Proud Parents of Podiatrist

Barb and I are feeling very proud of our son! Having completed a podiatry degree, Toby has now officially found work at a clinic offering various manual therapies, including physiotherapy, osteopathy, and a few other modalities with names I can’t pronounce. To be honest, I’m not 100% on what the difference is between most of these things – but then, we’re both history professors.

Anyway, the clinic is sending him to a complete a trigger point dry needling course. Sydney is such a fantastic place to holiday and I’m sure he’ll get a few days to explore the beautiful countryside. Now, don’t ask me to explain what that is, although Toby tells us that it’s a treatment technique for releasing tight muscles. He’s been throwing around terms like ‘neuromyofascial dysfunction’ and ‘chronic orthopedic population’, which might as well be in another language as far as I’m concerned.

Barb keeps telling me that it’s not that hard to understand, and that I’m just afraid of the big words. But then, she’s always been faster on the uptake than me when it comes to technical things like this. Still, I’m amazed that people can learn a technique like this over one weekend.

Apparently, though, these weekend dry needling courses, in Australia at least, are designed for graduates of manual therapy degree courses – they’re not available for just anyone to sign up for. So it’s not like people are learning the whole body of knowledge around it in one weekend; they’ve already got a working understanding of the field it’s embedded in.

More than anything, I’m amazed that our baby boy is grown-up clinician, with his own professional indemnity insurance and all. Don’t get me started on the fact that he’s going to be qualified to insert fine filaments of metal into people’s muscles! They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Barb says she might give the dry needling a go, seeing as nothing else seems to be working on her shoulder pain. As for me, I’m afraid of needles – even more than I am of big words – so I’ll give it a miss. But I couldn’t be prouder!

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My Knee Is Needling Me

My knee has been driving me up the wall this week. I just tried to book an appointment with my physio for Friday, and was told that she wouldn’t be around that day. She’s off to do some training in dry needling in Christchurch, apparently. The receptionist said she’d be back next week, ready and able to administer treatment using her freshly minted skillset, if I was interested. I gave a reply of vague assent and made the booking for next week; I trust my physio to decide if this treatment is going to be of any benefit to me.

In actual fact, I didn’t have the foggiest idea as to what dry needling entails, aside from an image in my mind of a skin needling scenario administered in a fashion that’s slightly more sporty than spiritual. I decided that some research was in order if I’m to avoid unwittingly entering into something a bit heavier duty than I was picturing.

Well, it seems I wasn’t all that far off the mark. From what I understand from a cursory internet search, dry needling uses equipment that’s very similar to what’s used in other needling treatments. So, yes, it does involve sticking needles into the body. It’s a bit more conventionally Western in its aims though – it’s used primarily by manual therapists to treat acute and chronic orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions.

It’s kind of cool that a therapist can disappear for a weekend and return with this technique in their toolbelt, ready to apply it to patients, as appears to be the case with dry needling training for clinicians. The receptionist mentioned that my physio was going to be doing a level 1 course, and that she was planning to complete level 2 early next year. I wonder if level 1 will give her the info she needs to dry needle my knee, seeing as (from what she’s told me) it seems to be a fairly complex situation down there in the leg-bending department.

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