rhabdomyolysis - horrible quad cramps after 3 days off
Wanted to post about my recent experience, hopefully to assist others in avoiding or at least recognizing symptoms. Also would love to hear how other have dealt with recovery.
About me: avid long distance cyclist, not racer, not particularly fast, pretty fit, 45yo female.
I'd been training pretty heavily since January to prepare for a fun summer of ride the rockies, a bunch of centuries and a week long trip to ride in the french alps. Training was mostly on trainer but starting to get outside as much as possible when weather allowed (Denver). I'm not a beginner, i've done many 500+ miles touring weeks, half IMs, have ridden tons of centuries and rode the dolomites for a week last year.
I'd had a pretty hard training week finishing with a well deserved 3 days off to visit friend in CA. We ate and drank like french people all weekend :-) No exercise except for walking around.
got back from the trip and my first day back at work, going down the stairs (i work on the 4th floor) at the end of the day and going out to my car, both quads cramped up so severely I was almost in tears, had to sit down and took about a half hour to hobble out to my car. This was unique since it occurred after a nice rest weekend. Granted i drank more than normal during the weekend, had more coffee and was probably a little dehydrated.
This kept up for a couple days when went to the dr. I had done research on the web and had diagnosed myself with exercise induced rhabdomyolysis since my symptoms matched almost exactly what some other cyclists had described. it was definitely a mild case since my urine was clear but otherwise was spot on. Dr. tried not to laugh at me and said that if i had truly had rhabdomyolysis i would have brown urine. he said give it a few days and it would go away. He said to take vitamins, stretch, hydrate, drink tonic water and wait.
5 days go by, still getting the bad cramps. Go back to doc, he has my blood tested and turns out my self-diagnosis was correct. I had ck levels of 500 nearly 12 days after original event. He said that it was probably in the thousands when it originally happened. Needless to say, he did not have much else to add about my recovery except to say continue to take supplements (b vitamins, magnesium, multi vitamins, take electrolyte sups), stretch, and drink a gallon of water + gatorade daily. He said it would take 3-5 weeks to recover and that i should start training again slowly and carefully since I would be more prone to this in the future.
It is now 5 weeks later. I took almost 1 month off completely from exercise, no nuthin. no stairs no walking nothing. almost killed me. But the dr. said i had to let my body recover, let the kidneys flush out all the toxins and let the damages muscle repair. I've been getting massages frequently, my therapist is focusing on lymph node cleansing. Have no idea if that helps but i am getting better and it feels terrific and relaxing :-)
Just started back to very light training this week and am feeling good. I'm terrified of doing something to bring back the cramps but at the same time i want to get back to my previous fitness and training levels.
anyone out there experienced this? How was your recovery and what did you do?
thanks for any input and remember - hydrate & stretch!!!