The sport I do is judo, I am a 21-year-old athlete and have been training full time for the past 3 years.
My background is a country girl, from a farm doing a lot of manual labour with doing additional recreational sports; judo; horse riding, badminton etc. I came to the University of Bath in 2013 to study and train full time in judo. I have managed, under Juergen’s guidance and coaching to improve a lot in judo since I first came to Bath and I plan on that continuing! Hopefully the support of the GLL Sport Foundation will help me recover.
This back injury has been going on for a few months now, I believe originally I was diagnosed from an incident where my knee ‘gave way’ in a training session. We were doing a high intensity circuit in the sand pit and were all partnered off. One of the stations in the circuit was tug of war with a harness. This is where both members of each pair would but a harness on get into a bear crawl position and battle each other to get to opposite ends of the sandpit. During the station my knee gave way. After seeing the physio and having a scan, my knee was given the all clear. The physio believed that it possible that due to the tension I carry in my back and pain inhibition it can sometimes switch off muscles, causing my knee to continue to give way in other sessions and it feeling unstable.
Working with this next diagnosis, we worked to calm the tension in my back down. However, months later the pain getting was and still struggling a lot including being restricted in movements.
Recently; (26/07/2016) Thanks to the GLL Sport Foundation I was able to have a proper initial examination with a different physio. I couldn’t afford this normally, so to have opportunity to start getting down to the real problem was relieving! I was becoming quite fed up by this point with having a pain/problem but not knowing how to fix it or what it really is.
From this physio appointment; I am currently diagnosed with L5/S1 Facet dysfunction on my left side. At the moment not able to rule out stress response/ stress fracture to vertebra known as spondylolisthesis.
Next stage is to have a lot of physio to try and unlock joint and bring in more movement and to get a scan to be clear there isn’t a fracture.
Throughout the physio progress: 03/08/16 and 08/08/16; So far the physio sessions provided by the GLL Sport Foundation to help my injured back have definitely help toward my recovery. Although I am still in pain, my range of movement has improved a lot during this time. Hopefully it will continue to progress. Katy Williams (physio) has helped by providing me with appropriate rehabilitation sessions, physiotherapy on my back- thereby increasing range of movement and reducing muscular tension and spasm my back was carrying.
I am hoping soon to be able to get a scan through the NHS to see if there is the possible diagnosis of stress response/ fracture that hasn’t been ruled out. I have received 4 physio sessions funded by the GLL Sport Foundation which is helping me massively in recovering from this injury as soon as possible. Hopefully throughout next couple of sessions we can get closer to the problem.
Throughout my rehab I have been communicating with the sports staff including a sport psychologist and my strength and conditioning coach, Luke Vella, who has supported me with the physio programme. He has provided me with additional strength and conditioning sessions agreed with Katy that are suitable for me to carry out. The aim is to maintain my fitness as much as possible during my time off the judo mat, as well as keeping my judo coach in the loop with my progress.
“This was all enabled by the GLL Sport Foundation and although I have had my last funded session, they have definitely helped me massively towards getting down to the problem and my recovery. I don’t know how to express my appreciation towards them. I would have never been able to afford the physiotherapy treatment I needed.”
16th August; my last GLL Sport Foundation supported physio session that they provided is tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to figure out just how much more physio I need. I’m still waiting for an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon about an MRI, hopefully that will be in the no to distant future.
From the 16th August for the next 3 weeks (Katy was away) I had to have sports massage whilst following the rehabilitation programme Katy had set for me; alongside the S&C I was allowed to do provided by Luke. During this time, I had gone through the doctors to push for an MRI.
On the 19th September, I finally got my MRI scan. I was lucky enough for someone to cancel which enabled me to have a scan sooner! I received the results a week later. I honestly have mixed and confused feelings about the result. This is odd seeing as actually, the results are positive: My lower spine is fine. However, I do have left sided L5/S1 nerve root irritation but otherwise nothing serious. Which means there won’t be more extended time out of judo and I can start to transition back into training full time with the rest of the group.
When I was initially given the results I found them very frustrating. I believed this scan would finally give me an answer as to why I am always in pain. Nevertheless, Katy and Luke explained to me the scan results and I am beginning to accept that it something that has built up over time and I have protected by having a lot of tension in my back.
The current good news is that my spine isn’t at risk so I can start to do more challenging gym sessions and get back to judo faster with less precaution! The not so good news is that I’m still in pain. This is manageable pain, and after talking to Katy, Luke and my coach Juergen, I am going to be eased back into the full time training and have an altered plan. Katy has provided guidelines and a plan to help this transition. If I do have a “flare up” of pain, then it’s been suggested that I take some anti-inflammatories to help calm it down.
I will also continue to have sessions with Katy, to keep on top of it. These sessions will be less frequent as they are needed less as I have massively improved mainly thanks to Katy. She has been treating me throughout this journey, and has improved my range of movement, got rid of the muscle spasm in my back and pretty much all of the tension. This is really impressive seeing as I have a lot of tension for years.
Thank you to Chloe for keeping a blog throughout her rehab and recovery – we are looking forward to hearing about her journey, onwards and upwards! Physiotherapy support is available throughout London (Crystal Palace and Middlesex), Bath, Gosling and Northern Ireland. We are looking to expand throughout the rest of England and Wales too. Please read here to find out about our clinics and how you can access them as a GSF supported athlete.