Another Try at Acupuncture

Remember the negative experience I had with my first acupuncture treatment? I was reluctant to give it another try but recently bought a Living Social deal for a local place and thought it was only fair to try again.

I went to the Pearl Health Center in the Pearl District downtown. My acupuncturist was named Michelle and I liked her quite a bit. She was calming, understanding and friendly. She was also a runner so that was good to hear. We went over some of the things I wanted treated–my insomnia, anxiety and stress, plus the physical issues I’ve had with my IT Band and my sacrum (which I reinjured recently).

Unlike my first experience where it was a group setting, this was a private room. I was much more comfortable. She had me undress and wear a hospital gown and lay face down. There was dim light, relaxing music and she put a heat lamp near me to keep me warm. She put in the needles in and it was a comfortable, easy experience. There were only two spots that I FELT when she put the needles in and one was in my IT Band. Ouch.

She also put the Tens device on my sacrum (my lower back). It’s a nerve stimulation supposed to work out the kinks and it felt fantastic. It was like tiny electric shocks alternative with vibrations and tiny taps on my back. It felt so great. She left the room for about 40 minutes and I fell dead asleep. I don’t even remember falling asleep. She finished up the 90 minute session with stretching my lower back. She showed me a few new stretches that felt awesome and painful at the same time.

She also suggested that I try the Nike Myrtl Routine (a 12 step pelvic girdle stretch) stretches 3 times a week. I’m definitely going to check it out and incorporate what I can into my normal stretches. I will definitely take her advice because she’s a runner, and she said her sister is training for her fourth Ironman. I felt like she knew what she was talking about.

I got home, feeling groggy–like that post-massage fog–and made leftovers for dinner. Michael made guacamole to go with our dinner.

Over the weekend I had made some easy enchiladas with leftover ground turkey meat. I had two enchiladas left so I reheated that for our dinner. I’m glad we had leftovers because I felt so uninspired to fix something!

Inside the enchilada: ground turkey meat, black olives, black beans, cheese, onions. Yum! I love enchiladas and using leftovers is even better. I added a few chopped tomatoes leftover from the garden to the top.

After dinner we watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead and I played with Fat Kitty! He was on fire and full of energy! He made me laugh and I needed a good chuckle.

He is so cute I can’t take it. 🙂 Oh and I made him dance to “Pumped Up Kicks.” It was hilarious. Fat Kitty kinda looked like one of the zombies from the Thriller video. Michael teased me because apparently everyone makes their cats dance? I had never done it before. It cracked me up!

QUESTION: What is your experience with acupuncture? 

Cycling Swag

I’m going back in time a little bit here. New Year’s Eve Michael and I went snowshoeing. Thursday night though, I met my friend Robyn at the gym to do yoga. I didn’t do anything besides yoga. It was technically a Rest Day for me. I wore some of my new clothes that Michael got me for Christmas.

First he got me fancy compression tights for cycling (or running). They felt really good on my legs. They aren’t ideal for doing yoga. Instead of being beneficial it was more annoying because every pose and stretch made my tights slip down a little bit. I think they’ll be great for cycling though because I’ll be in one position the whole time. He also gave me a new cycling t-shirt. It’s purple and cute and I love it. 😉

My other gift was fancy new water bottles. These are pretty neat: they unscrew from the top AND the bottom of the bottle.

That means no more mold, gross water bottles that are impossible to clean properly. I’m excited about trying the water bottles.

Yoga Stats:

Time: 1 hour

Calories Burned: 161

Favorite Pose: Tree Pose

Yoga was good. It felt really good to stretch my hips and legs. I’d gone to my sports medicine doctor earlier in the day for a follow-up appointment. It didn’t go ideally but it wasn’t all bad news.

The good news was that I was stronger in my hips and legs than I was when I saw him in September. He also said that a lot of patients with ITB Syndrome have pain just walking so the fact that I can run on the treadmill for almost 3 miles with no pain is great! I recognize this as being a positive and that I HAVE come a long way since September.

The “bad news” was that my IT band is still really tight. He was surprised at how tight it was. That was really disappointing. I held it together, refusing to cry, refusing to let it get me down. It does depress me when I think how FAR I’ve come from that sedentary, lazy 250 pound girl to an athlete and it makes me mad that my body is not healing like I want it to!

He gave me a new exercise to try for my hips which is too difficult to try and explain in words here. I’ll try to do some research and find a video demonstration of the hip stretch because I really felt it!! Ouch! He also gave me a tiny heel lift for me shoe. He said if I want to wear the heel lift and see if it helps I can. I’m not ready to do that yet. He also recommended physical therapy (which I don’t want to do). I can’t take time off work every week for PT appointment, plus I am doing really well on my own with stretches and exercises. I will stick with that for awhile.

His final thought: if I’m going to be a runner, I should get used to pain and injuries. I don’t know how I feel about that…Part of me wonders if maybe I’m just not meant to be a runner. Maybe I’m meant to be a swimmer and a cyclist only. He said he rarely sees any cyclists with ITB problems. It may be time to think about switching sports.

His suggestion was to strengthen my glutes. He thinks the problem might be my “Tensor Fascia Lata“. Whatever the heck that is! I guess it’s the part of my butt/hip that is inflamed and in turn irritating the rest of my IT band and knee. “The Tensor fasciæ latæ is a tensor of the fascia lata; continuing its action, the oblique direction of its fibers enables it to abduct the thigh and assists with internal rotation and flexion of the hip inward (medial rotation).” Further reading told me: “The tensor fascia lata is heavily utilized in horse riding, hurdling and water skiing. Some problems that arise when this muscle is tight or shortened are pelvic imbalances that lead to pain in hips, as well as pain in the lower back and lateral area of knees.” Sounds about right…!

Doc said no hiking, no stair-master. Weights are okay and that I should strengthen my glutes. He’s leaving Oregon soon so I will have to see a new doctor for my next follow-up appointment in February.

My plan of action:

Keep stretching

Strengthen my Glutes with weights and squats

Switch to cycling when I can

I asked him, “If I quit running completely would the problem go away? And could I then do other things like hiking?” He said yes. If it came down to choosing between being able to run 3x a week or hiking…I might choose hiking. At least hiking is a hobby that Michael and I can do together and it’s something I really enjoy. This injury has taken all the fun out of running for me.

Dinner was pizza from Costco. Nothing too exciting.

I had one glass of my favorite wine and we made it an early night since we had snowshoeing to get up early for!

You can read my post about snowshoeing Mt. Hood here.

P.S. If you have an iPhone you should out the FREE app from Nike: Nike Training. It looks like it will be an excellent app for fitness in 2011!

QUESTION: If you have IT Band problems, how are you dealing with them? Have you quit something because you just weren’t healing?