Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Suck It, Psoas

My poor body! I put it through the ringer on Monday during the Husband's Birthday WOD.

When my alarm went off and I rolled out of bed, I did just that, ROLL. I had zero energy. I still managed to hobble to the coffee maker and slowly, slowly, get my groove on. Dancing is my favorite way to wake up in the morning, even if my body is creaking like my Grandma's.

 Marvin Gaye and The Talking Heads were jammin' this AM!

I hit up my regular gym with the intention of doing some 500m repeats on the rower, but wow, the energy was just not there. I needed a push. So, I jumped on the Stair Climber, programmed it to Speed Intervals, alternating from Level 5 to Level 12, and just made the machine FORCE me to do the work. 45 minutes later, I had a solid sweat worked up and my heart rate was in the 85% range.

Before you hate on me for using a machine ... 

The Stair Master is my absolute favorite machine for days like this. I love the Speed Intervals; they force you to put in the work. And trust me, I may be tired, I may be dragging my sorry ass, but when those stairs start rolling faster and I'm forced to run, I do just that, run! It's run or fall off, and I sure as shit am not falling off.

The Stair Mill does the thinking and the pushing automatically for me, I just have to grit it out.

The reason for the Stair Master: I wanted to make sure I was nice and warm before getting into my mobility. I've been having some serious low back/sciatic nerve pain that I'm trying to pin-point. I've had it for as long as I can remember. As a kid even, sitting in the car for more than 20 minutes would cause severe low back/leg pain.

The pain is right ABOVE my left ass cheek, right up against my spine. I can pin-point it with a lacrosse ball when l lay on my back, the ball in that spot (where the red dot is above), and I can feel it just radiating down my whole leg. I think it offers some relief?

After doing some more reading, I found that it could be a really tight psoas, too. 

I do suffer from a hyperlordotic spine; always have, even as a kid. I'm wondering if this has caused a shortened psoas, or if this is because of a shortened psoas? What came first, the chicken or the egg?

But, laying on my psoas on the left side (I found it with a lacrosse ball, again) felt amazing. I knew I'd hit my psoas when that spot on my low back just started RADIATING, and in turn, radiated down my whole leg. I couldn't hold it for more than 45 seconds, but did it 3 times. I'm hoping to work on it again this evening and see if I can get it to "release."

Either of these two issues: a shortened psoas or piriformis syndrome, are causing my sciatic nerve inflammation. Who knows, maybe it's just my scoliosis that is causing everything to get super tight on my left side -- so I'm permanently f*cked?

I am seeing my regular doctor on Friday for a Physical - and hopefully I can get a referral to see a good back doctor. (The Physical Therapist I saw in Texas after hurting my back deadlifting was useless.)

So after thoroughly rolling and balling my poor body, I headed over to the box for the WOD.

I really liked this. Short and sweet. And heavy.

After seeing a few clients (furbabies), I stopped for lunch at Metro Fresh, a sweet little cafe in Midtown.

I loved this field mixed greens salad with goat cheese, balsamic, mango and a side of fruit. I have to go back and try their breakfast menu, it looked mouth-watering! I was sold when I read these two:

Maple Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich - $5
Sliced Banana and House Maple Peanut Butter Hot Pressed between two slices of multigrain bread

The Sarah Special - $7
A Paleo-friendly breakfast.  Something new and creative every day!

Heck yes! Peanut Butter anything, and you know I'm there.

The restaurant happened to be right next to Trader Joes, so you know I had to make a trip in there.

Some of my favorite things from TJ's:
Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
Almond Butter (I like the creamy and the crunchy)
Baby Bok Choy
Smoked Gouda
Pesto Gouda (this is there monthly special!)

I've never tried the fresh mozzarella cheese sticks, but they looked like a perfect on-the-go snack and the macro's were right. 

I'm so exited for them to announce 13.2 tonight! Just another hour! I can't WAIT for Camille and Annie to go head to head!

1. Who are you rooting for? Team Annie or Team CLB?Team Annie! Anyone who loves Siggi's greek yogurt like I do is MY kinda girl!

2. What's ONE item you can't leave Trader Joe's without?
The Simply Lite Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds, it's sugar-free and low carb and tastes so good, without all of the guilt!


  1. So glad there's another Talking Heads fan in our generation!

    I love the guac from trader joe's, their hummus, their everything basically.

    How is the sugar free chocolate? Like, does it bother your stomach? I used to (mistakenly) eat different candy and chocolate with sugar substitutes and it would make me so bloated, I looked pregnant for days. Not worth it. I heard someone asking about this stuff in the TJ's
    other day though...

    How awful that you have those painful conditions! I hope everything works out at the doc. I pulled a glute muscle once and went to the orthopedic surgeon after a month, thinking I tore something. Luckily it was just a bad pull, and he told me to stretch and foam roll for 20 minutes until it got better (which it did in a couple weeks). I'm fine now, and the foam roller is mutual friend now of mine and DOM'S. ;) Good luck!

    1. I don't eat more than a piece or two at a time, and haven't noticed any stomach upset, at least not any more than my protein powder or eggs give me! ;)

  2. i really wanna try crunchy almond butter! i didn't even know it was an option until recently.

    1. If you have a food processor or Magic Bullet you can make it at home! So easy! I like mine really crunchy, just means its blended for less time :)

  3. LOL! i'm laughing because when i read your instagram post earlier today i was thinking that PT would be useless for you, and then you said it was! (i'm not trashing on PT, i'm a kinesiology nerd and worked for a PT, but as a highly-functioning athlete you have to make sure you get a PT who is into that)! When i worked as an athletic trainer in college we did Active Release Techniques ( it) with the athletes, specifically working on psoas and iliacus most of the time and it really helped! I love the lacrosse ball/tennis ball for piriformis though...hurts so good!!! And now I want to try the mozzarella sticks at TJs, i'm sure they're better than Stringers or Precious!

  4. If you're having back troubles, skip the physical therapist and get to a chiropractor asap. A chiro is going to be way more helpful than any general doctor or PT (:

  5. I don't do Crossfit but love hearing all about it, what is the 13.2? Mmmm! I'm the same, can't leave without the chocolate!! I really hope you get it all figured out and can have less pain!!

  6. I work as an athletic trainer and sadly have the same pain pathways do you do! Although mine was from a deadlifting incident four years ago (before I found crossfit). Try to find a Doc that does "graston" or "ART" - active release therapy (sometimes these docs are listed a Sports medicine Chiropractors. But make sure they arent just going to crack you...make sure they know their shit!! Here is the guy i see...look for someone with a list of credentials like this....

    Since its been a life long problem you probably have alot of scar tissue built up which will be hard to fix on your own at first.
    Also try looking up Neural Glides online could also be called Nerve flossing. It helps me a lot esp on bad days.
    Seated Leg kicks are very helpful! Although if you also have low back pain it is better to do them on your side. 30 each leg.

    Good luck!

  7. I've had similar back issues from a horrible fall in soccer when I was in high school (some guy on my dad's team who weighed at least a hundred pounds more than I do hipchecked me and launched my onto gravel). The pain was horrific and radiated down my ass and down my leg. I remember working with my trainers that year and taking a lot of time off of soccer.
    Since then, I've reflared my back several times, and it got so bad earlier this year that I had to quit all lifting for about two months (I kept "quitting" which is why it wasn't getting better) and I finally saw a chiro after flaring the pain after a soccer game to where I couldn't undress, step into a car, get myself into the effing bath tub (thank God my fiance found my pain pills from my broken foot)... It was horrible and I was about to take myself to the ER... For weeks, the pain was so bad, I had to do everything standing AND I couldn't lay down to sleep at night.
    The chiro I saw was actually extremely helpful because after two weeks of no improvement, he sent me to get an MRI - my L5-L4 disc was squeezing out but NOT leaking, thank God. Just hitting that darn sciatic nerve.
    SO instead of keeping me coming back, he taught me something called the McKenzie exercises. LOOK THESE UP - they have done wonders for my back pain and I have been able to lift again the past several weeks, finally hitting new PR's! The main one involves a cobra pose that you push yourself into and breath out all of the air in your lungs while sinking down into the pose. Repeat these 10x, 2 to 3 times a day... Basically, it forces the slipped disc back into place.
    I know this will be something I will have to live with for the rest of my life, but being constantly vigilant about these preventative exercises is doing me a world of good.

  8. That looks like MY TJs cart! Except I usually have a ton more
    Team Cami! I am 5'2" and seeing another petite gal kicking butt is really inspiring for me. But Annie's incredible for sure! It was so fun to watch her and Lindsey going at it. Lindsey's a beast.

    1. I don't do the bulk of my shopping at TJ's, I do most of it at the Kroger near our house in Decatur. As a fellow 5'2" girl, I know what you mean! Bummer Lindsay had to step in for her last night!

  9. After going through a 6 inch growth spurt while still being an elite athlete in my teens, I went through the same problem for 2 years straight. I did the whole PT thing but what surprisingly helped me was adding pilates in a few times a week as well as dynamic stretching to loosen up all of the tightness resulting from my growth spurt and focusing on keeping good posture. I have had flare ups over the years, but only when I forget to keep up with the routine. Also ART worked wonders on my royally messed up shoulder (a decade of tennis 3 hours daily will do that to you), so I would say it is worth a try as well.

  10. Hi, I was wondering if you have any recommendations for a good protein powder?

  11. Funny you just posted about this I had to go to the doctor because I had pain RIGHT where you say it is and I can barely walk/ do anything without a sharp pain shooting through my left low back. The doctor said its an inflamed SI joint due to overuse from doing Olympic lifts and a tight ham string and prescribed me to physical therapy for a month. I would definitely get it checked out by a doctor if I were you!

  12. Hello there!! I figured I should report back after my first week of CrossFit! I LOVE CrossFit already oh my goodness!! For so long I have been obsessed with losing weight and lowering my body fat percentage, but now my goals have completely changed thanks to CrossFit. Now I want to do 1 strict pull up and 5 tricep pushups without stopping by the middle of April :)
    I am already seeing a difference in my strength after just 2 classes! I recently moved up in weight on my squats, bench press, and hang cleans after being stuck at a plateau for a month, all because of this amazing sport!
    Thank you for inspiring me to pursue CrossFit! It has already changed my life :)

  13. Ahhh, great comments from everyone regarding recommendations! It really is great to see so many folks knowledgable about ART and nerve gliding!! Awesome!! I am a spine specialist PT, and I would recommend you find someone IAOM trained .... surely there must be someone in ATL...... Go onto IAOM -us and see if there are any certified PTs in your area. If not, come see me next time you head down to the Gulf Coast and I will check you out.... I hate to see young gals with mysterious pains that go undiagnosed for years(like myself!!!), thus my launch into becoming a chronic spine pain PT specialist. You must have some underlying reason for the long history, either trauma or yes scoliosis can predispose to this problem and you need a lifelong regimen of selective stretching and isolated unilateral strengthening to offset the imbalance. I agree with the ART - combine that with someone who does Graston and it can be magical. I have a friend who found someone in DC (chiro) who does that and she is at last getting better all the way(5 yrs of pain). Good luck and keep up the great work!!!!

  14. I agree with most of the commenters- my chiro has done ART on my psoas, and it has helped enormously. It is something that I have to stay on top of (ahem, literally, at times! stupid lacrosse ball), but the pain and reduced range of motion remind me when I don't. I was just recently diagnosed with scoliosis, also. I am still unsure if it will have any lasting impact on my quality of life. Have you had to make any adaptations to lifts or movements?