Posted by Laura on Sep 18, 2013 in All Wellness News | 0 comments
I had a former patient contact me recently to tell me about her new diagnosis of Rhabdomyolysis (a rare injury in which the muscles break down and overload the kidneys), which she developed after a particularly intense return to Crossfit following a 3 month break from training.
This injury is becoming more common in people who have pushed their bodies to the limit during physical activity, referred to as “Exertional Rhabdomyolysis”. Athletes are particularly prone to this in hot, humid conditions, and during workouts heavy with eccentric (“negative”) activities, such as, pull-ups and push-ups.
When there is muscle breakdown, the body processes the myoglobin (cell material from the muscle) through the ki
dneys, which can lead to renal failure and in extreme cases, death. A simple blood test will confirm this diagnosis and monitor a return to healthy kidney function. Medical treatment involves fluids, electrolytes and in some cases dialysis.
Rhabdo is a life-threatening emergency. Immediately call 911 if any of the following signs appear:
- Severe weakness after a workout.
- Cola or tea colored urine.
- Severe pain, stiffness or swelling in muscles.
- Confusion or mental changes.
After acute medical intervention, a slow return to exercise is critical to ensure continued restoration of health and prior abilities. With skilled Physical Therapy, you will be gently guided through a protocol of range of motion, stretching, and gentle strengthening, with an eventual return to full exercise. You will understand the signs and symptoms of “good burn” versus “bad burn” and have a skilled professional ensuring the prevention of further injury. Of course, as in all things, prevention is the best medicine. Rhabdo can be easily prevented with a few simple precautions.
- Stay well hydrated.
- After a hiatus from training, a graded return to intensity is critical.
- Do not push your limits in a hot or humid environment.
- Modify exercise if you have any underlying kidney or blood pathology. including sickle cell anemia.
If you have been diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis or have questions regarding prevention or return to activity, contact Dr. Emelia Brogna, DPT.