Symptom and Cause

CrossFitters come from every imaginable profession. Kyle, a professional opera singer (Raoul in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera), visits from NYC. Thanks for training with us, Kyle.

You lift heavy, you need your rest. Desmond, one of CFWSC's competitive weightlifters, relaxes between lifts.

Recently one of our CrossFitters re-aggravated an old injury (a non-CF injury) and went to see a sports doc. The doc gave him a cycle of drugs to help with the pain. The drugs didn’t work all that well and the doc prescribed a cycle of a much stronger, really gnarly drug, one with some pretty harsh side effects.  Our guy eventually decided that whatever pain relief he was getting wasn’t worth the side effects and sought out a soft tissue worker who has helped him to the point where he is back training, albeit lightly.

I think that this represents a very unfortunate trend in the medical profession.  When it comes to sports and overuse injuries, all they want to do is treat the symptoms and ignore the cause.  Well, it is easy to see the problem with that.  It’s right up there with the overweight doc giving nutrition advice or telling someone that squatting is bad for the knees.

Treat the symptoms, certainly, but attack the cause.  Absolutely attack it.  The piriformis pain experienced by our guy above turned out to be probably caused by extreme tightness in the iliotibial band, which in its tightness yanked on the piriformis, which was then pulled out of place, which went on to irritate the sacroiliac joint in a chain reaction.  The whole thing was further exacerbated and maybe originally caused by our guy’s congenital scoliosis.

Yeah, it was a mess, and one which the prednisone did not come close to cleaning up or even help.  So, what did?  First off, he got some good old jaw clenching deep tissue work which loosened everything up.  As the muscles loosened and stopped jerking each other around, the pain was greatly relieved, which enabled the soft tissue worker and a good chiro (as rare as pirate doubloons and twice as valuable) to give some attention to the back.

Now on his way back to hard training, our guy needs to attack the cause.  Obviously he can’t let anything tighten up as that just leads to a downward spiral of spasming muscles and pain.  Stretching and myofascial massage and more stretching and myofascial massage.  A constant and probably annoying awareness of proper lifting mechanics coupled with some special attention to the back and glutes will go a long way in preventing a flareup like this again.

Treat the symptom, but attack the cause.

Now, please don’t take this post as a bash of anyone’s profession, or that I am equating myself or any s&c trainer with an MD. When I am stung by a bee (I am very allergic), I rush straight to the ER for some drugs, but just because that prescription drug cookie cutter approach works for an allergic reaction, does not mean that it will work for a muscle tissue/joint/disc problem.  There just seems to be a trend of throwing drugs at a problem without a real holistic understanding of the way muscles injure, heal, and strengthen.

Just my dos centavos folks.  Toss it in the dumpster, or post thoughts to Comments.

Labor Day classes will be as usual–6, 7, 9, 10am, 12, 5, and 6pm.


Split Jerk

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (7, as heavy as you can go)


Running Heavy Jackie

800m Run

25 Thrusters 135/85

15 Pullups 45/25#