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Old 10-08-2008, 07:25 PM   #111
Erin Davidson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Hi, Helen. Sorry to hear about your back but I figured since you were going to go to all those other people () you may just wanna read what I have to say about my own back pain/issues and what I've learned through working with others who have the same. And for what it's worth - I think I saw heat somewhere up there - icing is fine but I'd avoid placing heat on a back injury if I were you! It feels great in the moment but it generally promotes inflammation in an already inflamed area...

Here's what I know generally, let me know if you have questions!

I'm pretty sure I have a bulging or herniated l5-S1. It's taken me a while to suck it up and realize this but now that I have I know I can be stronger by protecting it - not by avoiding the problem.

Pain after my last "tweaking" had me laid out on the floor of our gym unable to move at all and only able to be moved upon being injected with pain meds. I've hurt my back less severely before - simply being pretty sore at the base of my spine for a while. But overall I've had recurring back pain since I played tennis at the collegiate level...so bad back in school that I really couldn't sleep at night. I think now I know why...

Essentially "bad backs" are usually backs with bulging discs (a crazy percentage of the population has them) which get exacerbated anytime you put the l-spine under a load when it is not prepared to deal with that load. So the idea when you get hurt is to buttress yourself from every angle to make sure it doesn't happen again. You need to protect the spine by not performing risky movements incorrectly in the first place (so flexion + twisting + pressure is actually the worst thing you can do)...you must learn to correct your motor control patterns. How do you sit? How do you sleep? How do you move to pick up a pencil? How do you drive? How do you pick up weight and how do you put it back down? You must be aware of the fact that any of these movements could be exacerbating the pain you already have - and you must learn to perform EVERYTHING you do in a way which seeks to do LEAST harm to your back...usually this amounts to doing everything with much better posture, shoulders pulled back, back neither flexed nor extended, chest held high...essentially body in a straight line from midfoot to knee to hip (no anterior or posterior pelvic tilt) to shoulder to ear. Take pictures! In addition to fixing your movements - you must give yourself every opportunity of building strength in the muscles which support the spine: core, glutes/hams especially.

Here's what I've been trying to do fix myself:

Right away: magnificent mobility every day (I mean to film this whole routine at some point - it's what we use for ALL of our clients - no excuses! - at Crossfit Tribe), along with birddogs, front planks, side planks. take the day off pain killers so you can learn what actually makes the pain happen, and what doesn't.

Introduce single leg movements (step ups, lunges) as soon as you are able to without pain. Ultimately aim to develop a single leg squat with impeccable form, as well as many other single leg movements - front, lateral, reverse, lunges, split squats, single leg romanian deadlifts. We need more of these (weighted, please!) if we hope to squat more, run better, and generally Crossfit for a LOOOOONG time.

Single arm movements and cable rows and pushes aren't a bad idea either - turkish gets ups either. In both of those movements simply remember to RESIST the twist by flexing your glutes and abs and you should be fine. Do everything with the intention of relearning the movement to protect yourself from the pain. The idea is to relearn everything with low weights and high reps to keep yourself acutely aware of how you must move to keep from tweaking the back again while fatigued.

Introduce a bodyweight only squat and try to work up to a lot of confident reps full ROM (be sure that you're FULLY extending - that is flexing your glutes from the bottom of the movement all the way forward to the top, keeping your weight on your heels during the whole movement, and your chest as high as possible). Be gentle with the back and watch for the dreaded "butt wink" or l-spine rounding in the bottom of the squat. This is a movement pattern you don't really want to enforce. Statically stretch the hips if you find that you have exceedingly limited ROM.

Introduce any sprints (or other work done quickly - which is usually the riskiest thing to do with a back injury aside from lifting heavy) gradually.

Introduce front squatting, hoping to work up to a little bit heavier over a few months (kind of like a Rippetoe rehab program - start bw and increment by increment add back the weight you used to be able to lift). Stick with longer rep schemes before you add weight as lumbar stability endurance is what you're aiming for after a back injury (the ability to keep your back stable for long periods of time) vs. pure lumbar strength. It doesn't take much to buttress the spine - but it does take a little work to remember to continue to do while squatting 75% of your max for 10 reps, or while rowing 2000m. Start deadlifting very light every month or two. Now, I'm greasing the groove for this movement with very light weights...I'm finding it more helpful than hurtful.

Introduce low bar back squats, start going pretty heavy, but mostly focus on front squats, which I also favor for many of my clients as well. Have no ego here. If you feel pain - stop what you're doing and bump back down to a gentler level. No PR is worth hurting yourself again.

Core work becomes pretty essential - but not in the way you would normally think (situps, backx, hyperx, weighted anything). You want to do anything that allows you to practice resisting movement at the l-spine: pallof holds, barbell or abwheel rollouts, medball throws in all directions (really RESIST twisting here), planks, side planks, renegade rows (again, RESIST the twist). If you do any gymnastic "corework" like V-ups or L movements, you want to be sure that your glutes and core or completely controlling the movement as opposed to your l-spine. Begin to think of everything you do as "corework" and you will begin to understand why everyone (EVERYONE!) hurts their backs...

Other stuff that helps:

Sleep with a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your knees if you sleep on your side.

Don't do yoga or if you do be very conscious of any movement that advocates twisting, flexion, or hyperextension of the l-spine (heh - that's kind of a LOT of yoga), avoid esp. Cobra/superman type moves. Except for gentle cat-camels, don't stretch/crack the lower back in general.

Do hip mobility and glute activation stuff as much as you can.

That's about it for now but you can expect more explanation on the stuff as I'm in the middle of writing up a mini-synopsis of McGill's book...an "important points for Crossfitters" type thing. Feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my very best to respond!

Hope I'm not stepping on any toes by offering this...Feel better, Helen.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:03 PM   #112
Helen Lawson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin Davidson View Post
Hope I'm not stepping on any toes by offering this...Feel better, Helen.
Erin, thank you so much for writing all of that to me! I've been to the chiropractor several times and he doesn't seem to think there is anything too awfully serious going on. Even though i don't think my injury is as serious as yours i will read everything you have to say and take it to heart.


Today:
Morning: 5 push-ups on 3rd step, 5 assisted pull-ups
Work: 4 hours desk job
Golf: 9 holes -- i sucked but enjoyed the nice weather.
Chiropractor: Now he thinks my back pain is related to intestinal issues (illeosecal valve -sp? - for those that may know what that is. )
Client: I made her do "Linda" (aka 3 bars of death)
WOD: Ryan -- 3 rounds of 10 burpees (girly push-ups) & 5 bar squat muscle-ups


That was the first time i tried the "bar squat muscle-ups" -- its different. I think my triceps will feel it tomorrow. But, its all good!

Thanks again Erin!
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:21 PM   #113
Helen Lawson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Today:

work 8 hours
mini-wod: Row 800 meters & 30 box jumps (6 inch box)
1 client
mini-wod:
2 sets of 20 roll-ups
Front Squat: 5x13lbs, 5x23lbs, 5x33lbs, 4x43lbs


I was actually planning on running today but i got to the track at the local college and there was a lacross game so i couldn't run. But, the thought was there. So i improvised and row'ed instead.

My back/lats are very sore from yesterdays wod. Lower back is mostly ok. A little fatiqued from the squats but not bad. Started changing my diet today:

Soup, meatballs, broccoli & Pasta for lunch, chicken fingers for snack, steak sandwhich meat and cooked peppers for dinner. Wine!
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:06 PM   #114
Helen Lawson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Now i know why muscle-ups are supposed to be done on rings!

I think i slammed into the bar a few too many times and now i have some bruises in the wrong place! I recommend guys that are learning should wear a cup!
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:37 PM   #115
Helen Lawson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Yesterday i walked 18 holes. Today I played at Burden Lake (in a cart). It was a tricky little course with lots of doglegs and blind shots and lay-ups. I think I did ok for never seeing the course before -- shot 88. I took all the safe routes and I tied my match with one of the members (Sandy) and we had fun. Haeja was the only one from SRCC that won her match and i was the only tie.

I had a few beers when we finished so i may workout later but it is unlikely. Probably another rest day for me and back at it tomorrow. I need to design workouts for my clients this evening so after the beers wear off i may just practice a few things (SLDL & Pistols) and research proper form. We'll see.

Awesome fall weekend - - weather in the high 60's to low 70's both days. I wore shorts and its probably the last week for that. The snow will be here soon!
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:39 PM   #116
Erin Davidson
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Re: Helen Wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen Lawson View Post
Now i know why muscle-ups are supposed to be done on rings!

I think i slammed into the bar a few too many times and now i have some bruises in the wrong place! I recommend guys that are learning should wear a cup!


Hope the back is feeling better.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:07 PM   #117
Helen Lawson
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Re: Helen Wheels

8 hour desk job today

But -- I ran (jogged) and had a Deadlift PR!

First time deadlifting heavy (for me) since i hurt my back. Here's todays WOD:

3 Rounds of:
Jog 1/4 mile (high school track)
20 full straight leg situps/roll-ups

Deadlift 83x3, 93x3, 103x3 (PR!), 93x3, 83x3

Don't ask how long the jogging took! I didn't time it on purpose because i didn't want to be disappointed. I think this is the first time i went that far without stopping though! In quite a long time anyway.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:32 PM   #118
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Re: Helen Wheels

Today:

Work 4 hours
18 holes -- i sucked really bad! I blame it on the fact that my legs can barely move due to running & deadlifts yesterday!
Clients

My WOD (10 minutes):

Handstand push-ups (knees on ottoman) -- 10 reps
25 Sit ups
Handstand push-ups (knees on ottoman) -- 10 reps
20 Sit ups
Handstand push-ups (knees on bed - higher & harder) -- 6 reps
15 Sit ups
Handstand push-ups (knees on bed - higher & harder) -- 4 reps
10 Sit ups
Handstand push-ups (knees on bed - higher & harder) -- 2 reps
5 Sit ups

Then did an extra 5 handstand push-ups. I'd love to be able to do them for real. Along with pull-ups & push-ups of course!
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:57 PM   #119
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Re: Helen Wheels

Today i had all good intentions of working out but it just didn't happen. This morning i did:

5 pull-ups (with my new inner-tube assist -- works great)
and
5 sets of 3 push-ups (3rd stair) I tried the second stair, but still too hard to touch my chest to.

Then i worked all day and was hoping to come home and workout but didn't happen. At least i did something.
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Old 10-17-2008, 05:42 AM   #120
Helen Lawson
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Smile Re: Helen Wheels

Yesterdays WOD: Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps

I've practiced the Snatch a lot with my 13lb bar, but never any weight so I guess it's a PR? Anyway:

Warm-up:
-- Burg WUx3 with broomstick
-- 15 bar (13lbs) squat snatches
-- Power Snatch 3x13lbs, 3x23lbs, 3x23lbs, 3x28lbs

WOD: 5 sets of 3 x 33lbs

My back was fatiqued (not sore) afterwards. Overall my back has been very good otherwise i never would have attempted the Snatch. Today it is still just a little fatiqued, but not sore.

This morning: 5 sets of 1 push-up on the 2nd stair (touching chest to stair) -- PR! A few days ago i couldn't do the 2nd stair. I tried it after i'd already done several on the 3rd stair so maybe i was already fatiqued.

I'm looking forward to a nice light WOD tonight (puppy Cindy) and then probably rest & golf over the weekend.
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