Friday, July 6, 2012

Needle in My Rear & Fun Facts Friday

Needle in My Rear
I have mentioned my physical therapist suggesting dry needling a few times. I've scheduled and canceled the appointment a few times as well. I really really don't like needles. I can tell you the number of shots I've had in the past 10 years even. But, the pain from my piriformis and gluteus medius area is severe enough that I really knew I needed to give it a try.

I did happen to talk with a local (badass) runner who had just happened to have had it done the same morning we were talking. After just one treatment that morning, she noticed a difference. She also told me a little more of what to expect which is nice to hear rather than just read.

So, yesterday I went for it. I did my best to just breathe and stay relaxed. I had visions of me jerking and causing permanent glute damage somehow. When he inserted the needle into the triggerpoint, I felt just the tiniest prick. I thought that was probably the worst of it. I knew that he would manipulate the needle to trigger the muscle response that is causing the pain, thus I'd experience the pain I've been feeling.

But to feel a needle actually hitting the muscle, um, not so pleasant. I really have no words to describe how it felt. Very strange sensation. It hurt, but more of an ache, but not quite the same ache that I get from sitting or when sleeping. More shooting, but not excruciating by any means.

Once he stopped manipulating the needle, my muscle were twitching and jumping, and then the deep ache I'm familiar with did set in. He left the needle in and put a heat lamp  (can't remember if it was infrared or what, I was trying to breathe and relax when he told me) and left the room for about 5 minutes or so.

Then it was over. He removed the needle (that hurt more than the insertion) and said I was done. He did re-check my rotation strength, which was embarrassingly weak at my last visit. And surprisingly, it was quite different this time. In fact, there wasn't a huge difference between my right and left side now. Crazy right?

I was definitely achy for the next several hours, more like I'd been hit in that spot rather than the pain I'm used to. I actually was able to sleep through the night with no piriformis or glute pain. This was something new. The big test was going to be my long run.

Fighting for 10
I guess that brings me nicely into this morning's long run. Jason and I got up just after 5. It was already a nice, humid 80 degrees out. The first mile was a slow one. I think we were both still asleep. In fact, we didn't speak until just shy of 2 miles.

As we did last week, we headed towards the river. What's nice about this is that it's a gradual decent. Gotta love that...until you have to do the return part of course. We made our way through the River Market area, down along the river, across a bridge and back (holy hills, lots of cursing and I actually told Jason at one point I was having an out of body experience), we made our way by the Heifer International Building, somehow managing to hit more hills again, then started to wind our way back home.

I felt pretty good, despite the hills starting to kick my butt, up to mile 8. Then the breakdown started happening. My piriformis/glute started to get really achy, which hasn't happened during my runs in a while, the energy spent on the hills along with the heat was definitely zapping me. And of course we had to contend with a constant, gradual ascent to get back home.

I was sweating so much that my shorts were pretty much glued to me. Jason said it looked like I had just jumped in the pool. And it felt that way minus the refreshing cold water part. Even the sprinklers I did go through weren't cool at all. But at least it wasn't sweat.

I will admit that I stopped at 9.5 miles. I thought I was done. And I was ticked at myself. I told Jason I felt like I was failing somehow because I just couldn't get to 10. He suggested jogging easy for a few minutes. So I did. And I finished 10. It wasn't fast. It wasn't all that pretty, but I got it done.

I think this quote pretty much sums it up. Even when I was saying "I can't" quite clearly I could.

Fun Facts Friday - Random Thoughts
I thought that I might have a plethora of ideas for Fun Facts Friday after yesterday's dry needling appointment. I mean, surely that's some funny shit when you think about it - willingly going in to have a needle stuck in your butt. Sounds like a great time huh?

But, I was so concerned with the pain and breathing and relaxing, that I didn't quite find as much humor in the situation as I had thought I might. So how about some totally random thoughts from the dry needling and the morning run?

  • You know you're desperate when you willingly let someone stick you with a long needle on the mere premise that it'll help.
  • At some point you no longer care how many people see your rear end. 
  • Your perception of what hurts changes tremendously when you've been injured. 
  • I hate running over bridges and am convinced Jason loves them and purposely wanted to run over this particular bridge out of shear meanness. 
  • Never forget that when your run starts downhill and you're doing an out and back, you will have to run up hill and it shouldn't surprise you every single flipping time. 
  • Bananas are not good when they start to come back up.
  • I am certain I get runner's amnesia otherwise I wouldn't look forward to running again so soon after a tough run. 
  • I love sprinklers.
So, what are some totally random thoughts from you today? I'll take anything. Would you ever try dry needling or have you tried it? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
It's Friday
Morning run
Relaxing evening