Entering the room on my first visit I was a bit anxious. Knowing that the treatment can be uncomfortable is like taking Buckley’s cough syrup… you know it will taste horrible, but it works!
My therapist was great, we talked about my health history, why I chose this treatment, and what my expectations of this therapy was. The therapist explained in great detail what would happen on this first visit and what I should expect after my treatment.
Laying on the table the practitioner felt the area in question, my low back and hips and located numerous trigger points. A Trigger Point is a hyper-irritable spot within a taut band of skeletal muscle which is painful on compression. These trigger points, sometimes referred to as myofascial pain, can refer pain to other areas and often restrict the flexibility of the affected muscle. If left untreated, they can create new trigger points. As we talked about how intense the pain was, she was assessing where to place the needles.
My physiotherapist sterilized the treatment area and removed a needle from a sealed package. Each sterilized needle comes in an individual sealed package. Because the filament needles are so thin there is virtually no discomfort when the needle is inserted.
As the needle entered the skin and reached the muscle, this is when the muscle contracted and I felt twitching, spasms, and tingling; a potpourri of senses. As the practitioner moved the needle, I felt a sensation like hitting your funny bone, weird, tingly and painful, but the whole experience happened in under 4 seconds.
This was repeated numerous times on different areas on my lower back and hips. The therapist worked on one side of my body, and then mirrored the treatment on the other side of my body. The physiotherapist talked to me throughout the treatment and was aware and attentive to my reactions to each treatment.
Each needle felt sightly different, some treatment areas felt achy, hot, a stinging then tightening feeling. Some areas were extremely painful while others areas I felt very little. The tighter or more damaged the muscle, the more discomfort you feel.
When the session was over, I found myself physically and mentally tired… not sure if it was because I was so anxious on my first visit or because the treatment was physical. After resting for about 5 minutes, I got up and spoke with my physiotherapist, who answered all my questions, and gave me a set of exercises to complete at home. Because of the release of toxins and lactic acid that get held in muscles I was quite tired, and found drinking lots of water after the treatment very helpful. Two hours after my treatment I felt tired and achy, but nothing that an Advil couldn’t help.
There is absolutely no “down time” with IMS/dry needling.
What happened the next morning was just short of a “miracle”. For the last several years I have found it strenuous to get up from a sitting position due to super tight muscles and back issues… nothing major, just always found myself getting “prepared” to get up…tightening my stomach muscles and placing my hands on the chair to help push off.
I was standing in the middle of my living room when I suddenly realized that I had gotten out of my chair without a thought. This may seem small, but this victory solidified my belief that IMS/dry needling is an outstanding treatment for chronic or acute pain.
Dry needling will not be for everyone, it is at times painful (3 to 4 seconds of pain), but there is no denying my results. I have booked several more treatments, and will update you on my continued journey into IMS/dry needling in Part III.