Before I tell you what my appointment was like, I thought I'd provide you with a little background on dry needling. Honestly, I had never heard about it until it was suggested that I try it and I saw myself as someone who was fairly up to date on injury interventions and treatments for runners. First of all, do not confuse dry needling with acupuncture, as they are NOT the same. While acupuncture targets meridians in the body, dry needling targets myofascial (muscular) trigger points. The goal (in my case) is to treat spasm and tension related to muscle and ligament strains. This is a great explanation of what dry needling is and how it works.
The short short version is that a small solid filament needle is inserted into a specific area (for me, the insertion was guided by ultrasound) in order to create a twitch reflex. This reflex interrupts the pain cycle. Additionally, the insertion of the needle itself generates an immune system response and asks the body to respond to the increased inflammation. The end game is to increase range of motion, decrease pain, and promote healing. I'm (clearly) not a medical professional so I don't completely understand the science, nor can I articulate it as well as I would like. If I have muddled the explanation at all, forgive me. Onto the appointment itself!
I was treated by Dr. Tobacco, and he was awesome. I'd seen him a few weeks prior for the original ultrasound that identified what was going on. I could have had my first needling session right then and there but I wanted to have a day or two to think about it, do my research, and find out if my health insurance would cover it. Once I decided to move forward and had the thumbs up from the insurance company, I made the appointment. I honestly didn't know what to expect. The whole appointment took 30 minutes but most of that was getting ready beforehand and putting myself back together after.
We went back over what was originally seen on the ultrasound and he explained how things would work. Because of the location of my injury, we had to get pretty comfortable pretty quickly. Runners aren't a modest bunch to begin with, but whatever modesty I had left went out the door at this appointment. As I'd explained previously, the injury is located where the adductor meets sitz bone. Or, as I am calling it, my legbutt. This means 2 things. 1: I'm getting needles stuck into what is already a fairly sensitive area. 2: I'm baring almost all to a person I've met once before for 30 minutes and he'll be paying pretty close attention. Sigh. Remember what I said about modesty?
|The face of a very unhappy camper|
|My view while they worked|
|Images Dr. T captured to show needle placement|
I have a race this coming Sunday. Ha. You know I'm going to ask if I can go. Stay tuned to see how that shakes out. :) Thanks for hanging in there this long! Have you had dry needling or any other new-fangled treatment before? Would you consider trying it?