Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dry Needling

A friend of mine recently went through a... training, I guess?  A workshop?  A certification?  Something magical and clandestine that only physical therapists (and I think a couple chiropractors) can take part in where they lock themselves into a room and poke each other with needles until all their various aches and pains have abated and they have unlocked the secrets to a reliably good night's sleep.

That's how I imagine it went, anyway, based on the details she shared and my natural gift for confabulation. 

Anyhow, I asked this friend if she'd bring her magic needles with her when she and another friend came over last weekend.  She kindly agreed and even made us feel necessary by saying she needed plenty of dry needling practice. Then she stabbed us until we begged for mercy!

Okay, so not really.  She was very precise and professional about the whole thing- she even brought her own wee sharps container- calmly talking us through every step of the process and answering my questions with the utmost patience.  While I laid on my front, peppered her with questions, and tried to take a picture without moving any of the muscles in my posterior chain- the section she was needling- I soon realized that I wasn't feeling much of anything. 

Excuse the dead fish look on my face- I really really wanted to see what she was doing back there.

As a matter of fact, the only real sensation I felt was when she needled a certain spot in my right hamstring and elicited a twitch response.  I kept asking if the needles were in, if she'd already put one in, etc.  I couldn't feel much of anything, excepting that one spot, throughout the whole thing.  Somehow this feels like it must be connected to the fact that I can only be massaged by those with impressive upper body strength; my response to the question, "How's the pressure?" is almost invariably "MOOOOOOORE!"

The freaky part to the whole "I am an unfeeling robot" revelation was when I watched Anne dry needle our other friend, Mindy.  Not only was Mindy's response different than mine- nothing crazy, she just clearly could feel bunches of needles penetrating her flesh- but I could see how long the needles were going into her calves.  They had to be at least two inches long (currently holding my index finger and thumb up to try and gauge how long those needles looked), and most of that length went into her calf muscles.  I had to ask because it seemed so implausible, but sure enough, it was those big mamas that I wasn't feeling.  Google searches asking what the opposite of a highly sensitive person might be have so far only told me that I am a pitiless turd. 

I'm not even going to pretend to be able to explain what the proposed benefits to dry needling are.  I'll just tell you what I told Anne:  my range of motion was better for around 48 hours post-needling, especially in my right hip, where I usually suffer from limited range of motion and almost daily pain. 
Example:  normally I have no problem executing this stretch on my left leg, while my right takes a few minutes to relax into place.  It's one of my very favorite hip opening-type stretches, a kind of standing pigeon for you yoga types. 
That knee is usually floating several inches above the counter, at least at first.  After the dry needling, however, it slid right down onto the counter, parallel with my foot.  Amazing.  Also I don't know what that means.  Ask a PT.  Of additional note:  this picture was taken in the back room at work.  I take regular stretch breaks, and you should, too.

It was all a welcome break from the we're-moving-life-as-we-know-it-is-over chaos. 


1.  Not having to pay to call people long-distance anymore.  Or use those ridiculous pre-pay phone cards for the same. 

2.  Roasted pine nut hummus.

3.  The fact that corsets or stays or girdles are no longer required as part of women's daily attire.

4.  Adelaide, and not just because is even now telling me to type this.  She is a marvel.

5.  My youngest sister, Stephanie, who I can always use as a sounding board to determine what the kindest course of action is.  I don't know if it's a function of being the youngest child, or an inborn trait, or what, but she reliably points me in the nicer direction.

1 comment:

  1. Coach, as I have mentioned, is a physical therapist, and I have more aches and pains than the average almost 50 year old (at least I feel like I do). So he dry needles me when I agree to it - which means I am in LOTS OF PAIN! I hate that twitch part of dry needling. The needle pain itself doesn't really bug me, but the twitching just makes me go all queasy in my gut. I am a passing out type to begin with. Coach lives for the twitch, of course.


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