Resetting My Fitness With Acupuncture and Physical Therapy

During the month of June I had two acupuncture sessions and two physical therapy sessions because of a recurring problem in my back/shoulder area. I’m not completely sure what triggered it, however it’s been acting up on and off for about two years. Mid-May is when it flared up the worst it’s ever been so I decided it was time time call the doc.

I really wanted to make sure this was fully treated from the root cause so I started by visiting my primary care doctor, who ended up referring me to the two specialists.  The goal was to find the irritated point in my back and identify the movements that trigger it.

First up was acupuncture which I was SO excited for because I had wanted to try it for a while before this visit.

  • Acupuncture works to balance and heal the body through the Meridian system. The practice comes from traditional Chinese medicine and exercises the concept that energy flows through the body through these specific pathways.   
  • My first visit was a great experience and very relaxing. My doctor and I talked briefly about why I was there, which was by recommendation for muscle tension in my upper back and forehead.
  • The treatment was 3 facial needles (2 in my ear, 1 placed at the third eye), plus 4 others (1 in each arm and leg) that were connected to an electrical current.  Doc explained this is a “cure-all” modern acupuncture technique that simulates the main meridian system which travels through all major areas of the body. I could feel the energy flowing and each needle had a small, constant buzzing vibration. Twenty-five minutes later the session was over and I was on with my day. 
  • The second visit is where the benefits seemed to “kick-in”. The area with the worst tension was in between my eyes, or the third eye area. We repeated the same treatment as the first time, plus two additional needles in my hands and I relaxed to music for another 25-30 minutes. I was much more relaxed during this visit and at one point I couldn’t feel the electricity vibrating at all. After this visit my tension really seemed to dissolve and actually,  as I write this I realize it has been about three weeks since my last visit which is what doc recommended… a visit every 3-4 weeks or as needed, especially in the beginning.  


Next was physical therapy where I explained the same area was becoming irritated, which limited my mobility while working out and eventually other basic movements like driving and typing at my desk.

  • During my first visit to PT, we focused on balancing out the muscle groups which included posture, chest and core exercises. The second visit was two weeks after the first and after another mobility test, we focused on exercises to help activate and build endurance with my lat, oblique and scapular muscles.
  • Dr. Steve was really great at explaining what muscular habits were contributing to my discomfort. He said I had a good level of flexibility and mobility (credit due to my active lifestyle). That said, the reason why I was experiencing some issues was because my joints aren’t stable enough to accommodate for my muscle flexibility.  Over time this tires the muscles and the joints and can lead to further injury.

All 4 of these sessions have seemed to help reset my body and I have some homework exercises to continue with.  My exercise routine over the last few weeks between each session has been a lot of low-intensity weights & resistance training, plus a ton of light cardio like walking / jogging with the dog, bike riding and kayaking.

On a side-note more related to the fitness fashion, June was also my birthday month and one of my gifts was a brand new Calia outfit! This is the first I’ve tried of Carrie Underwood’s brand and it’s a total winner.  The capri pants fit PERFECT, and both the top and bottoms are made from the softest material.

I’m ready to take on a regular workout schedule and to continue re-building strength in more challenging movements in July. When I first made these doctor appointments in mid-May I thought recovering over the summer is going to suck.  That was my impatience talking. Now that it’s only been one month and I’ve made great progress, I do see this more as a journey… (and there’s really no reason to be impatient because time seems to go by so fast anyways!)

To close the loop on this topic, I HIGHLY recommend both acupuncture and a visit (or at least a consult) with a sports medicine professional if you’ve had a recurring issue. Even though I openly talk about being impatient, if there is 1 thing I’ve always taken seriously is not getting injured because I am in it for the long haul. No one has time for life-long permanent injuries & mobility limitations!

Thanks for reading, I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend & Happy 4th!


»» Amanda 



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