Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chronic Back Pain Gone! - Thanks to Dave at Birch Center

 Dear Birch Center,

I want to let everyone know how much David Sokulski of the Birch Center helped me with my chronic back pain. In fact, it is still unbelievable to me that it is completely gone.

I have been living with back pain most of my life. I am 44 years old now. It began when I was a gymnast in high school with a pinch in my low back. In college my first episode hit when I could not stand up straight or put weight on one leg because of intense pain. I went to the doctor and he said it was a herniated disc in between my sacral and lumbar vertebrae, and he wanted to operate immediately. I was terribly afraid to do this so I convinced my parents to wait. Meanwhile, the doctor gave me muscle relaxants which I took, and it felt better enough for me to play frisbee (I know, maybe not the smartest thing!), but after that the pain did not come back to that degree and surgery was off the table, thank goodness.

Throughout the years it would be better and worse. I am athletic - running, walking, swimming, yoga, and I was able to manage even with the constant sharp low back pain. I find when I cut out gluten and dairy the pain almost goes away completely, but I have let dairy back into my diet and recently the pain returned so severely I was again at the point of not being able to stand, walk, function in my daily activities. I was feeling depressed and frustrated. I was seeing a massage therapist and going to yoga. The yoga helped me through the day, yet every morning it was back worse than the day before. The massage felt great but truthfully, it hurt so badly right afterwards from laying on the table it was hard to get up and function afterward until I had stretched quite a bit. I was convinced it was my mattress.

I have had success with acupuncture for other things before but really didn't think it could possibly help (especially since I had convinced myself nothing would change until I got a new mattress, changed my diet and lost weight, all of which I have not.) However I was desperate and I gave it a try.

David put some needles into my low back/sacral area right where the pain was. I didn't even feel the needles, they are so tiny. I had to show him where the pain was and he just tapped them in. He added a couple needles to my ankle and low leg (only one leg because of how I had to lay on the table...on my side.) He simply left the needles in for half an hour and did nothing else. When he took the needles out I was shocked - I cannot express how shocked I was - the pain was gone.

The next morning I stretched and rolled in bed and cringed with fear, afraid the pain would return (this was my worst point of the day), but it didn't. Over the next couple days I noticed my depression lifting - I hadn't really connected it to my back pain but living with constant pain for so long must really take a toll. For a few days I was entirely pain free.

Then one morning I felt it return slightly as I moved around in my bed - oh no! I called Dave immediately and had another treatment. I was so scared it wouldn't work again, but it did. I got off the table totally pain free and the pain has not returned. I am still eating dairy (which I know I shouldn't, but I just want to say that I didn't get rid of this trigger) and am still on the same old mattress. I didn't think I could go skiing this year with the pain (I was unable to sled with my daughter earlier this winter), but I went cross country skiing the other day with no pain and have a day planned to go downhill.

My fear is leaving, my outlook is up, and I just feel so much better overall than I have in years. I wanted to write this and asked Dave to share it with others. I am telling everyone I know about him. Thank you so much!

~ H.C. from Pittsburgh, PA

Birch Center note:

In Chinese Medicine low back pain is often associated with Kidney energy needing to be supported. The Kidney relates to the water element, and kidney problems often increase in the winter. Other symptoms which may be associated with weakened kidney energy are:
  • dental cavities
  • infertility
  • back pain
  • knee pain
  • weak bones/osteoporosis
  • fear
  • lack of will
  • growth issues
  • developmental delays
  • neurological issues
Any time of year is appropriate for treatment, especially as symptoms occur. When we have symptoms associated with the water element (winter), winter is a particularly powerful and effective time to receive treatment.

Give us a call today with questions or to schedule an appointment:

(412) 381-0116

We hope you are enjoying your winter! The ground hog didn't see his shadow today, so spring is surely on the way!! ;-)

~ David and Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

To schedule an acupuncture appointment, please call (412) 381-0116 or email

Questions about acupuncture? Call (412) 381-0116 or email