Tag Archives: injuries

Adventure in Dry Needling

My (lack of) progress in PT has led to trying out some more intensive treatments. Most recently, this involved dry needling. Don’t be intimidated by the name – it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. Dry needling is basically the same thing as acupuncture, just with a different emphasis. acupuncture focuses on the meridians in the body (for example, this might include sticking needles in your feet to improve back problems), whereas dry needling stimulates homeostasis points in the body to try to help muscles reset themselves by tensing and relaxing.

20150512_083740The process starts with an explanation (provided above), then follows with sticking in the needles. The location and severity of the complaint determines how many needles you get and what size. Mine started in the IT band (2-inch needles), moved down along the inside and outside of my shin (mostly 1-inch needles), and ended with some around the ankle, in march, and the top of my foot (1/2-inch needles).Right leg and left leg. As you might imagine, it takes quite some time to place that many needles. The needles are supposed to “simmer” for about 10 minutes so by the time the T had finished placing needles in both my legs, she began to take them back out.

Throughout the needling experience, felt no pain. The needles are tiny, they didn’t hurt going in, and I didn’t even register their intrusion in my muscles. However, my body acted as if I were suffering immensely. You know how your breath kinda catches when you’re bracing yourself for pain – slightly shallow, holding your breath, and gritting your teeth? I started breathing that way before she had even finished my first leg. Nothing in my body actively hurt, so I was confounded and astonished to find myself reacting that way. Must be the homeostasis points. At the end of the whole experience I felt exhausted and my legs felt as tired as if I had just finished a long, hard race. The result was not what I anticipated for my short time lying on a table with miniscule needles all over my legs.

I was strongly encouraged not to run for the rest of the day, which was easy enough considering my utterly drained state at the end of the treatment. The immediate reaction eventually abated, and by the end of the day, nothing felt out of sorts. Another important thing to remember about muscles, though, is that things often work themselves out overnight as the body rests. The next morning, I woke up with massive knots in my IT bands that I am still trying to roll out. Note to self: muscles carry a lot of tension.

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Instead of Running

2015 has decided to present me with an early opportunity for working on one of my running goals for the year: rest and recovery. Various injuries that exacerbate various other injuries have sidelined my running until further notice. One of the many things I have learned throughout all this is that I have a lot of time on my hands (relatively speaking). Go figure! Who knew I spent so much time running? I have also learned several other ways to spend my non-running time. Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are some suggestions for how you might otherwise preoccupy yourself:

  • Not talking about running
  • Sometimes talking about not running
  • Strength training
  • Spin class
  • Sleeping in until about 6am one day a week
  • Attempting to swim – be very certain that these are attempts to swim, not actual instances of swimming. Subdivisions of this category include
    • Attempting to put on a swim cap
    • Attempting to open the door to the building in which the pool is located
    • Attempting to open the door between the locker room and the pool (note that actual swimming has not yet made the list of things to do while not running)
  • A little less strength training and spin class
  • Yoga
  • Physical therapy
  • Sleeping in until about 6am 2-3 days per week
  • A little less yoga
  • Baking cupcakes on a regular basis
  • Reading books for fun (which has always been on the list, but now there’s more time for it)
  • Sleeping in until about 6am 4-5 days per week
  • Homeworkinjured-runner-cleaning
  • Looking up cupcake recipes and stockpiling them for future reference
  • More homework
  • Sleeping in until about 6am every single day of the week
  • Cleaning (be sure to set hours of usage for the vacuum – roommates will appreciate that…)
  • Eating half a box of Cheez-Its in one sitting
  • Hibernating until further notice (which is actually rather lovely when the temperature hits single digits and outdoor surfaces transform into solid sheets of ice)

On one hand, it sucks not to run. On the other hand, I have found so many productive, beneficial and enjoyable ways to fill my time that it’s hard to resent the injuries. And now, I have more cupcakes to bake!

cupcake1 cupcake2 cupcake3

(See the original post here!)

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