Injury Update

So, the dozen people or so who read my blog may have noticed now that I’ve been remarkably absent of late, with my last training-related post being almost a month ago. There are a few reasons for this, but mainly, I have just been trying to stay away from anything training related in an effort to keep my spirits up.

Those of you who aren’t heavily into exercise may have some difficulty understanding this, but for someone who has made exercise a large part of their life for several years, taking a break can be depressing. This comes from a lot of angles for a lot of reasons. The typical one you hear about is the ‘endorphin rush’, but the thing that really depresses me is that I feel like I’m regressing. Mostly because I am.

Now, logically, I know this can’t really be helped. I’m taking two months off from heavy lifting to see if my improvement is enough to forego surgery, and if everything works out, I’ll be back under the bar after that. I also know that whatever strength and mass I am losing will come back pretty quickly. 

However, while logic is keeping me sticking to the plan, emotion is what’s making me depressed. Every time I spend any time thinking about training, I inevitably want to lift, and the fact that I can’t makes me anxious and depressed. So, to cope, I spend as little time as possible thinking about training, which has led to me being a bit stagnant both here and on Fitocracy.

Now, after all this talk, you would think I’m not exercising at all, but I’m actually still lifting 5 days a week. The trick is, I can only do rehab and isolation work, so nothing that loads my cervical spine. This means I can’t squat, deadlift, do anything overhead (pullups and chins are out, along with presses), or do any kind of rows (weights are heavy enough to require valsalva to maintain form). This leaves me with basically bicep and tricep work, along with benching, which I am doing every day to try and retrain the neural pathways and rebuild some of the muscle that has wasted away due to the injury.

Speaking of the injury, in some regards, progress has been good, and in others, pretty stagnant. On the plus side, My left side strength is up significantly, with my bench (for example) going from a very ugly 115 x 10 back in May to a very controlled 160 x 7 today. I’ve still got a long way to go, but the road is getting covered on that front.

On the other hand, I’ve had little to no improvement with either numbness in my pointer finger, or fine motor control with my hands. For example, while typing this, I’ve averaged one error for every two words or so, and my typing rate is probably down to around 10 WPM (from ~40). I simply can’t control my hands very precisely, and it doesn’t appear to be improving.

Furthermore, pain in increasing, and is mixed between ‘pinching’ pain in the neck (which is what I expected to feel but never actually felt during the worst of my issues), and referred neck pain which presents as a dull muscular pain/ache in my trap (the more ‘normal’ pain throughout this injury). I’m not sure if this is a positive or negative sign, though, as some of the literature mentions that pain may actually increase as you improve due to the dead nerves which send pain signals regenerating.

Regardless, at present, things are looking decidedly mixed. I’ve got one more month of this type of treatment and training abstinence, and then I will get a new MRI and exam to see how much I have (hopefully) improved. Hopefully I will feel like posting something training related between now and then, but if I don’t, at least now you know why.

  1. #1 by Joe Vandevander on July 3, 2012 - 8:02 pm

    How did all this come to pass, anyway? Surely not that injured trap that I see mentioned a few months ago, right?

  2. #2 by Brian Hill on July 3, 2012 - 9:21 pm

    Don’t really know, honestly, but it IS the same event. It was diagnosed incorrectly as a torn trap, so it was treated incorrectly for 4 months before I got sick of making little progress and went to a chiro to get the ‘trapped nerve’ fixed. He sent me for an MRI, and here I am…

  3. #3 by Darshinator82 on July 6, 2012 - 12:46 am

    Your refusal to quit lifting during this uncertain time is inspiring to me. Good luck man.

  4. #4 by Brian Hill on July 6, 2012 - 1:02 am

    Thanks man.

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