Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Needles and Pool Raft

The things we do for recovery.

Today I went in for dry needling at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Ever heard of it? Me neither.

Basically, it’s a practice used by physical therapists to help a particularly stubborn muscle to release. It’s called “dry needling” because no medicine is used within the needle. If you’ve tried rolling, massaging, stretching, icing, cussing, doing a rain dance and crying to relieve muscle pain, achiness and crampiness, but have had no luck,  dry needling could be a solution. The practice, mostly used in Australia, is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. You can read more about it HERE.

I begged my dry needler woman, Cathy, to let me take pictures. Here is the needle.

needle2

I should have put a quarter or tampon beside it to show the actual size. It was about four inches long and was to go in my ass. Not up my ass,  just in the muscle. She said they have longer needles for bigger asses. I am not the huge ass (“Hugh Jazz” as Bart Simpson would say when he calls Moes Tavern) category, so I got the four incher (that’s what she said).

I nicely asked her to please take a picture of the needle sticking out of my butt, telling her I didn’t care if my exposed glute was on the internet (the SUAR version of a sex tape I suppose), but she opted for my hamstring. Chicken.

needle1

So, here’s what goes on. The very thin, acupuncture type needle goes in. However, dry needling is NOT acupuncture. Totally different philosophy. The needle is moved around within the muscle. If the needle hits a true trigger point there will be some twitching, cramping and deferred pain. You may or may not faint, break into a cold sweat or just say the “f” word and pound your fists like I did. Seriously, it’s not that painful. On the pain scale, I probably only got to a six when she dug into my very tight IT band.

She did about six needles in my ass, four in my hamstring and three in my IT. We were going to do the adductors (inner thigh), but that is the most painful area, so we will do that next week. Needles in the inner thigh. Is that a type of porn? Might need some tequila before that one.

Cathy the Needler said that this practice is especially helpful to release IT bands. Just FYI.

Now I am achy, which is expected. I am going to swim later today and try running tomorrow. I will be very excited if this works because I have been dealing with glute issues for the past six months or so and think they may have contributed to my injury.

Prior to the needling, I saw my doc. Unlike past appointments where I cried and begged him to tell me when I would be better, we spent this session shooting the shit about Boston. He reviewed and okay’d my training plan and could not stop smiling at my progress. Said my body language and whole disposition were both completely different than four weeks ago. It feels might good to be on this side of the injury.

My doc ran Boston in 2008. As he talked about the course, I could visualize myself there, and I kept tearing up with pure and complete joy at the thought of it all. We even hugged. Oh good God!!

His biggest tip for Boston? Pool Raft. My eyebrow raised and I looked at him with my most profound WTF? expression when he said this. He explained that because you take busses to the start so early, you end up waiting around forever. His ass became frozen from sitting on the concrete and grass for so long, and it sucked. He noticed the Boston veterans brought deflated pool rafts with them to sit on. Target – $2.00. Good tip for any marathon!  I’m all over it.

In 40 days I will be sitting on a deflated pool raft in Hopinkton wearing Goodwill throw away clothes and some kind of cute running outfit and getting ready to experience and obtain this long awaited goal. It has come at the price of many ups and downs, tears, uncertainties. I think that makes it all the more sweeter.

Off to Tarjay,

SUAR

38 comments:

  1. I'm curious to know how this differs from acupuncture. I had acupuncture to release a pinched muscle in the shoulder/trap area once. They also put one in the top of my head in a "chill out zone". None of it hurt at all, and I left feeling detoxed and energized! (I peed a lot that day too - part of that whole detox thing). It's something I would do every 3 months if I had unlimited expenses.

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  2. Yes! Sounds like you have turned a corner!

    Pool raft?! Flippin' genius!

    I think I need needles in my brain. I'm so tired lately.

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  3. I have been following you for a bit now. Out of everything I have learned from you... I take one tidbit. The pool raft. GENIUS.

    I might even stop following now just because I got such a good nugget from today :)

    Simply brilliant. Sometimes I am so stupid to miss the simplest of things in life haha.

    Need to follow up on this needling crap. I am gonna email you, beware!

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  4. egads, needling sounds rough.

    40 days! how did we get so close? so glad you are getting on the other side of this injury!

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  5. Your doctor is a genius...I love that you have a doc that is not only a runner but ran Boston.

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  6. I am excited to hear all about your race from deflated pool raft, all the way past the citgo sign ending with a Right on Hereford, Left on Boyleston and straight on to the Boston Public Library.

    This post, however, I skipped most of, as I couldn't risk catching a second glimpse of the needle in your hamstrings, blech ... you've discovered my weakness.

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  7. I think you should bring a blown-up pool raft! That would be more comfortable. I'm sure your bus-mates won't mind.

    FREAKY on the needles. I've had acup. but I can't look! I hope it helps!!!

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  8. I want to try that dry needling thing. I love my acupuncturist, but the thought of a 4-incher (I have a small butt, too) going into the glute and MAKING it let go... what a concept. I want that. Inner thigh, too.

    Your perspective is just fantastic. I think your Boston experience is going to be FUN. Imagine... :)

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  9. Sounds similar to myofascial therapy, which I had for back injuries many years ago. Super painful, super effective.

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  10. A lot of runners I know get this done and swear by it. Our running clinic just had a demo of this (it's called IMS - intramuscular stimulation - up here) and we were so blood-thirsty watching it. You could see the person's muscle contract and it was like "ooh, do it again!" Hope it makes you feel all kinds of awesome! I haven't heard one bad thing about the results, but I do count my blessings that I've got low platelets and therefore can't get it done on myself. The needles really creep me out. :)

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  11. FYI: Dry needling can also be done by MDs, and is regulated by practice act by state. (For example, I am not able to do DN here in WI because it's not allowed by my licensure)

    SO incredibly excited for you - in so many ways!! Cannot wait to hear about Boston!

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  12. So great to see things coming together for you. Quite a journey. In addition to your cute running outfit, you should run with your flotation vest on and needles sticking out of your ass. It seems only right.

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  13. Ouch! I'm not a fan of needles and don't think that sticking more than one in my body in any place would be comfortable lol

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  14. Needling looks kind of hard core and awesome. I had acupuncture once and I swear it really really works. I hope this cures everything (well, as much as it can) and you feel great soon!

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  15. I can't wait to cheer you on!! I'm planning my sign now
    hows
    RUN SHART RUN

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  16. GREAT IDEA about the pool raft....nice! Needles freak me out, you are a brave woman!

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  17. Sounds like you and your doc had a 'moment' which is more than I can say for you and your pin-cushion buddy. Hope it works.

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  18. Just reading this made me a little lightheaded. I guess that means I probably couldn't do it. No a fan of needles, but I hope it works for you!!!

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  19. I've been having dry needling/IMS for three years now to address tendon issues that respond to nothing else. I've had over 100 needles in my calves - and I swear by it. I even love having it done because I can feel my muscles/tendons just let go of all the accumulated tension that's built up during training. This is not acupuncture (though the same needles are used) the philosophy behind the practices are very different. I swear by Heather North at In Motion (Boulder). She is the BEST dry needler and I've tried lots.
    http://www.chronicrunner.com/

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  20. Agh, I just cannot get behind the acupuncture t hing. I'm not saying it doesn't 1) work any wonders or 2) feel painless...but its NEEDLES. Eeesh. You're a brave woman, and your ass will surely appreciate that pool raft after all that pricking...heh

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  21. Pool raft, huh? I am running the Utah Valley Marathon in June. We are bussed up in the mountains (elevation: 6,000 f) at 3:30am and the race doesn't start until 6am. The raft just might come in handy. Great tip. As for the needles... i'd try just about anything too!

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  22. I have a friend back home who tried this therapy and it did work. hope it will be the same for you! I just read XLMIC's blog today..Alors vous parlez francais madame SUAR? je ne savais pas?! moi aussi!

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  23. what an excellent talk with your doctor! can i bring some rafts to sit on with you?! we can be the cool kids...

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  24. I'm gonna have to look into this dry needling stuff. Not cuz I need it now, but I love reading about new injury treatment techniques.

    GENIUS idea on the pool raft!

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  25. Very interesting!!! Can't wait to see how it works.

    I think of you every morning I managed to get my but out of bed and get to the pool in the morning as I see a lady who is there doing her water running. I keep thinking "wow Beth came to Westminster to work out today!"

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  26. OMG...OUCH! Kuddos to you for trying that, but I don't know if I could do it!!

    The pool raft is an awesome idea! I'm so excited for you! :)

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  27. YIKES!

    freak me out.......


    i want to see your tan self!

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  28. Never had acupuncture I'm a BIG CHICKEN not to mention no way would my insurance pay for that! BTW yes I do have anxiety.. lots of it.. sigh.

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  29. I've done the dry needling/IMS and it works like a hot damn - I had back problems for ages due to tight muscles and the needles in combo with regular massages has saved my back! You're a stronger woman than I, I would have put the pain at a 10 on some of them! And...just warning you...I had the upper inner thigh needles and those hurt like a son of a gun. The ones that reaaally get me are the ones my practitioner does in the small of my back...those were toe curlers!

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  30. First year I did Boston, I could have used that raft as we got there so early. Last year, I barely had time to pee before it was time to run. Great idea about the raft.

    So glad things are turning for the better, even if it means needles. Yikes!

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  31. wow, never heard of that treatment. sounds interesting. hope it helps.

    the raft is a great idea. thankfully we have a host house to hang out at a 1/4 mile from the start but i'll pass the raft info along.

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  32. I've never heard of dry needling but if it makes the muscles feel better, awesome!

    As for the pictures, I'm a big fan of the butt shot sometimes. Lately, I've been dropping my pants at work to take pictures of a nasty bruise that resulted from a bike crash and now covers my entire upper leg. Daily pictures are very important!

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  33. A pool raft! That's GENIUS. Ima hafta pick me up one of those bad boys. Thanks for sharing the tip!! I'm glad the dry needling experience went alright for you! Do you feel like it helped loosen up your muscles?

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  34. Reading about the needling made me almost pass out... Yikes.

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  35. Pool raft! Brilliant. I'm running nyc2013 in 6 weeks and I'm bringing a raft.

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  36. This is something really great,..very nice,..
    Pool Floats

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