Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PT and Trigger Point Needle Therapy

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

I finally started PT sessions last week. Too bad I didn't start sooner. I kept thinking a little rest would do the trick, but even after the first session I was feeling so much better.

The physical therapist agreed with everything I’d been doing:
• Spinning/aqua jogging in place of running
• Compression sleeves/ KT tape
• Stretching/yoga/foam rolling

Just an Aqua Jogging fool
My muscle strength and balance tests were good for both legs. I have a slight case of LAS (Lazy Ass Syndrome), but most female runners suffer from weak glutes. So I’ve got a few exercises to work on that.

Next the PT looked at my arches and evaluated my gait pattern on the treadmill. Apparently I’m very flat footed and a moderate pronator. That took me by surprise. I’ve always been a “neutral” runner.

We discussed shoes some more. Obviously pregnancy changes your biomechanics, so when I got back into running after having Emily I went to Big Peach Running Company and got fitted for shoes. That was 2 years ago, and I’ve just been buying the same model ever since. They’ve felt good all this time, so why the change all of a sudden?

She said my calves and hamstrings had probably been over-compensating for my arches for quite some time. The fatigue at the end of my half marathon in May (where I first started getting all the crazy leg cramps) must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. My calves couldn’t take it anymore and everything came crashing down, literally. It can happen that fast.

OK, I’m willing to buy that explanation. I went to Big Peach again the following day and got a more supportive shoe. They’re basically the same as the one I’ve been wearing, but with a slightly heavier medial post.

Saucony ProGrid Ride 3 vs. ProGride Guide 4
Since I’d already gone through the first line of treatment basics on my own, the PT offered Trigger Point Needle Therapy as the next treatment option. I’d never heard of it before, but oh my goodness, it’s incredible. Apparently it’s only legal in handful of states, and fortunately Georgia is one of them.

A little acupuncture-type needle is gently pushed into areas of tight muscle. When the needle hits a knot, the muscle quickly contracts and then releases. It’s an odd sensation, and I’ll admit not very pleasant. But afterwards, you feel completely amazing as all the muscle hot spots of tension have been released. Last week we worked on my shins, this week my calves.

I got the OK to ease back into running. Here’s what it’s looked like so far.

Wednesday: 3 miles pushing the jogging stroller @ 9:48/mi pace (w/ new shoes)
Thursday: 1 mile TM (7.0, .5% incline), 1 hr spin class, 1 mile TM (7.0, .5% incline), core & planks (AM); PT and needling (pm)
Friday: 3.1 miles @7:46, 1 mile pushing jogging stroller @ 10:00
Saturday: 3 miles TM (7.0, .5% incline), 1 hr spin class, core & planks
Sunday: 30 mins aqua jogging (am);  6 miles outside, hilly route @ 7:53, core & planks (pm)
Monday: 1 mile TM (7.0, .5% incline), 1 hr spin class
Tuesday: Rest and more needling at the PT

I’m officially registered for 5 races between now and January. Of course I want to load up my calendar even more. This Saturday I’ll test myself with a local 5k to see where I’m at after my little vacation from running. I’m already giddy just thinking about it :)

Happy to be on the road again
Are you being teased with a taste of nice fall weather this week like we are?


  1. That seems kind of painful. I hope it works for you!

  2. Interesting about the needle therapy, I hadn't heard of it before! I've been really loving the cool morning temps around here lately, it's fantastic.

  3. So glad that PT is working out! I'm in love with the needles... :-)

  4. That needle point therapy sounds pretty interesting. I wonder why it is illegal in some states? That makes it interguing and a bit scary all at once!