Woman struggles to reach for her foot in a hamstring stretch

Followup: My first physio appointment

TL,DR: Wear shorts or loose-fitting pants for physio or you end up wearing the communal shorts.

That wasn’t so bad! Except for the needles. No one prepared me for the needles! If needles make you squeamish maybe skip this post. I won’t take it personally.

The new addition to my roster of amazing people helping me on my marathon journey, joining the likes of Supportive BF and Trainer Katie, comes Shirley from Crossroads Physiotherapy and Massage. I shall call her PT Shirley.

Because it was my first visit I had to get there a bit early to fill out some paperwork. One normal looking form and one for some fancy treatment involving needles. I would have been less scared if the form just called it acupuncture, instead of the crazy medial four-word fancy thing they called it, that, combined with all of the possible side effects made me march back to the counter saying “yeah, I don’t want this”.

Soon after that I was taken back to the treatment area by Shirley, and she asked me for my history and what brought me in, which I’m an old pro at now, and I think I gave her more than enough enthusiasm with a side of life story. I think I was way too loud to be in an office where all of the doors are curtains.

Then she had me take off my shoes and socks and walk back and forth down the hallway so she could check my gate and stride. And after that, she tested my squat with two legs and single leg and had me balance on one leg with my eyes closed.

Then since the leggings I was wearing didn’t roll up far enough, I was given a pair of shorts to try since she needed to work on my exposed thigh. Given the choice between super tight booty shorts and too-big men’s basketball shorts, I quickly changed into the latter. I didn’t need my confidence taking a hit today. Pro tip: make sure whatever you wear to your appointment allows easy exposure to the body parts being treated.

While on the table she did some strength tests and some muscle activation tests that were all painless and determined that I have ankle tightness and poor range of motion in the ankle which is just working its way up the chain causing overuse of one of my quad muscles and underuse of another. She said we need to keep strengthening my gluteus and hamstrings while improving my ankle range of motion and loosening my quads.

Shirley informed me that there are two ways she can release my quads: manually (with her hands) which takes longer to get at the deep tissue, and she didn’t say it but it probably hurts a lot if foam rolling is any indication. Or she could put needles in me (it’s not acupuncture, but I can’t remember what it’s called so I’m going to call it acupuncture). The scary form that I refused to sign.

She said she wanted to use a few needles today and I was like “I think that’s the form I didn’t want to sign…”. She then took the time to explain to me that those side effects were more for people getting treatments on their back, near lungs and other organs and that the worst I would experience is pain equal to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). “That I can handle.” I said, “and I guess I better sign that form after this”. She went and got her needles while I began to sweat through my rental shorts.

And then Shirley proceeded to give me what you know as the compliment sandwich. You know, in management or leadership where you stuff the shit between two compliments? Only, in this case, it was with needles.

Needle one: Not so bad!
Needle two: Ooooh god what. I did not like that.
Needle three: Not so bad!

What happened with the second needle is that she was putting it into my tightest muscle, and my muscle sort of “grabbed onto it” whatever that means. To me, it just felt gross and really deep. I felt a bit nauseous but it was over quickly. I’m not looking forward to that again, but I’m seeing her again in a week! If you are interested in more detailed accounts of these appointments, let me know!

I have some time to kill before I work out with Katie so I guess I’ll go foam roll.

Have you had acupuncture? Love it? Hate it? Tips for getting through it? Leave it all in the comments.

Until next time, finish your coffee and go run!

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