I find myself writing the blog post much earlier than anticipated, without the sense of pride and accomplishment that accompanied my Week 1 recap.
On Monday, I seriously injured my lower back during the metcon (metabolic conditioning) portion of the workout. My instructor had me substitute heavy kettlebell swings for snatches. This was a safety precaution, since I had yet to learn any of the complex lifts.
About halfway through the metcon, I was doing the kettlebell swings, and mis-timed the movement. I tried to pull the weight back up through my legs before it had hit its apex, meaning my lower back was trying to pull a 45-pound kettlebell (and its momentum) the other direction.
The results were not good. I immediately dropped my weight, and was cringing in pain. My partner urged me to stop the workout, and try to foam roll my back, to see if I was just cramping up. As I tried to lower myself to the ground, I realized I had lost all mobility in my lower back. I was unable to bend in any direction. The only way I could get to the ground was squatting fairly low, and using my hands to support my upper body as I sat down.
As soon as I lost all mobility, I knew things were bad. Really bad. I called my chiropractor to make an emergency appointment. He was able to reassure me that I didn’t do any damage to my spine, and that the pain was likely from a muscle or ligament injury. He preformed STIM and ultrasound, and that helped a little.
When I woke up on Tuesday, the pain was terrible. It was still confined to my lower back, but it had stiffened while I slept. In the morning, I could barely move, and it was painful just to stand or walk. As soon as the health center at the university opened, I made another emergency appointment, but this time to see an orthopedic doctor.
The doctor confirmed the thoughts of my chiropractor- I was likely suffering from a sprained muscle, in combination with a ligament strain. I was whisked off to see the physical therapist.
What started off as a fairly normal treatment session with STIM and heat got interesting quickly. My physical therapist preformed cupping on my lower back- think Michael Phelps during the Olympics. This is a treatment modified from traditional Chinese medicine. It feels somewhat like a massage, but in reverse. Instead of putting pressure on the muscle by pushing into the tissue with hands, the tissue is pulled away from the body with a “cup” device. The cup is slid around on the skin’s surface to “loosen up” the muscle tissues in the affected area. It was a very strange experience, but it seemed to work, so I wasn’t complaining.
After the cupping treatment, my therapist added some kinesio tape to help support my back, and added an all-natural heat cream to help keep my muscles relaxed.
Unfortunately, the injury means I will not be able to continue my Crossfit journey. My doctor has recommended several weeks of rehab, and limited physical activity.
It saddens me that this adventure has ended, but I hope to share my injury rehab experiences, and more fitness adventures in the future.