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Old 10-27-2011, 09:06 AM   #1
Christian Groenveld
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Extreme lower back fatigue

Some background...started CF 3 1/2 yrs ago (April '08). Quickly discovered I had/have grade 1 spondylolisthesis through poor DL technique (July '08). After some rest, chiro treatments, and PT (Nov '08 - Feb '09), I was feeling pretty good and only had a few flare ups in July '09 then July '10. Then, had another flare up in early Oct '10, and since then, have not bee able to recover and seem to aggrevate my back a lot.

I've taken lots of time off, been seeing the chiro who works out of our box and he's been doing lots of ART and I've continued to do my PT on my own. I'll feel ok on any given day, I can squat/DL heavy with no real pain, but metcons these days destroy me.

I've been trying to get back into metcon's slowly, but anything from the ground seems to do me in. I've modified to do things from a hang position, and that helps. Recently, my back was feeling stronger, so I tried introducing more things from the ground (for instance a metcon including 10-9-8...-1 DL's) at a low weight, but that seems to do me in. I hit a wall and my lower back is all of a sudden extremely fatigued to the point I can't lift anything off the ground and my WOD is pretty much over.

From what I'm told, my lower back is working harder just to stabalize my spine, so that is why the fatigue is setting in. Is there anything I can do to help this? I was at a point for a while where I didn't have to modify anything.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:34 AM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

You're working with a chiropractor who both understands Crossfit and is familiar with you personally. Why don't you ask him for suggestions?

It sounds to me like doing DLs and DL-like movements for time is a bad idea right now. (Some would say that they're always a bad idea, even for people who aren't (yet) injured.) So why not talk to the trainer at your box about strength-oriented versions of those workouts? That would probably involve fewer reps, more weight, and very careful attention to form.

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Old 10-27-2011, 10:47 AM   #3
Christian Groenveld
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
You're working with a chiropractor who both understands Crossfit and is familiar with you personally. Why don't you ask him for suggestions?
Katherine
I have, I'm just looking for additional feedback as to why this occurs and if I can improve the situation. It's ben frustrating. The one suggestion we keep coming back to is involving more unilateral movements to take some of the load off the lwr back.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:57 AM   #4
Scott D Clark
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

I was just about to make a post about lower back pain, particularly sciatica. After about a 15 month hiatus from ALL deadlifting, I resumed them 2 days ago (very light and low rep) and things went very well. Katherine's advice of not going for time is my exact plan, at least for the next 3 months or so. Although I have issues with sciatica, my initial lower back injury was sustained doing very heavy deadlifts and ever since that time I have become a disciple of form.

What has helped me significantly are planks and push ups. Sounds very basic, but a weak core is almost guaranteed to cause problems, especially doing Crossfit WODs. Good luck Christian I hope you feel better.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #5
Brian Strump
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

Your low back musculature SHOULD work hard to stabilize your spine. If it doesn't you're in trouble.

It's most likely that your glutes are weak, so that low back musculature are being needed to do more. Or you lack significant low back and pelvic mobility and/or stability causing some of this pain.

Of course, this is all a guessing game without actually examining a patient and getting a good history.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
Richard Colon
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

How about you try and strengthen and work the areas that seem to be weak WITHOUT a clock. I know its a slap in the face to many, but I've even addressed it with my own clients. Sometimes, the Crossfit idea of a WoD is NOT the answer.

You mention doing ok with heavy work. You mention that you started the issues due to some poor DL technique. I'm not a genius but the moment you put a "for time", "as fast as possible", "as many rounds as possible", "as many reps as possible" component to any workout, 2 things are going to occur.

1. The mental aspect of giving it your all and doing anything you can to get stuff done QUICKLY
2. An inherent increasing level of fatigue due to the intensity of which you attack the workout, to satisfy the needs in point 1.

What happens with fatigue? Technique goes to hell to generate SPEED (clock).

It is the standard of Crossfit. Functional movements, increasing performance and strength, becoming a faster, bigger, stronger, better version of you. However, if you remove the CLOCK - then there is no Crossfit.

SLOW DOWN. Feel what is going on. It is like trying to eat a meal in less than 60 seconds when you know you have issues with food, acid reflux, weight loss, etc. You don't even give your body time to reach satiety and realize what you are doing.

If you are Deadlifting in ANY WoD there is almost certainly an aspect of fatigue going on. One rep might be great but another might be just off a bit with technique. From someone with an already aggravated issue - its bad news. Look at games level competitors. We are talking about people with much stronger backs than you, better stabilization, loaves of french bread for spinal erectors and all that goodness. Once competition, the WoD and the clock starts - form goes all to hell. And this is from people that know EXACTLY what proper technique looks like.

Stop WoDing and start fixing. I see this SO MUCH. I've never seen anyone fix technique, skill, weaknesses and injuries during a WoD. Give your body and mind time to realize what you are doing wrong and address it.

If you suck at Double Unders, you don't fix it in a WoD (if we are using the typical - for time, AMRAP, AFAP idea). You might get the reps in a WoD but if your jump is off, your timing is off, the WoD isn't the time to fix it. During Warm-up or a dedicated Skill/Suck section is when you work on it. If you have constant Squat issues (it applies to your Deadlift scenario), the WoD isn't the time to fix/address it. You spend time with mobility first, then get in a Squat rack, video tape and post it or have others look at it in person and see where your knees cave in, your heels come off the floor, your folding over, etc. How can that be done efficiently when a WoD requires 10 Back Squats done in 30 seconds or less. Suck and pull-ups/kipping? Address it slowly, methodically and with movement followed by analysis of that movement. Thats the key. Don't just start trying to kip during an all-out WoD. You are most likely going to look over at the people next to you busting a$$ and start kipping, quickly and incorrectly.

I guess its my soapbox but I don't like seeing people in pain or getting hurt. No offense but your being a bit dumb. You do one thing and its ok and you do another it hurts yet...you still continue? What do you expect?

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:52 PM   #7
Christian Groenveld
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

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Originally Posted by Richard Colon View Post
How about you try and strengthen and work the areas that seem to be weak WITHOUT a clock. I know its a slap in the face to many, but I've even addressed it with my own clients. Sometimes, the Crossfit idea of a WoD is NOT the answer.
...
I guess its my soapbox but I don't like seeing people in pain or getting hurt. No offense but your being a bit dumb. You do one thing and its ok and you do another it hurts yet...you still continue? What do you expect?
No, I stopped, and now I'm asking for advice if I can improve it. Like I said, I'm slowly trying to perform different wod's, add movements, etc. as I feel up to it and have been taking additional rest. I took two months off in the summer, spent two months working on nothing but form and strength and for the past month have been slowing getting into metcon's. I've been feeling good, so I tried a WOD w/ high rep pulling, keeping the weight very low. Extreme lwr back fatigue hit, I stopped and rested. After a few days, I tried again (w/ pwr snatches at a light weight), and the same thing happpend, just quicker.

Both times my focus was on form, and not the clock, but agree the competition of the WOD can throw that plan out sometimes. My form is pretty decent and asked my coaches to watch me both times, and they didn't pick anything up that should cause this issue.

I'm more concerned w/ getting healthy than racing the clock, so was your suggestion to work on building endurance in my lower back through these types of movements outside a WOD?

I appreciate the concern, but I feel I'm trying to be smart about this. I don't want you to think that after months of discomfort, that I woke up one day feeling good and decided to crush 50+ deadlifts and am now wondering why I'm in pain again.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:14 PM   #8
Mike Laroche
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

you have a pm
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:07 AM   #9
Christian Groenveld
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott D Clark View Post
I was just about to make a post about lower back pain, particularly sciatica. After about a 15 month hiatus from ALL deadlifting, I resumed them 2 days ago (very light and low rep) and things went very well. Katherine's advice of not going for time is my exact plan, at least for the next 3 months or so. Although I have issues with sciatica, my initial lower back injury was sustained doing very heavy deadlifts and ever since that time I have become a disciple of form.

What has helped me significantly are planks and push ups. Sounds very basic, but a weak core is almost guaranteed to cause problems, especially doing Crossfit WODs. Good luck Christian I hope you feel better.
Glad to hear you're doing better Scott! I got some ART done for my sciatica and that really helped w/ the day to day discomfort. Also, I've built in a lot of planks in my PT routine, and building that stabilizing core strength has really helped. The one thing I have learned is you can't stop doing these things once you feel better because the pain will just creep back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Strump View Post
Your low back musculature SHOULD work hard to stabilize your spine. If it doesn't you're in trouble.

It's most likely that your glutes are weak, so that low back musculature are being needed to do more. Or you lack significant low back and pelvic mobility and/or stability causing some of this pain.

Of course, this is all a guessing game without actually examining a patient and getting a good history.
Do you make patient visits to NJ??!! I think poor mobility definitely creates a lot of this fatigue. I work on mobility every night, and I feel immediate relief, but I still don't feel like it carries over or that my mobility is actually improving.

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you have a pm
I'll check it out, thanks Mike.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:45 PM   #10
Brian Strump
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Re: Extreme lower back fatigue

Another PM for you Christian. Let me know if that works out.
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