As I have mentioned on the blog (and told many of you in person), my lower back has been bothering me these last few weeks. To oversimplify my back history…about 3 years ago I injured my back, most likely disc related. At the time, I wasn’t doing much cross training or core strength. It kicked me into gear on core strength and when I couldn’t make it to the gym or a class, I would do 10 minute pilates On Demand. My back began to feel better. Every now and again it acts up but for the most part, I forget about it. I have had some on and off SI pain, but I think this is mostly related to posture and my tight left IT band. Flash back a little over a month ago to an awesome trip to Vegas and one (maybe two) nights of dancing and walking in heels. When I got back into town, my back was SORE. It hurt so bad in fact that I had the BOY carry my luggage up the stairs. Since then, it has been bothering me mostly at night after sitting in the car while I commute home. Until last Monday that is, when my back some major TLC treatment and much needed alignment. This week, my back has felt better than it has in a while. I’m sure that this is do to the soft tissue work and an easy and restful week (I only ran once).
Last week, I made an appointment to have acupuncture done on my back after today’s soft tissue work. Because my back has been feeling so wonderful, we focused most of today’s Body Work session on my legs. It is a well known fact that I have some wicked tight IT bands (mostly on that left side), and I had to take some deeeep breaths to work through some of the more tender spots. Surprisingly, I also discovered this afternoon that my left adductors (the muscles that run on the inside of your leg) are extremely tight and restricted as well. We spent some time working through the left leg using rolfing techniques, and I figured I was in the clear until he touched my right adductors and I seriously jumped and screamed. They are just as tight as the left! We didn’t have enough time to fully ‘dig’ into the right side, but it gives me something to look forward to for next week. I have always believed that facially I am tight (something I decided in grad school when I tested positive for all of the fascia tests), but I didn’t recognize how tight. I am confident that fixing some of my lower extremity muscle imbalances created from years of activity and injury will ultimately help alleviate and prevent future low back pain, which is why today’s session ‘Hurt So Good’!
I have always been interested in and intrigued by acupuncture. I know people who swear by it for everything from IBS to migraines to fertility, and I love the idea of a holistic Eastern approach to healing. Since it was my first acupuncture experience and Cherlyn, the acupuncturist, wasn’t sure about bruising (I take an Aspirin daily), she did a simple set up on my back to promote muscle relaxation and pain relief. She felt along my vertebrae and used that for the pin location. She also placed two pins on my legs to promote overall relaxation. She set up some heat over my back and I just relaxed into the surface. Of course, I asked her to take pictures because I was super curious and I wanted to share them on the blog.
Placing the needles was painless, even easier than a finger prick blood test. For the most part, I couldn’t feel that they were even there unless I moved slightly or shifted. There was one along the lower left side of my back (near the injury) that pinched for a minute and Cherlyn said that was because my muscles were tighter in that area.
I faded out and almost fell asleep. With the heat on my back and the wave machine, I felt incredibly relaxed, which was a great feeling after spending my weekend taking notes and practicing labs in the class. On the way home, my back felt loose although my legs were a little sore from the intense facial work. The rest of the night has been pain free and I am interested to see how I feel throughout the week. During my intake, we talked a little about my allergies and history of stomach issues, which can also be improved with acupuncture. Cherlyn made some diet recommendations and stressed that cutting out gluten would greatly improve both my allergies and stomach. I have another appointment next week and I’m sure I will appreciate the relaxation after we start attacking the tightness in my right hip and thigh.
If you are interested in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I recommend surfing through Cherlyn’s website!
What are you experiences with acupuncture and Eastern medicine?
I’m really interested so please share stories and links!