Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The "Back Mouse" or Back Mice

I've started my yearly ritual of strength training ala the Morris way. Currently, the transition lifting is proceeding fairly well. This is the phase where I gradually introduce weights starting with extremely light weights and 8-10 reps. Typically, I start with 2 sets the first week, then 3, then up to 4 sets of 12 reps with increasing weight week to week. The goal is to enter into the Hypertrophy phase with connective tissue that is strong enough to take on the new load from the weight lifting. The problem of just jumping into Hypertrophy isn't the muscles as they could probably take the load except with some pretty tender soreness the next few days. However, it is the connective tissue that would probably be the weak link in the chain. My strength training focuses on quads, hips, hamstrings. Squats are a core aspect as is stiff legged dead lift. One thing I've noticed over the years as I increase weight are these small nodules in my lower back. At first they might seem like a typical trigger point. Trigger points live inside my shoulders, upper back, mid back, piriformis, hip flexors like they are bad house guests. I've experienced some relief using trigger point massage balls which allow you to get deep into the belly of the muscle to break up the knot. It is considered a hurts so good technology and can literally take my breath away, however the relief is noticeable. However, these 'knots' in the lower back are different. They are much smaller, and more raised like a nodule. Their shape is more defined and are almost round about 1-2cm and hard. They move slightly yet, deep palpitation or pressure does not dissipate them. I've been searching for information about them and thought that it might be because lower back muscles wrap around the waist as opposed to being longer like a typical mid back or upper back muscle. The ever ending googling has identified a phenomena known as the "Back Mouse". Reading this was fascinating, as it described these nodules that I experience very well. I had upped my squat and dead lift weight recently, and noticed these. They are interesting in that deep massage don't have much affect on them, nor does stretching and they typical cat-back, arching or bird-dog lower back work affect them. This leads me to agree with the supposition that they are these are episacroiliac lipoma or lumbar fascia fat herniation. They seem to go away slowly and don't cause me too much pain. Deep pressure does not provide relief as is the case with other trigger points and usually increase pain focal to the area of the nodule. Other experience pain that is speculated to be the nodule impinging on nerve endings. If it is causing pain, a diagnostic to determine whether this is the root is to inject it with an anesthetic. This targeted injection isolates the treatment to that tiny region. I have also heard of Dry Needling as an alternative to an injection of pain reliever. Dry needling is where they push an acupuncture needle into the trigger point and then move it up and down. You might also come across the drama around dry needling between certified acupuncturists and chiropractors. Supposedly, dry needling is a trendy term and a certificate can be obtained from weekend courses. However a certified acupuncturist requires years of training and oversight from the health department. They have been doing this technique as part of their typical toolset however it wasn't tagged with a hot up and coming name. I've been interested in dry needling for trigger point therapy as well.