South Park Self

don't touch me, don't talk to me about it

How do I hate this time of year? Let me count the ways. Apart from the manifest iniquity of board schedules, the exam committee season is distinguished by our exclusion review committee, which I instituted a few years back in a fit of loving nurture of student interests/control freakishness/complete insanity/all of the above, and which is a thoroughly important and worthy exercise in depression and exhausting focus. This year's assessment of every student excluded from any undergrad degree in the faculty via an individual and detailed contextual evaluation of their degree trajectory rescued 11 incorrect exclusions and overturned 24 others in a haze of generosity, but it also took 6 hours of Monday (literally. 11am to 5pm) and spat me out the other end in a state of spindle, fold and mutilation. Here, constitutionally empathetic person, have 6 hours of immersion in all the most lost, endangered and miserable records in the faculty. I am a Very Tired Creature just at present.

In addition, this year's exam season has knotted the muscles in my back and neck to the point where I've been submitting to a physio at regular intervals for the last three weeks, which has helped materially with minor issues like being able to sleep, unhook my shoulders from my ears and not scream when turning my head, while also being excruciating. (Apparently there's an inflamed vertebra in my neck). While the physio has generally been a good experience, the desperate self-control needed not to automatically tense up when a stranger touches me has been rendered more difficult by the fact that she damned well dry needled me. Twice, before I worked up the courage to ask her not to. I don't like being touched by strangers. It's a lot easier when they're medical professionals because my Lawful Good is inclined to trust them, but this mitigating circumstance falls away when they turn out to be addicted to what, as a sturdy rationalist and innate sceptic to whom Ben Goldacre is a patron saint, I mentally classify as "woo".

So, dry needling sounds all medical, but it entails sticking acupuncture needles into knots of muscle tension and, apparently, waiting for the resulting pain and endorphin release to relax the muscle knot. It's effectively acupuncture, although divorced from acupuncture's holistic philosophy thing; while my rather sweet physio vehemently denied that it's in any way acupuncture, a spot of internet research suggests that there's actually a high degree of correspondence between common dry needling and acupuncture points, and dry needling uses acupuncture needles. I don't buy acupuncture. Seriously, I mentally classify it under "wishful thinking" and "mystical self-deception". I really don't think the body works like that. Dry needling is obviously more embedded in an actual scientific discipline, but most of the sources I've read - even the cheerleadery yay-dry-needling ones - admit that studies of its actual efficacy are generally too small to be significant and are often badly designed. Actual clinical effects seem to be marginal, and I darkly suspect the fell hand of placebo in them.

And there's your problem, right there. I don't want someone dry needling me because (a) it's weird and partakes of "alternative" (i.e. bad) science such as I do not buy, and (b) if there's a placebo effect I won't bloody experience it because every nerve in my body is screaming "charlatanism!" at the top of its voice. Which is hardly helpful when the problem is muscle tension in the first place. So I hope I didn't hurt my lovely physio's feelings, she did a damned good job of unknotting my neck, but I could honestly discern no difference between my sessions with and without the needles and she can keep the wretched things the hell away from me.

Subject line from Eurythmics, "Aqua", which I wanted because it has a line about sticking a needle in, but which turns out to have even more appropriate lines which neatly encapsulate my current slightly bristly state.
This is very interesting. I don't buy acupuncture as such, but I've recently started seeing a new osteopath who uses needles extensively. I don't enjoy or respond particularly well to cracking, so I once asked him to do as little of it as possible. He mainly used needles that time, some with an electric current, and the results were very good - all without the violence of cracking. Placebo? Could be. I'll take it, though, seeing as physiotherapists have so far managed to make next to no difference to my aches and pains. (Will using a Twitter account work for commenting, I wonder... Of the list, it's the only one I've got.)
(Have you changed your commenting settings? I had to essentially re-log-in, which was unsettling...)

Sounds ouch :( Do you get to go on leave eventually?

11 incorrect exclusions? How does that happen? I thought it was all pretty cut and dried with prerequisites, credits, all that jazz.
I am on leave from the 19th. I am counting the sleeps :>.

Incorrect exclusions happen, because you should never underestimate (a) the needless complexity of our degree structures, (b) the ability of students to create curriculum snarl-ups which boggle the mind, and (c), despite my best and ongoing efforts, the insouciant vagueness of some of our rules. Or, I suppose, (d) the fundamental unfitness of most academic minds for basic repetitive clerical checking. But it's a complex process. At least one of the errors we caught was on my board schedule, which means I missed it myself first time round.

I have in no way disturbed the comment settings, so I think LJ was simply hissy-fitting at you momentarily. As it does.
Given your comments about dry needling you're probably going to hate this very idea, but just fyi, I have this scary looking Bed of Nails pillow (google it) that I used with AMAZING results. Just ignore the word "acupressure" and "holistic" and suchlike crap on the website, because it really isn't, it's just - as you say - pain+endorphins=less pain. Or something. Honestly though... it WORKS. To relieve exactly the sort of excruciating knotty muscles etc that you describe. I was in agony, getting worse by the day, but this sorted me right out within a few days (with steady improvement starting immediately).