So You Have Crunchy Muscles Too?

“The more injuries you get, the smarter you get.”

Ikhail Baryshnikov

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Not so long ago, my Blogging Idol The Bloggess published a post entitled “My Search Results Terrify Me”  which was both hilarious and strangely thought provoking.  In the past few years I have been blogging, I have never bothered to check my most recent search terms… so, of course, I did immediately after reading it.

In the process I discovered some interesting things about my audience… and internet users in general.  For starters, despite the many deep and heart felt posts on this blog, the most popular has been “You Have Crunchy Muscles.”  This is likely because “crunchy muscles” and multiple variations of “crunchy shoulder muscles” and “crunchy back muscles” were among the most frequently searched terms.  This leads me to believe that either A) There are way too many people walking around with crunchy muscles or B) There, sadly, are not many other resources to guide victims of this unfortunate affliction.  Well, fear not my friends! I am here to help.  First, however, I would like to share with you some of the other popular terms that are directing your peers to this site.

In Order of Popularity:

1. Running Inspiration– YES! I am happy this is reason #1 for blog traffic.

2. Yoda Quotes– I have mixed emotions about this one, but given that I am a Yoda loving geek at heart, I consider this a win.

3. Burpee Exercise– Glad I could help with this, but you may want to check out the Spartan Page for more explicit instruction.  Oh and since you are already into burpees, you should sign up for my Spartan Race Giveaway too!

4. Running Thriver– Bravo to you! You found me!  Next time you can just add the www and dot com.

5. Kreativ– I am guessing that this has to do with the Kreativ Blogger Award?

6. Crunchy Muscles– Hang in there peeps! Help is on the way!

7. Breast Cancer Awareness– I did have one post in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

8. Nice Words to Say– Aw Internet, I am touched… no really.

10. Don’t Forget to Be Awesome– This is indeed important to remember.

Other Less Popular, but Slightly More Entertaining Search Terms:

Love Handles & Sore Love Handles– Clearly I talk about mine too much; but apparently you’re interested.  Let’s be friends.

Marathon Motivation– Um, did you read my marathon recap– DON’T DO IT!!!! Just kidding! But don’t say I didn’t warn you..

Being Sick Sucks– Yes, yes it does.

Remember You Signed a Death Waiver– No death waiver necessary here, but if you are offering…

Bad Ass Socks– Why yes, I do have some.  You can them them here.

Ischemic Colitis– Let’s not go there again…

Why Do My Love Handles Hurt After Running?Again with the love handles?

How Long Before Running Gets Easier– It doesn’t. You just get better.  Haven’t you read the fitspo?

Ass Boot– ????? And that brought you here?

Hate is a Strong Word But I Really Really Really Don’t Like You– Well I’m glad we cleared that up…

Hot Warrior Dash Girls & Hot Tough Mudder Girls– And the internet directed you here?  Oh Internet, you flatterer…

My Life is a Constant Battle between My Love of Food and Not Wanting to Get Fat– Yes, we all struggle with that…

Marie Osmond Hot– As opposed to Donny Osmond hot?

Nothing Sexier than a Woman in the Gym– I guess I am pretty sexy then…ALL THE TIME

Butt Muscles Funny Pictures– Nope, not even going there…

Will Doubling Up on P90 x Get Me There in Half the Time– Depends where “there” is exactly. If you mean injured, then yes it absolutely will…

I Work Out Diligently But Still Have Love Handles– Repeat after me: I have love handles, and that’s okay. Then read this and this… oh and this.

And My Favorite:

Running Llama– Where do I get one?

Okay now back to the hundreds of you who have found this blog due to your crunchy muscles (generally 1-2 of you a day).  First, I have to warn you that while I am a medical professional I am not an orthopedic PA and do not work in sports medicine.  Rather, most of what I know about sports related injury I have learned from first hand experience.  If you are suffering from an injury you should probably have it evaluated rather than trying to push through it.

If you, like me, have crunchy muscles there is a good chance you have scar tissue built up- typically from repetitive activities.  All that running, lifting, cycling, and swimming comes with some cost.  I have not had much personal luck with Orthopedic Doctors.  I did, however, have tremendous success with a sports medicine chiropractor.  If you are considering seeing a chiropractor, I would encourage you to see one who has a background in sports medicine or is familiar with Active Release Technique (A.R.T.).  In a nutshell, A.R.T. is a practice used to break up scar tissue and improve mobility.  The first time I had it done was absolutely AMAZING.  It was not painful at all.  After some heat and stim, the chiropractor basically had me move my shoulder in different directions while he used his fingers to break up the scar tissue.  I went into his office barely being able to lift my arm (while on muscle relaxants) and left with near normal range of motion (no drugs necessary!)

If you are weary of chiropractors or can’t afford one (my insurance covered it 100% at the time), there are some other gadgets you can invest in at home.  Here’s a run down of a few of my favorites:

Foam Roller:  Great for tight IT bands, quads, hamstrings, and mid back.  WarningIt is going to hurt like a mother (let me repeat: LIKE A MOTHER ie. tears rolling down your cheeks), but it will get the job done.  GO SLOWLY and work all the tight spots out.

Trigger Ball: I am pretty sure a tennis ball would probably work as well, but I LOVE this little guy.  I use it DAILY.  The main spots I use this thing are my shoulders and upper back.  It effectively breaks up all those knots from cycling and lifting.  It will snap, crackle, pop, and hurt so good.  Since I started using the trigger ball regularly, I haven’t needed the chiropractor.

**Should you fall in love with the previous two, Trigger actually has a whole kit of gadgets for deep muscle massage and myofascial release. 

Yoga: Mix it up! Yoga will help you relax tight areas and actually help lengthen (stretch) your muscles too.  If you are a YMCA member, chances are they have a yoga class you can take.  Otherwise there are plenty of other options including DVDs.  My personal favorite is P90X yoga, but I wouldn’t recommend it for rehabbing an injury.

Swim: Try some active recovery after a long run or ride.  I routinely do my swim at the end of my workouts because I find I am significantly less stiff and sore than when I don’t.  Not surprisingly, studies have found that swimming is a great form of active recovery and even decreases inflammatory markers in your system after a workout.

Most importantly, be sure to listen to your body!  Don’t push through injuries.  Take rest when you need it.  Rest days are an important part of training, and are necessary to give you muscles time to recover.  Also, pay attention to your diet.  Nutrition plays a HUGE part in muscle healing and body inflammation.  Finally, take time to get adequate sleep.  Your body won’t repair itself when you are busy running it into the ground.

Remember, it’s the only body you are going to get, so take good care of it!

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4 comments

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you posted this! I was getting worried about the weird search terms that have led people to my blog… at least now I feel less alone as a victim of weirdness. 😉 Running music, trail running and marathon training were some of the more or less sensible searches that brought people to my doorstep, but there are some real crackers amongst them too! 😉

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