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Old 04-10-2006, 08:19 AM   #1
Jason Billows
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Last year I injured my back (herniated disk). It took me a long time to get on the road to recovery, but Crossfit has really helped speed the process.

My back is now feeling much stronger and I'm able to do deadlifts and other exercises without pain.

However, every morning when I wake up my low back and hamstrings are very tight which makes it uncomfortable to even bend over and put on my socks. It's not painful, just uncomfortable and tight. Once I am up and moving for a while things loosen up nicely and I'm feeling fine.

I have a flexibility program in place, stretch after each workout and sometimes throughout the day when I have a chance.

Is this stiffness simply due to the heavy workload of Crossfit or it is part of my recovery. Will it go away eventually? Any suggestions on how to prevent this morning stiffness?


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Old 04-10-2006, 08:46 AM   #2
Garrett Smith
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Morning stiffness is one of the first things I look for in people with nightshade sensitivity. Your back injury is like a deep scratch in a car's paint, it becomes the place where "rust" (inflammation) gathers first and in the greatest quantity.

Also, you might look into the homeopathic remedy Rhus Tox, if you are open to such things. Keynote symptoms for this remedy are "Worse first thing in the morning, better with motion." For more info on this remedy, here's a good summary: http://www.elixirs.com/rhus.cfm .

If you would like some help with this, email me and we can work together on it.
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:53 AM   #3
joseph elberti
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Ummm.... morning stiffness (not the male-kind) is a *classic* symptom of degenerative joint disease (EVERYONE suffers from DJD to some degree).

There is also natural 'creep' which occurs overnight which gives you normal muscle stiffness/inflexability.

Everything sounds uber normal to me, specially considering the previous injury.
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Old 04-14-2006, 08:49 AM   #4
Paul Alvarez
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Im only 23 and im getting a lot of stiffness in my wrist and ankles and sometimes my elbows. Ive started cutting out nightshades and grains on monday but the stiffness doesnt seem to be getting any better. I have to lift heavy items everyday for work and requires maximum tension/strength sometimes. Ive tried not working out when im off, and working out light when im off but dont know if theres any improvement really. Is it that since I work so much I dont recover? on my off days should I do bodyweight excercises or just rest?

How long does it take after you cut out nightshades to notice a difference?
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:47 AM   #5
Jason Billows
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Paul,

Hopefully Garrett will chime in with an educatated answer to your question.

However, in the meantime I can tell you that in the little bit of research I have done recently there appears to be varrying lengths of times for people to see results. Some as soon as 72 hours and some as long as three months plus.
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:50 PM   #6
Garrett Smith
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Paul,
Be very strict with the diet. Read labels, watch out for things like potato flour or supplements with lycopene (that will have come from tomatos most likely).

Give it at least a solid month. You should notice some improvement by them. If you think you don't, eat a whole bunch of nightshades over the course of a day (get the three major ones in, potatoes and salsa are the easiest way to cover your bases).

You'll know over the next day or two whether or not you had improved--the stiffness will come back with a vengeance.
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
Michael Stehle
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Garrett,

There's some great info on that link you posted. I'm going to give Rhus Tox a shot for my back. I have a lot of those symtoms listed. What is the suggested dose?
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:03 PM   #8
Kevin Scott
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it doesn't really tell you whats in it. What are the ingredients in Rhus Tox. How much of a dose do you take. Also it has Rhus tox 30C potency 650 pellets $12.99, Rhus tox 30X potency 250 tablets $7.99, Rhus tox BHI formula with Rhus tox 100 tablets $10.99. Which one is best for back stiffness.
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:34 PM   #9
Garrett Smith
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Rhus tox is a potentized (serially diluted) preparation of poison ivy to be given according to homeopathic indications. For more info on homeopathy, see this site for a pretty good description:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-homeopathy.htm

Doses of the pellets are typically three at a time, allowed to dissolve in the mouth, at least 1/2 hour before or after meals or drinks (except water).

This page recommends starting with the 30c pellets:
http://elixirs.com/remedy.htm#list
I would tend to agree with that recommendation. I would start with once a day dosing. These are not individual recommendations, just what I would do.

Do your best to not think of Rhus tox = back stiffness remedy. Homeopathy's effectiveness is entirely dependent upon matching the patient's picture with the remedy's picture (the "similimum", like cures like). If your morning stiffness matches the picture that is presented on the pages that have already been discussed or that you find on your own, it is possible that it is your remedy. If it doesn't, you might need a different remedy for your back stiffness.

Homeopathy can not be a substitute for dietary changes (ie. nightshades), if they are called for.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:57 AM   #10
David Ingersoll
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Joseph: Morning joint pain/stiffness that gradually gets better over the day with movement is actually more in keeping with an inflammatory arthropathy such as rheumatoid arthritis rather than a degenerative process such as osteoarthritis.

Jason: Being tighter in the morning is normal, though there are probably ways to decrease the impact it has on your life. Read on.

Muscles are viscoelastic and therefore shorten with prolonged overnight immobility, and don't stretch to their full length right away once you start moving again in the morning.

Intervertebral disks also take in more water overnight as they become unweighted in the horizontal position, thus becoming swollen, less flexible, and more prone to injury.

Finally, (and this one comes more from personal experience as an ex-rower who suffered with chronic back pain for a long time), I believe that the herniated disk, after the acute phase, continues to cause low-grade localized inflammation which, like an inflammatory arthropathy (see above note to Joseph), causes increased morning stiffness.

My suggestions to you are therefore:

1) Do not do any major forward bending movements early in the morning due to an increased risk of re-injury (this is also recommended by back-fitness guru Stuart McGill; see question 9 at http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....icle=271spine2)

2) Get into a regular stretching program for your entire posterior chain and hip flexors. The more flexible you are, the less symptomatic you may be from the inevitable muscle tightening you get overnight (ie, you're starting from a more elongated baseline). I recommend Dr McGill's book "Ultimate back fitness and performance" for a good evidence-based regimen by the way; you can get it at www.backfitpro.com

3) Have patience, and be careful. Though the acute pain from herniated discs goes away within days to weeks, the chronic pain and increased risk of re-injury can last for a long time, which is why a good back fitness routine like the one Dr McGill promotes, is a good idea.

My back has been remarkably better since I started working on front levers, back levers, as well as the planche.

You can read more about Stuart McGill's ideas here (I think these links were posted on this board a while ago):
http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....icle=270spine2
http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....icle=271spine2
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1011400
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