Burpees, wall balls, deadlifts, plyometrics—sound familiar? While these are all common exercises performed in CrossFit regimens, they’re also responsible for the common injuries that occur during CrossFit when not executed properly.
As CrossFit has gained popularity in recent years, so has its list of critics. But at Advanced Spine & Sports Care, our goal isn’t to dissuade anyone from CrossFit, or any other type of physical activity that you enjoy doing for that matter. Rest assured, CrossFitters can still enjoy their WOD (workout of day).
We do, however, want to help CrossFitters understand potential injuries involved in the sport and how to prevent them, just as we would educate athletes involved in any activity, such as volleyball or soccer.
Below, we’ve shared some of the most common CrossFit injuries, ways to avoid them, and why chiropractic care deserves just as significant of a part as your WOD in your healthy fitness regimen.
Common CrossFit Injuries
Lower Back Pain and Strain
CrossFit offers a multi-modal exercise approach, which translates into a lot of compound and complex movements. Athletes who are new to CrossFit and jump headfirst into the sport without proper training about form and technique are at risk here, especially when it comes to lower back pain and strain. It takes time to learn and practice proper alignment, as well as develop those supporting muscles. When complex movements are mixed with heavy weight, which is often the case in CrossFit, it can be a recipe for disaster if too much is attempted too soon.
If athletes experience lower back pain, they should immediately halt their training and seek help from a qualified physician who specializes in back pain and care.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
A significant part of many CrossFit regimens includes lifting heavy weights over your head. If you don’t warm up properly or have good technique when lifting, this can put you at risk for a rotator cuff injury or tear. Even lighter activities (think wall-ball shots) can cause pain and strain when not executed correctly.
As with any type of tendonitis, it is essential to rest the affected area as much as possible by avoiding putting strain on it until the pain has stopped as well as performing stretches to keep it limber. In between stretching, icing is recommended until the pain is sufficiently healed.
Anterior Knee Pain
Significant attention should be paid to proper knee alignment when executing movements during CrossFit, as knees are particularly vulnerable in this program. This is especially important if you’re an athlete who has had any previous knee injuries, as those injuries can be aggravated by CrossFit and perhaps cause lasting damage.
Sometimes anterior knee pain can be associated with overuse or strain, and can usually be handled by icing, lowering impact, and doing stretches. If pain is more intense and prolonged swelling, you should seek medical help as a dislocation or misalignment may be present.
With all of the heavy lifting, bending, and stretching found in CrossFit, a person’s elbows are also at risk for injury. Tennis elbow refers to a strain of this joint as a result of overuse of tendons and ligaments. Beginners should exercise caution by not adding weight to workouts without first understanding proper lifting mechanics.
If pain is felt in the elbow, the elbow should be iced until the pain and swelling goes down.
How to Avoid Common CrossFit Injuries:
With the increase in popularity, many CrossFit locations are popping up, but that doesn’t mean they are all created equal. Do your research when it comes to a gym, including asking questions such as:
How are your trainers trained?
There are multiple levels of certification within CrossFit, so it is more than reasonable to ask who you are working with, how they have trained, and their level of experience. These certifications range from entry-level courses (Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Course) to advanced credentials achieved via examination such as the Certified CrossFit Level 3 Trainer and the Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach.
How will you introduce me to CrossFit?
Like any physical activity from running to swimming to weightlifting, proper introduction and instruction into the correct form during CrossFit activities are key components of keeping you injury-free. Choose a gym that emphasizes your learning. Keep asking questions and looking for guidance until you feel confident in your performance.
In addition to these questions, you should:
Take note of the questions you are being asked.
A good gym not only recognizes your personal fitness goals, but they should also be interested in any past injuries you might have. This knowledge is critical in keeping you safe during future workouts, as well as providing room for modifications and teaching opportunities should you need them.
If you do become injured, seek professional care.
It may be tempting to train through the pain to make progress, but chances are, if something continues to hurt, something is wrong. Continuing to work out when something is amiss can certainly make the problem worse and delay the healing process.
At Advanced Spine and Sports Care, we have a team of dedicated sports specialists and have developed a great understanding of CrossFit injuries over our years of experience. This includes treating injuries, as well as optimizing the body for the demanding CrossFit regimen.
How Chiropractic Can Help with CrossFit
Before you even begin CrossFit, chiropractors can help to unlock your body’s flexibility, most notably in your back. This flexibility will better your resilience to injury as well as allow you to approach lifting exercises properly. After all, the best injury is the one that never occurs.
In the result of injury, though, chiropractors can effectively make adjustments to the back in order to reduce inflammation and direct blood flow to the area of injury to promote healing. But chiropractic care isn’t isolated to just backs—chiropractors are adept at solving a multitude of musculoskeletal complaints including but not limited to knee, shoulder, neck, and elbow pain.
If you’re considering joining the ever-growing world of CrossFit, or if you are simply interested in living a healthier, more active lifestyle, book an appointment Advanced Spine & Sports Care. We can help get you in the best possible shape and keep you injury-free, so you can continue doing the activities you love.