Rock Climbing after a Back Injury

BEING ACTIVE IS A WAY OF LIFE

For those of us who are active, getting hurt can feel like our bodies have betrayed us. We may try to ignore it at first, out of fear that it’s going to slow us down, take us out of the game for a little while. 

A few years ago, I started rock climbing. I fell in love with it. Kayaking and mountain biking scare the willies out of me but climbing a 100-foot cliff with nothing but a rope, shoes, and harness really speaks to me.

For a while there, it was all a breeze, rock climbing was easy, I felt strong. Rock climbing was the best way for me to be active, overcome mental doubt and fear, and to push through my own preconceived limits of what I could do.

lauren rock climbing

Then the day came when I threw my back out for the first time since a cheer leading accident 9 years ago.

You see, I was on this route that involved standing in a cave 20 feet up. I had to lean all the way back out of the cave, reach my hands out to the edge of the roof, let my feet release from their comfortable position on solid rock, and then throw a foot up to match my hands.

Think, monkey bars but with one foot on the bar as well. You put all of your weight into that one foot, distribute your balance onto it, and push and pull upwards so eventually, you’re standing on the monkey bars.

Well, my body didn’t take to that very kindly, and after I stood up, I knew.

The pinching.

The shocking stabs.

The hunchback.

The inability to take a full breath.

I had thrown my back out again. Thankfully, it was at the end of the day, and I was able to hobble out of the woods like a little troll, taking baby steps and twitching every once in a while from the sharp pains that shot through me with every poorly taken step. That was the spring of 2017, and after that, my back seemed to go out at least once every three months.

rock climbers

ROCK CLIMBING AFTER A BACK INJURY

Luckily, I started working at Physio this past October. Anyone who comes here is aware that we do the deal differently. Before I worked here, I already knew that I wanted to become a PT, but I was uneasy about the whole factory line, feeling like cattle type of physical therapy offices I had experienced in New England years before.

Thankfully, our PT’s took the time to thoroughly explain to me:

  • What the root of the problem was
  • Why my subtle but unknown motor mechanics may be the cause
  • The tools I can use to keep it in check
  • How to properly stretch and keep it loose
  • How to strengthen and heal
  • and of course, through ASTYM, Dry Needling, Massage, and the Laser

I haven’t thrown my back out while rock climbing since.

The key for me, as someone who wants to continue being active, is repetition, patience, and a dash of discipline.

When I rock climb now, I take the time to stretch before and after, I think more about engaging my core to support my back, and to be honest, the connection of mind and body for me has enabled me to become more mindful and in tune with both my rock climbing and every day living.

The majority of the healing came in just the first few weeks of my rehab and everything after I choose to think of as maintenance and growth of my climbing.

If I want to continue to use my body, I have to take care of it!

Lauren Price Front Desk Coordinator and Avid Rock Climber

 

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