This has been a VERY busy week, and I’m moving forward pretty well in training mode thanks to the dry needling on Tuesday, so it’s just getting even crazier than it already was! The first time I heard about dry needing I was really pretty skeptical. It was last year when I injured my calf. I’ve never been a huge proponent of things like acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments, but the PT suggested it, and my thoughts were that it couldn’t make my injury any worse, so why not. However, I really didn’t think it’d help either. It took 3 different dry needing sessions on my calf muscle to get rid of the nagging pain I was dealing with, and even then, I was pretty doubtful as to whether it was the dry needling or the time off was just finally sufficient for the pain to be gone. I wasn’t convinced either way, but when the PT suggested it on my hip, I figured I’d give it a go again.
Dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling) isn’t really a pleasant experience, but it’s not unbearable either. They insert needles into trigger points, wiggle them around until it hits the right spot, your muscle tightens up like it has a bad cramp, pretty much immediately relaxes again, then they do it to another spot. My calf was always really sore the next day, so I was expecting the same from my hip & glutes.
On Tuesday, the PT stretched my hip flexors and hamstrings, then she had me go through my exercises to see if I had improved, and if I was doing them correctly. I had improved, so she gave me an additional step to do on each exercise, then it was on to the dry needling. Since it was on my hip, we moved into a separate room where she had me lay on my side facing away from her. She mashed around on my right hip some to figure out which trigger point she wanted to insert the needle in….basically where ever was the most painful for her to mash on was where she was going to insert the needle to cause more pain. The first couple of spots that she did were about like my calf, somewhat uncomfortable, but not too bad. She had one more spot that she wanted to get, so she inserted the needle into it, found the spot, and my muscle, piriformis I think, felt like it tightened up and didn’t release for the next few hours. OUCH!! This dry needling session was definitely more painful than on my calf, but it still wasn’t any worse than a really bad cramp, and with the results, I’d definitely do it again. That muscle felt tight for the next few hours, so I tried to stretch it several times, and then that evening I rode 20 miles.
Wednesday was an off day, but Thursday morning was a scheduled run, so I headed out at 5AM with my running buddies for a 3 mile run/walk. I pushed myself pretty good that morning because this whole run/walk thing and my slower times on Sunday and Tuesday were aggravating me. I decided to do a 4:1 ratio Thursday morning, and I was able to average an overall pace of 10:19/mile which is where my short run training paces were before I got injured. Towards the end of the 3 miles, I started feeling my hamstrings tightening up, but my hip felt great at the end. The tightening of the hamstrings is definitely not a good sign though because that means I’m probably still using them when I should be using my glutes, so I will still be working on my PT exercises for a while to continue strengthening my glutes.
Today is Friday, and I’m still pain free in my hip, so I’m very hopeful to be back on my regular running training schedule soon. However, I will be seeing the PT still because she has to start looking at my neck on Tuesday which the dr believes is pinching on a nerve making my arm go to sleep due to some compression in my neck on an x-ray. UGH! I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle at times, but at least this is just affecting my bike riding which isn’t as big of a deal at the moment because I don’t have any major races coming up on the bike right now, but I’ve got to get on schedule for my 2 upcoming half marathons!