My first dry-needling experience

Ladies, it is important to take care of yourself.

Without realising, our bad posture, prolonged sitting, and even wearing heels can lead to pains and aches in our bodies.

I have been experiencing discomfort in my shoulders, neck, and hips for a few months.

I have been ignoring it as I thought it might be due to bad sleeping habits. I also thought that it might be due to work-related stress. So I took a few days off, thinking the pain might go away after taking some days of resting. However, the condition did not improve.

Twincity Half Marathon was the most painful 21km that I have ever experienced. The continuous impact was really uncomfortable, and I had to stop a few times to stretch my legs and back. I went to see a physiotherapist, and it turns out that I had piriformis syndrome and trapezius myalgia. To combat those condition, I was prescribed a few sessions of dry needling.

The piriformis muscle was inflammed hence it was pressing on my sciatic nerve. This is the source of the pain.

The tight shoulder and neck muscles which is the cause to my discomfort

  • What is dry-needling?

Dry needling, also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling, is the use of either solid filiform needles or hollow-core hypodermic needles for therapy of muscle pain, including pain related to myofascial pain syndrome. Dry needling is sometimes also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS).

Source: Wikipedia

In other words, very fine needles were inserted into my muscle to release tight points. These tight muscles were the cause to my discomfort.

  • Does it hurt?

You will not feel the pain of the needle being inserted, however you will feel muscle spasms from the needle.

Overall pain level: 3.5/5. It hurts, but it’s bearable.

After the dry needling was complete, the therapist:

  1. put on a patch that will send electric pulses for 15 minutes. It felt good, like a million tiny fingers massaging the spot where it hurts the most
  2. taught me a few stretches to do everyday and help with releasing the tight muscles. I was also advised to take 5 minutes of walking for every 1 hour of sitting down.

At the end of the session, I felt instant relief from the tight muscles. However, more sessions are required in order for me to be completely ‘cured’ from these syndrome.

  • Post treatment

The next morning, there were some bruises on the places that I was poked, so ice compression helped soothe that area. I also experienced sore muscles, but it felt like DOMs from lifting weights. It was perfectly normal and I just allow it to subside naturally.

  • Conclusion

In conclusion, these discomforts were not caused from “too much” working out. In fact, it was caused by our sedentary lifestyle. These discomforts are pretty common if you work in an office environment. So consult a certified, medical personnel and don’t leave it to your ‘tukang urut’ or masseuse, as it might lead to bigger ergonomic issues in the future.

Short vs Long Run. Which works for you?

Ever wonder if short or long run is better for you? After a weekend of long runs, and many months of short runs prior to that, here are my findings:

  1. Short runs are good to improve speed
    Frequent short runs are good. Go intense if you want to be fueled by carbs, but go easy if you want to be fueled by fat. Balance your running schedule between running fast and going easy. Running fast or intensely  puts stress on your muscles, but in a good way as it pushes you to improve. Running at easy pace is relaxing on your muscles – much needed in your routine
  2. Push to your limits at long runs occasionally
    You get to improve endurance at long runs. Try run within good heart rates and balance between improving timing and distance. To me, both short and long runs must go hand in hand.
  3. Let your body recover well
    Short or long, fast or slow, make sure your body recovers well. Your body needs to rest and take time off. Here’s a recovery plan for half and full marathon. Let your muscles heal and energy restored.

MY STORY OF LONG RUNS BACK TO BACK

My week ended with much sore and pain after a 12 km and 21 km run back to back. I am a recreational runner who runs for fitness. I hardly go for competitive races for various reasons, but last weekend I did two long distance runs.

Normally, I would run 5 km on average 5 times a week as my focus the past months was to improve speed. Three days before the back to back long runs, I trained and ran 12 km within 1 hr 17 mins. I was happy with the speed but not happy with the after effect on my knee. I felt acute pain on right knee.

When I was running fast and injured my knee after

When I was running fast and injured right knee after.

I rested for 3 days and went to the 12 km and 21 km weekend runs with least expectations – not being able to run at all.  l didn’t want to miss MHWH Night Run by AIA Vitality 12km run at MAEPS so I tried my luck, joined the crowd and started running slowly.

Surprisingly, there was no pain. So, I kept running and increased speed along the way. I finished with no injury at 01:39:02, and felt I should prepare for the PJ Half Marathon, the morning after. At the PJ Half Marathon, I ran slowly the first 5 km and increased speed as I felt no pain on my knee. But the hills, especially along the last 3 km were killers. My pelvic started to become stiff and I was not able to run faster. I completed 21 km within official time 2:43:50. Not my personal best, but thankful for sure!

Elevation Nightmare PJ Half Marathon

My pace & elevation at PJ Half Marathon 2017

The soreness and pain went away quickly and I now realised I should have a better training plan that combines short and long runs to avoid injuries and to improve performance and endurance. No last minute long distance training after this.

All well and done, my knees are fine. Now, here are some captured moment!

  1. MHWH Night Run by AIA Vitality  : 22nd July 2017
MHWH Night Run by AIA Vitality Pacers

MHWH Night Run by AIA Vitality  21km Pacers

Nadia Noi the 21km Pacer

With Nadia Noi the 21km Pacer

After 12km MHWH Night Run 2017

It was Nuha’s first 12km run.

2. PJ Half Marathon : 23rd July 2017

Intan Suraya after a back to back 21km, 12km and 21km runs

Amazing Intan Suraya ran 21km, 12km and 21km runs over the weekend!

More than 4000 half marathon runners

More than 4000 half marathon runners waiting for flagoff

Nashata Runners

WIth Intan Siza – the Nashata Runner. Picture by ActionPixMalaysia

Looking forward to improve training and run better at my next half marathon! A mix of both short and long runs that is!