It was that 23rd push up that did it

I’m a wee bit hampered today with my writing, because I suffered the kind of sports injury that only happens to old(ish) people. I had a martial arts work-out yesterday and managed to emerge unscathed through the kicking and punching exercises, the grappling exercises, and the bag work.

What got me were the push-ups. “Drop and do 25,” said the instructor. I dropped. I did about 15 without too much effort. After that, it was getting to be work. And then, at 23, I felt a little “pop” in my back, and knew I’d put a muscle into spasm. Motrin and hot soaks have done wonders, but I’m still feeling a physical unease  arising from the fact that sitting upright is somewhat difficult and a mental unease that comes from the sense that I’m wearing out! :)

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  • Helen Losse

    Use ice not heat, and it will heal faster.

  • Helen Losse

    It works for liberals anyhow.

  • Helen Losse


  • obvioustroll

    You have my sympathies – I’m 43 and my wife and I are taking our black belt test on Saturday.

    My shoulders hurt, my elbows hurt, my wrists hurt, my hips hurt, my knees hurt, my ankles hurt… did I forget anything? Oh, yeah, my neck. That hurts, too.


    By the way – Helen is partly right. I was taught to ice a muscle injury for the first 24 hours, but to use heat after that.

    The logic is that the ice prevents swelling, but once that’s no longer a risk, the heat improves blood circulation to the affected area.

  • Ymarsakar

    I did about 15 without too much effort. After that, it was getting to be work.

    You might have done like many people and started pushing up with your shoulder muscles when your arms became tired. That’s not good form, of course, but it does lessen the strain on the triceps. What it also does though, is push your torso up but not your lower body. Your arms are usually pushing up but also pushing back as well, to lift your lower body. If you start skimping, then you will use less energy but that also means less portions of your body are going up at the same time. For people that don’t do bridges *reversed push up with the hands above the head, the head facing up, and the legs forming two pillars in line with the hands*, then their back muscles won’t be strong or flexible enough to handle inordinate strain.

    You might want to take a look into OPC-3 for anti-oxygen and anti-aging effects.

    I injured my shoulder more than a few times, aggravating the injury by using the shoulder before it was fully healed and thus injuring it more. I stretched a ligament or a tendon, which is not a normal muscle injury in that those things take months to heal. And that’s months after the pain goes away.

    I have a high pain threshold so most soreness from exercise is something I ignore. But what that does is make it hard to differentiate real injury that is producing pain and just muscle soreness producing pain. When you body produces a lot of endorphines when you feel pain, it’s kind of hard to distinguish between them when they are more or less at the same pain threshold level.

    When I landed on my right ankle with it at 90 degrees to my femur, that’s pretty much a good clue that you’ve been seriously injured, pain and *snapping sound* notwithstanding.

    It is really annoying that just when you’re starting to improve your maximum one handed push ups, you injure a shoulder that you had thought was already healed.

  • Deana

    Hi Bookworm –

    Sorry to hear about your injury!

    Helen and Obvioustroll are correct. According to one of the texts we are using in school, one should use cold therapy for the first 24-48 hours to reduce inflammation and edema. It should only be used for 20-30 minute intervals. After that first 24-48 hours have passed, one can then use heat to promote blood circulation and comfort.

    Sadly, though, the text says nothing about treatment for the aging process – hee-hee!


  • Helen Losse

    “Helen is . . . right.” “Helen . . . is correct.” Can ya hear the music? LOL

    BTW, I’m in the running for Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. Please vote for me (or someone else).

    It’s nopartisan, I promise. :-)

  • Tap

    It works for liberals indeed. That was pretty darn funny, Helen.! I DO think I hear a harp in the background..

  • Tap

    I also have a fuzzy vision of men in tights, blowing on those long trumpet thingies.

  • Helen Losse

    Tap, life is too short to make a problem out of everything. There are enough real issues that we ought to laugh when we can.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I still practice the martial arts in my mid-50s but I do have to make adjustments for age. I still have strength but I have had to sacrifice speed (although I can still out-think and out-technique my younger sparring partners), stamina and, most importantly, recovery.

    I now categorize my workouts as 1-Advil up to 3-Advil workouts as a measure of how long it takes me to recover. I find taking one Advil immediately after a work-out works wonders.

  • Allen

    I dinged my back up not too long ago, thrown by a horse. The distressing part is finding out you don’t bounce as well as you used to.

    Age: “You can still paint the town red, you just have to wait a really long time before applying the second coat.”

  • Oldflyer

    My physical therapist/sports medicine daughter always advises me to alternate cold and heat.

  • Scott in SF

    Hi Bookworm,
    I’m sorry to hear about your pain…but, perhaps you will enjoy a few of my blog posts on the subject!

    Without failure, loss, death and decay around to prop it up, beauty would be much diminished.

  • Al

    Hi BW,
    Sorry about your shoulder. My training agrees with the thoughts of the rest, ice for the first 24 hours, followed by heat. And a protracted healing time. In my intermitantly successful attempts to keep the weight below 300 pounds, I’ve concluded that beyond a certain age it’s probably a good idea to listen to one’s body than an instructor. I’m slowly working up to twenty push ups a day, again. You might want to have that discussion with your instructor.
    Also, if you have a compounding pharmacist in your area, see if he could make up a ketoprophen cream to apply to your shoulder. It works well, and avoids the potential GI upset of Advil.

  • Thomas

    Howdy Bookworm,

    My sympathies, Mrs. Bookworm. Muscle spasms are no fun at all. I had one a couple years ago lifting something inappropriately, so I can imagine the discomfort you’re in.

    Hope you get to feeling better. :)