The worst physio session of my life

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I’ve had physio on and off ever since my coccyx pain started back in 2012. I’ve had treatment on both my coccyx and my neck. I’ve met some fantastic physiotherapists and some not so fantastic ones too. I’ve always gone with the flow and tried what they’ve suggested in terms of treatment options, and when you’re desperate to relieve your pain, you’ll try anything. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go to plan. Here is my blog post on the worst physio session of my life. It honestly was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.

Dry needling

I can’t remember if I’ve had dry needling before or if it was acupuncture, but I kinda knew what to expect. I thought I did anyway. I knew it involved tiny needles being inserted in to specific trigger points on my body and some gentle twisting of the needle to stimulate the muscles. I’m not clued up on the science behind if, but my memory from this first experienced of needles as a treatment option was quite positive, however it worked. I recall it caused a little bit of pain, but nothing I couldn’t cope with considering how used to pain I am these days. So I decided to give it another try to help reduce my neck pain.

How wrong I was

During this worst physio session of my life, the needles went in to my neck one at a time. I think there was six altogether but to be honest I lost count. It was painful but bearable. The twisting started and my god, it hurt so much. I made a few noises and my whole body seemed to tense up. I was sat forward on a chair so couldn’t really move and defend myself. Each twist of the needle was more and more painful.

When I thought it wouldn’t get any worse, the physio decided to tackle some of the muscles in the top of my back and shoulders; he said they were extremely tight. The needles went in and I’m not kidding, it was like being stabbed with a knife and someone twisting it. The pain resonated up and down my upper back. I nearly cried. I thought I was going to pass out with the pain, but somehow I stayed conscious. I must have been muttering some nosies and signalling that I was in distress and suffering, because they physio said “you can swear you know”. So I did. I was due to have two other treatments of this and right there and then I decide I couldn’t go through this ever again.

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I couldn’t hold it together

I got up after he had finally finished and my whole body seemed to go all sweaty and weak. He said this was a normal reaction. He also said I had the tightest neck muscles he’d come across, except for a Russian boxer, who passed out whilst in the chair having the needling. I felt quite proud of myself for a brief moment.

The physio told me to lie down and started moving my neck in weird ways and the dizziness started. He told me I needed to calm my breathing down and get my heart rate lower and then the tears flooded; I couldn’t control it. I just weeped and felt so stupid.

I eventually got a grip and he tried to do some other treatment. It was all a bit of a blur but I remember him asking me if I was comfier sitting up or lying down. Normally I’d immediately say lying down because of my lower back pain, but by this point, even lying down was hurting. And then I blubbered again. I just moaned “I don’t know” in answer to his question. I think by this point he was starting to be a little concerned.


Read some mre of my physio blogs

Why it’s important to trust your physiotherapist

I’m finally having some proper physio

My physio session: a spanner in the works


I still trusted him

I was holding my neck and complained that the pain was there every time I moved. I couldn’t even move my arms without the pain kicking in. How the hell was I going to drive home? I started to panic some more and the physio told me to take deep breaths and rest against a stack of pillows behind me.

He went to get me a glass of water and came back with a mix of water, juice and some sugar to help do something. I wasn’t quite sure what as I was still struggling to get a full grip of myself, but I think it was to help me calm down and get my blood pressure up. He also lifted my legs in the air and wiggled them around. Again, I think this was to increase my blood pressure to try and get rid of the fainting feeling. Talk about feeling totally out of control. Of everything. I felt so weak and vulnerable, I just wanted to get home.

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My treatment time was up so he had to go and see to another patient. He got me some ice for my neck because the muscles had gone in to spasm which is why it was so painful. He told me to relax and he’ll pop back in five to ten minutes to make sure I was ok.

I knew he was concerned, and his manner with me was brilliant. I still had faith in him, and his background and experience told me to trust him. You probably won’t believe me when I say he is one of the fantastic physios. I think in all honesty he was as shocked at my body’s reaction as I was. I carried on trusting him, and knew he’d get me right before he let me leave to go home.

Was I ok?

I was finally starting to calm down but I was so embarrassed. I just wanted to cry and run out the door, but a) there was probably the risk that I’d still faint, and b) I still had to pay before I left (damn, I knew I should’ve paid on my arrival).

My physio checked on me a couple of times and when it was time to get up and go (finally!) I apologised profusely. He said this is all normal after the needling, so I didn’t need to worry. Well, that was easier said than done! Thankfully, before I ran out the treatment room door, he told me that next time they’ll do some hand treatment and not the needling. Thank Christ for that!!!

Your thoughts

Have you had needling before?

How did you find it?

Was it painful?

And did it help your pain?

I’d love to know so please do comment below.

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One thought on “The worst physio session of my life

  1. Rachael Stray says:

    Every body is different and will react in a different way so he must be trying to find treatments that work for you. I hope the next session without the needling is much better for you! It sounds so painful and traumatic.

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