupuncture,  aims specifically to get a handle on the acute post-surgical neck pain.  For readers not too familiar with this ancient Chinese therapy, see …


Day One

Eriko with me on Day One

Obviously acupuncture has a major following in China, but my acupuncture practitioner, Eriko, is actually a young Japanese woman who practices in Kunming.  She is herself the daughter of a veteran Japanese acupuncture expert, so Eriko literally grew up with the practice.

We started off with traditional needles but progressed quickly to a 21st century variation on traditional acupuncture, called electro-acupuncture.  Here’s a short piece on what this is all about …


Eriko’s feeling is that electro-acupuncture is often better suited to pain management.  In western culture, TENS units work on a similar principle and are in everyday use for pain management, using skin patches instead of needles to stimulate specific parts of the body.

Eriko has just gotten started with me (3 sessions to date) so I’ll have more to report on all this in coming days.  Meanwhile, here are a few more photos of Eriko in action with me.  I explain further details of what you’re seeing in future posts.

Eriko Setting Up  Pins + Needles  Eriko Focused

On a final note today, my titanium leg brace from Germany has just arrived after being stuck in China customs for no less than three weeks! I’m going to try it out tomorrow by standing with it and maybe even taking a few steps to see how the brace works.  I’ll take some photos tomorrow and keep you updated in the next week on rejoining the walking program.

4 responses »

  1. Good luck with immediate and good effect from the acupuncture Ali! I hope your Dad finds a magic bullet for pain in Amsterdam too. Has your British friend arrived in Kunming yet? I hope so, she looks and sounds great – it would be nice to have someone to relax and speak english with. Thinking of you and wishing every day that find a way to kick the pain monster in the teeth.

  2. Hi Ali: so great to read your post! I can’t wait to see more photos and to hear how the brace supports standing and it’s impact on steps and the ideas related to the brace and how it works. Also, I can’t wait to hear what your Dad learns in Amsterdam . . . wishing you a very happy day!

  3. I hope the acupuncture and info from Amsterdam conference brings some relief!!! Thanks for keeping us updated 🙂 Thinking of you!

  4. Ali, happy to hear of “some” relief! Prayers for much more. It is obvious that your caretakers are doing all possible to get closer to the goal of MINIMUM pain. Your attitude and determination are as amazing as ever. Many of us need a piece of that!

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