In last week’s article the brilliant and arm-barringly gifted Sam Kressin wrote about the best means he knows for healing one of the two most common injuries to CrossFitters and BJJers – injuries to the neck. This week it’s my turn to talk about the lumbar area or low back. (Or you could just avoid both these injuries altogether.)
So you’ve done it, you pulled too hard with a rounded back on that last deadlift, waited one second too long before tapping, and/or generally had something unpleasant happen right above your sitting apparatus. Unfortunately, low back injuries are very common to beginning CrossFitters and BJJ players.
Here’re are some easy steps to get you back in the gym or back on the mat, without pain:
- Rest. Yes, you’re not going to be working out for a while. Yes, you can hate me, but do so from the comfort of your couch for at least a few days until you can walk, jog, and bend in all directions without pain.
- Go see a good chiropractor, acupuncturist, or massage therapist. Yep, some of them are weird and the medical establishment doesn’t love any of them, but each practitioner knows the lumbar region and knows it well.
- Cupping. Cupping is a great way to decrease spasm in the lumbar area while increasing the flow of freshly oxygenated blood to the area. Increased blood flow also means waste products from the trauma area getting cleared out. These are good things.
- Foam Roller. If you don’t have access to any care and you’re completely on your own then your first step is to get extremely familiar with your foam roller. Roll back and forth over the painful areas, slowly and carefully for ten minutes or until you start to feel an decrease in the discomfort.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Lastly, it’s time to make very certain you’re eating in the most anti-inflammatory manner possible. It’s time to ditch the grains and make sure you’re getting your fish oil on a daily basis. Reducing inflammation system wide will allow your body to focus on the acute injury and not spend it’s healing energies elsewhere!
- Ice. Ice your low back consistently. Ice is most certainly cold and therefore sometimes uncomfortable to apply to your body, but the anti-inflammatory benefits far outweigh the momentary discomfort.
Always remember, an ounce of prevention is worth weeks of sitting on the sidelines, especially with spinal issues. Training smart, with your body’s best interest positioned well above your ego’s best interest will keep you training longer, and with much less pain.
Stay tuned for our next foray together where Sam and I will be looking at two more trouble spots for athletes – the knees and elbows!