Saturday, February 28, 2015
Acupuncture and why I use it.
It is no secret I have had a lot of injuries over the years. My current injury prevention and treatment plan is my most successful and I have been running basically injury free for the last 16 months or so. (full discloser I jinxed myself and after writing this my right plantar facia tightened up and I had to take a day off for it) My system has three basic arms. I do yoga to prevent injuries and keep my body limber, balanced and strong. I do specific exercise to target my problem areas, specifically my thoracic spine to fix my posture and eliminate my coordination problems and finally when something hurts and it shouldn't and to help with opening up the thoracic spine I get acupuncture done. I'll eventually write about all of these but today I'll focus on the acupuncture first because generally if someone is reading a blog about injuries it means they are injured and are looking for treatment and not prevention.
I have tried everything over the years and each modality of treatment has its advantages but I have consistently been shocked by how quickly and completely acupuncture can fix a problem. In the year or so after my back surgery I would fairly regularly 'throw my back out.' Basically I would get spasms in the muscle and for days I could do very little and even breathing was painful. Other treatments would help but it was slow. Melissa suggested acupuncture. I was skeptical to say the least but I'm always open to trying anything. I make my judgements based on results.
I struggled into the office and dealt with the awkwardness of having someone stick you full of needles. After a bit more than an hour I was told I was done and I got up. I was 95% better! I couldn't believe it. I said this to Tricia, the acupuncturist, she was disappointed and put me back on the table and applied more needles. Ten minutes later I was 100% better. No pain, no tightness, no weakness. I was floored.
This same experience has been repeated now many many times. I now also go to acupuncture to help improve my posture and thoracic spine control and strength to continue to get past my coordination problems. This process is slower but still very helpful.
I still see Tricia Beretz, www.glacierblueacupuncture.com She was the first person I went to because at the time she was the only certified sports acupuncturist in Massachusetts. I'm not sure if she is still the only one but there certainly aren't many and she has always done such a good job I haven't felt any need or desire to branch out. Obviously this info is of no use to you if you are living outside eastern Massachusetts as I know many of you are but for those who are closer maybe I can shorten your search.
For those who don't live near me start with a google search for certified and licensed practitioners. I would avoid physical therapists doing dry needling. They receive far less training and my personal experience with it was not only disappointing in terms of results but actually quite painful. Also they have a rather high rate of injury in comparison to traditional acupuncture. I am aware some people have had great success with dry needling, Josh McDougal has used it as a corner stone to his comeback to running, so I'm sure some of them are doing a very good job. I just had a bad experience myself, have read a few horror stories and am concerned about the lack of training in comparison to what acupuncturists get.