Weekend Warrior Worries-The Man Coach
I know people who are weekend warriors. They train all week long though, in preparation for a mud run, spartan race, sporting event or pick up game.
Muscle tweaks and strains are sometimes par for the course of weekend competitions, but are there things we can do to help prevent the agony of pains obtained during weekend activity?
Once again I went to by buddy Dr. Charles Rawlings to find out what he had to say about the weekend warrior, and as always he surprised me with his answer.
Allen Branch "The Man Coach"
Weekend Warrior Worries
“This too shall pass – just like a kidney stone.”
Back pain - an almost invariable result of a weekend full of physical activity, be it tennis, club soccer, softball, or even playing catch with your kid. Is it just a nagging lower back sprain/strain, or have you entered into the world of the kidney stone belt? The kidney stone belt encompasses almost all of North Carolina, primarily due to its tap water. Do you drink iced tea? Then you may very well be a victim of the heinous kidney stone attack. The passing of one is equated in males to childbirth in women. Never having given birth to a baby, but having passed over 20 kidney stones, the pain is best described as a hot Bowie knife piercing your scrotum, or a sledgehammer repeatedly pounding your kidney - your flank region, depending upon where the kidney stone is located at the moment.
So let’s start with kidney stones and the pain therefrom, we shall leave the typical back sprain for the next installment of this article. Why start with kidney stones? Easy, August is actually peak season, the number one month, for developing a kidney stone. Moreover, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of kidney stones, particularly in men. Over the past 10 years, the incidence of kidney stones has risen by approximately 30%. This rise in stone formation is best explained by the increase in diets high in refined sugars, salt, and most importantly, animal protein. Why August? August is typically the hottest month and with the rise in heat, people (men especially) sweat more. As the sweating increases so does dehydration. As dehydration increases so does the number of kidney stones. Now, why iced tea? Everyone from the South knows that to beat the heat you drink iced tea. Unfortunately, iced tea contains a compound that increases dehydration, plus oxalates, which increase the formation of kidney stones. Thus, a double whammy. You are hot, you are already dehydrated, you drink iced tea made from tap water, and voilà, you become even more dehydrated and provide even more minerals for the formation of your kidney stone. Don’t drink iced tea!
So what is a kidney stone? A kidney stone is much like its name; a collection of minerals that have precipitated out of solution in the kidney and formed a hard concentration. In other words, minerals in your urine have formed a hard stone that now needs to leave your body. The stone thus begins its journey in the kidney, where it is rarely painful, and begins working its way down the ureter, the tube that connects your kidney to your bladder. Once it enters the ureter, your pain begins, plus the bloody urine. The stone is typically sharp enough to rip the lining of the ureter, thus the blood. That ripping is painful in and of itself, but the real pain usually begins when the stone becomes lodged at the uretero-pelvic junction, or UPJ; a kink in the ureter where it passes over the pelvis. Typically, the stone has problems passing this point and blocks the flow of urine. This blockage causes the pounding, pulsating back pain typical of a kidney stone. Sadly, this pain can last hours to days. Once the stone passes the UPJ, it travels towards the bladder. Usually you are pain-free at this point and think you are cured. Then the stone hits the bladder wall. This irritation to the muscular bladder wall causes extreme urinary urgency and incontinence. In other words, you feel the very strong urge to pee every five minutes and finally just let it dribble out continuously. The bloody urine also begins again. This stage typically takes about 3 to 4 hours and is accompanied by severe testicular pain and bladder spasms. Once past the bladder wall the stone enters the bladder. You then pass the stone when you pee after several hours with a strong stream. The process then begins anew.
Most kidney stones pass on their own by the process I outlined above. The person so afflicted needs to drink copious amounts of water, take pain medication, usually Percocet or Norco, and also a smooth muscle relaxer like Flonase. Occasionally, the stone is large enough that it requires surgical intervention either lithotripsy or via cystoscopy and snaring.
The best course of action is to prevent a stone from forming. In fact, once a person develops a stone, he has a 50-60% greater chance of developing another. Sadly, North Carolina has the highest incidence of kidney stone formation in the US and thus the world; North Carolinian white males have a 15-20% chance of developing a kidney stone. So, what to do? Stay away from dark iced tea. Drink lots of filtered water; eight to ten ounces an hour or more if needed. Keep your urine either clear or a light yellow. Acidify your drinks using lime or lemon, or drink actual lemonade. Moreover, see a doctor if you feel like you are passing a stone. Good luck!
Next we will discuss the ubiquitous lower back sprain/strain.
Charles E. Rawlings, M.D., J.D.
The information provided in the foregoing article is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Persons in need of legal advice related to a subject discussed in the article should contact a lawyer who is qualified to practice in that area of law. The article is the property of the author.