There have been many long hot days and many cold dark nights. The gym never sleeps, and you rarely do. You've suffered through pain, disappointment, and loss, but you've put in the time and energy to be exactly where you are right now.
This is your night. The lights are bright and the camera flashes are all around you. The environment is electric, and the crowd is charged. Your heart is a bass drum pounding from the adrenaline like the engine in a Funny Car dragster.
You're in the ring. Dancing with the opponent is something you have down to a science. All of a sudden you've locked horns. You find yourself in the clinch. Slip. Boom. Pow. There goes an elbow and a knee. Whiplash. Your head snaps back with sudden force. Oh no. Intense pain swells from your neck, hopefully this isn't a herniated disc. You finish the fight, but pain and numbness lingers on for weeks...
As a fighter, pain sucks, but it's no stranger to you because you've had your share with every blow to your body during your physical journey.
You understand dealing with pain and injury is part of the game and you may be familiar with some of the following:
1. Deep Contusion (Bone Bruise)
Things are known to get crazy in the ring and it's common to walk out with an injury of some sort. In this instance, a bone bruise, although a bruise, is no laughing matter. In fact there are three known types:
Subperiosteal Hematoma: Where blood builds up beneath fibrous membrane that covers the surface of the bone.
Interosseous Bruise: Involves bleeding and swelling in the central cavity of the bone.
Subchondral Lesion: Where bleeding and swelling occurs between to repair cartilage and the bone underneath.
You're probably wondering how these terrible bruises even occur. Well, all you need to know is that when you step into the ring, they happen. And they are going to suck.
2. Neck Hyperextension
As a fighter, you know it doesn't take a car crash to get whiplash. All it takes is a blow to the noggin, or an opponent that clinches with the force of a winch like from your 4x4. You'll often have neck stiffness accompanied with pain that worsens when your neck is moved. Hey, look... We're not saying we can prevent the injury or even improve your clinch game, but we can sure as hell improve your pain game.
3. Broken/ Cracked Ribs
If you've experienced this, you don't need an anatomy book to understand the pain associated with this injury. Every breath can be equated to the feeling of sucking in a container of thumbtacks and chasing it with 190 proof alcohol (speaking from first-hand experience). At times, this injury can be unavoidable with the nature of MMA. So naturally, you can understand our empathy for you.
4. Herniated Discs
Your spinal disk is like a jelly donut, with a soft center encased within a tough exterior. When one side is compressed, the "jelly" shoots out of the other side. Undue torque or stress on your neck and spinal column can potentially compress your vertebrae to result in this injury. Nobody likes a smashed donut because it's ugly, just like this injury and just like you. (Just kidding! You're beautiful and we want to keep it that way).