Patient :Hi, I am an active duty soldier. I am 23 years old, 5'2" and 133lbs. I am having some strange sudden changes to my body after a certain incident. On Monday, June 1, 2015, I was doing my usual morning physical fitness. On this day I specifically worked on my abs. Wasn't anything that seemed too extraneous at the time. I work out 1 to 2 times every day and have a pretty high score on the Army Physical Fitness Test. The work out consisted of the following:
- 5 sets of 25 repetitions of Glute Ham Developer (GHD) Sit-ups (hands interlaced behind the head)
- 5 sets of 15 (left, center and right) (45 total) Exercise Ball Sit-ups (with 10 lb weight above the head)
- 5 sets of Circuit: 5 heel-claps, 5 pull-ups, 10 air-squats, 15 push-ups
Was not the toughest workout I've done in one morning by any means, but the following day I was extremely sore. Despite the soreness, I continued to workout the next morning (Tuesday) focusing on shoulders:
- 5 sets of 10 Overhead Dumbbell-presses (35 to 45 lbs sitting)
- 5 sets of 10 Cable Pull-downs (90 115 lbs standing)
- 5 sets of 10 Shrugs (45 lbs)
- 3 sets of 10 Overhead-presses(65 lbs standing).
The overhead presses in particular strained my already sore abdomen significantly more than the other exercises, so I cut it short. Throughout the rest of the day I had been eating regularly, had a boiled egg, biscuit and turkey bacon with chocolate milk and cereal for breakfast, and taking protein shakes between meals while stretching my core with trunk twisters, by just laying down flat on the floor and stretching my arms and legs out, doing side oblique stretches, and just actively using as much of my full range of core motion as I could without igniting too much sharp pain in my abs. One thing I thought was pretty notable was that when I lay down on my back, I felt difficulty breathing probably because using my diaphragm in this position was using more of my abdominal muscles. Also from this day forward I have had a slight hunch when I walked because standing upright was too painful. I thought maybe I was just sore, so I continued like this to the next day as well, while being cautious not to overwork my abs any more than I may already have.
The next morning (Wednesday) I did a short workout with only 2 exercises:
- 5 sets of 12 dumbbell rows (50lbs)
- 5 sets of 10 Bent-over Half-bar Rows (25-55lbs)
After PT, my SGT noticed my hunch, which was more significant than the day before, in my walk and he asked me about it. I told him that my abs felt torn up since Monday. He then asked me to try doing the Dog Do-up stretch. I struggled to the floor, rolled over on my stomach, and I tried to do the stretch, but I barely moved my chest 2 inches off the ground. He sent me to the Battalion Aid-Station. I went in, and explained to the Specialist pretty much everything I said here, minus all the workouts I did. I just said I was doing normal PT, but since Monday had been having complications that seemed to be getting worse. The medic Specialist took me to an examination table, told me to lay down and to bend my knees. He asked if it felt any better. It did seem more comfortable than stretching my legs out, so I said, "yes." He then put his hands on my abs, putting pressure on my mid-lower abdomen, in which i replied with a flinch and told him that was painful. He put pressure a bit lower on my abs, but it didn't feel as painful. He told me to try to do a sit-up, but I was not able to do even 1. So we finished the examination, he told me I was sore and overused my abs and gave me some ibuprofen. He told me to take 800MG every 8 hours with food and to ice my abs regularly and to try not to workout too hard for a few days. I went back, told my SGT. He told me not to do PT the next morning. So I rested, stretched, iced and took ibuprofen Thursday and Friday (Today).
By today, the pain is mostly gone, I can stand upright again without pain, but it still feels slightly weird to walk, and when I try running, my hunch comes back and my abs don't seem to tighten very much at all, and my stomach jiggles up and down uncomfortably which it has never done before because my abs normally tighten when I run. I still tried to do a sit-up, but fail. I can do a Dog Do-up up to my elbows, but not yet one fully extending my arms. Since the pain is going away and I am feeling better, I think I am recovering.... pretty slowly, but still feels like recovery... except I was just now looking in the mirror, just giving myself a quick self-examination, when I noticed a couple of changes in my body. Of everything that has happened this week, this just now is really the reason why I decided to reach out to a doctor or physician online who I could speak to right away. I don't feel like I am in any immediate emergency, which is why I am not going to the ER right now, and a part of me feels like I may be overthinking it, but I noticed the following symptoms that are bothering me:
- I was just doing some trunk-twisters when I noticed a strange sensation and a noise. I could feel air passing through my air pipes in my neck, and can also hear myself breathing... even when I am consciously controlling my breathing, I automatically feel the respiration each time I twist my core. And it only doesn't do this when I put exaggerated effort into shutting my mouth and my throat.
Yes I can breath just fine and am getting enough oxygen. My lungs seem to be working, I'm alive and well... but it just feels weird and unnatural.
- Also my abs just seemed to transform very quickly. I had a pretty nice tone going, but now they seems very untoned even when I try flexing. Not entirely flat, but significantly less tone than just the beginning of this week. This is probably easily explainable that abs are easy to change and tear... or that I can't flex them as much as I think I am at the moment (kind of like why I can't even do a sit-up)
When I was 17, I overworked my abs at the gym one day. I admit I had very little knowledge about fitness or nutrition. I probably was not eating right, or letting my body recover correctly. I had this misconception that the only thing I needed to get stronger was to train very very hard, so I intentionally pushed myself to my limits doing leg raises and sit-ups until I could literally feel very significant abdominal pain... I thought I was going to become stronger than ever... so then I just shut off my mind to the pain and kept going more and more until I reached muscle failure.
I also wasn't educated about proper recovery, so I don't even know if the reason it took 3 years was because I just didn't try stretching or anything... but, regardless, I spent the next 3 years with abdominal pain, rolling myself out of bed unable to do a single sit-up. I was just cautious of my abs and mitigated myself from using them too much. My body pretty much adapted to my abdominal pain overtime by utilizing more of my legs, thighs, hip-flexors and lower-back muscles to make up for using my abdominal muscles in everyday life, which still consisted of a lot of walking, running, climbing and normal activities. A lot happened on that last year, I didn't even notice my pain gradually going away, til one day, I just felt good, tried to do a sit-up, successfully sat myself up. I felt like the same feeling of how you feel when you are healthy again after having the flu... just grateful to be healthy and normal again. It was pretty emotional, I teared up a bit in joy. I joined the army shortly after.
I bring this up because it seems relevant. Also, it just reminds me of that time because not being able to sit-up without experiencing excruciating pain is very upsetting.
So to wrap up, I guess my question: Is there anything here that you notice may lead up to anything serious? Anything I need to do to prevent this from getting worse? Anything alarming?
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