My calves tend towards being tight, and my muscles have a bad habit of shortening and failing to move, stretch, and glide against each other as they should. It causes me a lot of problems, to the point that I have a handicap tag for times when it gets bad enough that I can barely walk.
I’ve been in physical therapy, and it helps a lot. My therapist often does soft tissue work (i.e., very aggressive massage) to break up fascia and loosen muscles.
Today she asked if I was up for trying needling, which is supposed to stimulate very specific myofascial trigger points (as opposed to trying to push on them from the outside with massage). The idea is that this will help release areas of muscle that are chronically tight.
Well, she did one poke, and I said, “I need you to stop. Now.” I usually do OK with the pain of massage and can cope with breathing or mental tricks. This, was something else entirely. It wasn’t terribly painful, but I think I can say with confidence that it feels exactly like someone is poking a nerve center with a needle, then wiggling it around.
I broke out in a sweat all over, my eyes teared up, and my upper lip started to tingle like I was going to pass out. It was both incredibly uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.
It did seem to help - I could go a lot lower in a squat than I could before the procedure. I haven’t decided if I will want to try it again after mentally girding up for it, but at this point I think it’s doubtful. Then again, if I had pain and dysfunction that didn’t respond to other approaches, I might brave it.