16 December 2022

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Melvyn’s Story

Constant pain can have a seriously debilitating effect. Retired banker Melvyn Randolph describes how regular acupuncture sessions have improved his quality of life.

Melvyn Randoph

Before and after his acupuncture treatments at St Christopher’s, Melvyn Randolph is like two different people.

“When I walk into the hospice I am very on edge and in serious pain in my head, neck and shoulders,” says the 74-year-old retired banker from Elmers End. “When I come out, all the tension is gone, I feel no pain and I am much more amenable with people.”

Melvyn was referred to St Christopher’s in 2021 by his specialist heart nurse. He’d suffered his first heart attack in 1992 and underwent bypass surgery in 2004 and 2006.

“They keep saying I shouldn’t be around,” Melvin jokes.

He first experienced acupuncture with his GP many years ago, so when it was suggested as a complementary therapy for the extreme pain he suffers in his head, neck and shoulders, Melvin was more than happy to try it.

“I hadn’t been to St Christopher’s before and didn’t realise I could get support from them.  But the support and care I’ve had ever since I was first referred has been fantastic.”

As well as the weekly treatments with acupuncturist Carol Pletz, Melvyn has benefitted from massage and gym sessions.

“When I go in for the acupuncture, Carol will talk to me to find out where the pain is that day, so she knows exactly where to put the needles. She’ll play some relaxing music and tell me very calmly exactly what she is doing.

“It’s like a little sting as the needle goes in and then nothing. All you feel is a sensation of your body starting to relax and the pain begins to melt away. In fact, sometimes I relax so much I feel like I could go to sleep. At the end of the 45 minutes I feel like I’m on cloud nine.”

Melvyn says that relief from the pain and tension lasts at least two or three days. He adds: “It makes such a difference and it’s so good not to have to take painkillers on top of painkillers that don’t last very long.”

Melvyn has one more treatment booked in but knows that if the intense pain returns, he can ask for another referral.

“I’m hoping I don’t get any more head and neck aches, but if I do then I know I can go back and that’s very reassuring. I really would recommend it to anyone. It makes such a difference to my life.”

Acupuncture is one of the many complementary therapies on offer to patients at St Christopher’s. 

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