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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dry needling, take one

This morning I headed into Magnolia Physical Therapy* for my first dry needling. My PT pointed out several areas that need work, including the left gastroc (which is contributing to the pulling on my hamstring tendons) and of course my adductors and hip flexors. Ever since the diagnosis of Osteitis Pubis I've been painfully aware of my adductors, and my right hip flexor is so tight that when I do the Thomas Test my left foot dangles a full six inches lower than my right. In fact my right upper thigh doesn't even come in contact with the table, the flexors are so tight.

Nobody told me that dry needling hurt like the dickens.
The process doesn't take long: the PT locates an area that responds to stimulation with twitch, then uses a long thin needle to probe the deep muscles to reproduce the twitch. It hurts. The needle passing into the muscle is painless (it is a fine needle), but the probing and subsequent deep twitching is pretty rough. I take back everything I ever said about being able to tolerate pain: I was biting my lip and gasping for breath.

And then the pain goes away, except in your calves. My PT warned me that the calves would stay painful all day, and so far he's right; I'm limping a little!

I have so much ropey tightness in my adductors that this process will take a few visits, but already after today I had astonishing results. Part of my workup was the Thomas Test, and after needling I repeated it. To my amazement, my right leg relaxed easily downward, hanging identically to the left side. I couldn't believe it! I had heard that results from dry needling were often instantaneous, but it was still a surprise to observe! So witch-doctory!

I'm back off running again during treatment. I definitely need to get this pesky hamstring taken care of, and to do so I need the rest of my muscles doing their jobs. Hopefully dry needling will help me get some muscles back to normal function. In the meantime, thanks for still reading even though I have NOTHING to say and NO PRs and NO RACES - basically nothing fun to talk about. If all goes well in the next few weeks I might still run RnR New Orleans, but drop down to the half. But that will be a fun run only - no racing. Which sucks. And I won't do it if it's risky, so we'll see.

* this post is sponsored by Magnolia PT, which has agreed to offer all treatments free of charge as long as I only say nice things about them. HA. In reality I have a $2500 deductible and they're out of network, so blargh. 


  1. I really hope this is your magic bullet--you've been dealing with this for far too long!

  2. Although I hate that you're injured and have to write about treatments instead of PRs, your injury posts ARE interesting reads... I'd never heard of dry-needling before... How many repeat treatments will they do for each problem area?

  3. While I wish for YOU your posts were fun racing posts, for me the injury treatment posts are useful also. I hope this does the trick! And I feel your pain on the insurance woes. When my son had surgery last year, it WAS in-network, but our deductible was insane. On the "plus" side, we'd fulfilled our deductible (for him, not for the family) by Jan. 4.

  4. OUCH!! That does NOT sound fun. But it is awesome that it worked so well. Fingers crossed that this gets you healed up and back out there doing your thing. Sorry about the insurance/network/deductible. Blargh indeed! Hang in there!!

  5. Man, that seems very below average. You're like - the needle going through my skin, and muscle, and coming out the other side didn't hurt ... what??? That sounds like the worst, and then he starts twisting it in there - please! I'm just gonna stay healthy. Hope it gets better soon. Have a great week!

  6. eek eeek eeeeeek. You will come out of this with a higher pain tolerance. You and me both sister! Really hope this is the ticket! Keep us posted....

  7. I am also hoping this is what will help you for real and for the long run...ha!
    I need to catch up..I dont know what happened but your blog is not showing of the my Google reader list...I came here to check what was going on only to see you have not dissapeered! that is a good thing..ok...wishing you all the best with those scary needles!

  8. I totally was thinking you got free PT...then I read your disclaimer. Hope this works for you and gets you back to running!!

  9. um i haven't had a race or run to talk about either but i think people are still reading me. maybe 1 or 2.

    i'm glad the dry needling is helping!! lord i don't know if i should try it... the pain sounds wonderful and all. hooray for high deductibles and out of network providers!!!