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Mark Siegrist
09-01-2012, 12:58 PM
Last week I did a WOD that called for rounds of kettlebells at 55#. The WOD was:

AMRAP in 15 mins of:
5 wall balls 20#
10 box jumps
15 kettlebell swings 55#

I have decent form with kettlebell swings, though I've only been crossfitting a couple of months, but overdid it on the weight - I'm just not strong enough to do the 55# bell and knew it before trying...: ( I did it anyway and injured myself pretty badly.

I was fine during the warm-up set. Then, during the middle of the first 15 rep set, a radiating pain in my neck started. I stupidly continued and fought through it and it didn't go away. After the first round, I took a short break and rubbed my neck to try to help it but it didn't help much. I continued on. Did 4 rounds total. Mid-way through the 2nd round I dropped to a 43lb bell. Should have just stopped but didn't.

The rest of that day the same spot that flared up during the WOD, the right side of my neck, was sore (from the bottom of my neck to the middle of the back of my head, all on the right side). It was fine the next day.

A couple of days later I did some pushups and after about 10 pushups the pain started coming back. So I took a few more days off (I was on vacation, away from my box all week, so it was easy : )

A couple of days ago I again tried a mini-WOD on my own while in the little fitness center of the place I was staying at on vacation - I tried a 'baseline' wod of:

Run 500m
40 air squats
30 situps
20 pushups
10 pullups (no bar so I was going to do dumbbell push-presses, but I never got there...)

During the run I was fine. Towards the end of the air squats I felt the radiating pain VERY slightly in my neck. And then after a few pushups it started getting worse. This time, I was smart and stopped. That was Thursday morning and it's now Saturday. I plan on avoiding working out today and tomorrow and then seeing how it goes Monday with a WOD.

Anyone know what this could be? Did I pull a muscle in my neck? Or is it a pinched nerve? I had a pinched nerve in my upper-back/neck area a few years ago (when I weighed 70lbs more than I do now) and was sent for an MRI but I chickened out due to claustrophobia. If I go to a doc they'll just want me to go get an MRI and I don't think I could do it. Too much of a wuss.

It only flares up when I try to work out. Tonight I am going to the track and going to do some jogging to get my heart rate up and make sure it is not happening when my blood pressure goes up, but I'm pretty sure it's just when doing upper-body weight movements.

Justin Goudreau
09-02-2012, 05:34 AM
If you can bring your neck through full range of motion smoothly and without any sharp pain you are probably fine. I strained my neck and it lasted a few days wasn't too bad. I'm very cautions as some overhead moves aggravate a nerve and I get those sudden kinks in my neck that feel really sharp for a split second the problem with that is my neck usually tightens right up after that for 2 - 6 days. Now when that happens i take my neck through range of motion exercises as soon as possible as to avoid the neck tightening up to much.

Just be extra careful and always use form to protect your neck. Controlled movement will keep you safe.

By the way I do have a herniated disk in my neck and I have had 2 mris but have never done any cortisone or surgery like the dr wanted to do.mi found my tight pecs minor to be pulling my shoulders forward and creating the stubborn recurring impingement. You see your neck doesn't strain for a reason so etching else is happening too Id recommend going to the mobility wod and attacking your whole upper thoracic area from pecs, rhomboids, t-spine, shoulders.

I'm not a dr. and I'm not a specialist but I know so some stuff.

Mark Siegrist
09-02-2012, 07:34 AM
Thanks Justin.

I do have full range of motion - my neck feels fine...except when I do strength/upper-body exercises. It's been a few days of not doing any and I feel good so I'm debating whether to try some pushups/pullups today too see what happens.

When the pain does start it's not sharp - it's a dull pain that radiates from the right back side of my neck to the lower middle of the back of my head. I'm pretty sure it's the pinched nerve and not a pull/strain, since I don't feel it at all except when working out.

Mark Siegrist
09-03-2012, 05:37 PM
So this morning I did the WOD and was successful - no neck pain/issues.

When I woke up, knowing that the WOD (only one session available today) was at 11am, I decided to try some pushups and burpees and see how it felt. Did them with no pain/numbness so I went to do the WOD and all went very well.

Not surprisingly, the week of relative rest did me good - I was actually fairly competitive for once with my score : ) Main thing though was that I was able to keep the intensity going the entire 10 minutes without hitting a wall or being ready to die after 2 minutes : )

The WOD was 10 minute AMRAP of:

10 burpees
10 med ball cleans

Then after a 3 minute break, 10 minutes of clean and jerks until you hit your 1RM.

I made sure to really focus on my breathing for the burpees, and my form for the med ball cleans and the C&J's. The med ball cleans were tough to get right - I wasn't getting low enough in my squat, but main thing was I kept my back straight and also was conscious of not looking up/angling my head so much during the burpees and during the deadlift portion of the C&J.

Also - not sure if it helped me recover but I found a video on youtube where the chiropractor said that to fix a pinched nerve in the neck you need to decompress the disc by doing these exercises called "tennis in the sky" and "double chin" - I didn't really do the "tennis in the sky" one because I didn't see a demo of how, but I did, every hour or so yesterday and this morning (and will continue for a few days), do a quick "double chin" for a few seconds. Not sure if it really helped or not but I figure it can't hurt so I'll keep at it.