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BJJ Injuries: How to deal with nagging injuries

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Let’s face it, injuries are bound to happen in this sport. You may run into an asshole who cranks your arm the wrong way or that tries to do some kind of flying move and lands on your knee wrong. Or you may be an older practitioner whose body takes a little time to recover. BJJ injuries are not fun to deal with, but it is necessary to know how to prevent them.

It’s a good idea to account for it but there are many ways you can work behind the scenes to prevent them from happening in the first place. You never have to get ready for something you are always preparing for.

Most Common Injuries in BJJ

There are many ways to find yourself on the list of being injured when training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The fact about martial arts is that it can be tough on the body and you run the risk of getting hurt along the way, especially when you are rolling with someone who may take those training sessions a bit too seriously. Here are some common injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu:

Practicing jiu-jitsu comes with some risk factors just like most things that involve strength training or combat sports. It is just part of what we signed up for. Knowing that, accept the risk factors that are on the table and try everything in your power to not end up at a doctor’s office.

Acknowledging that it is a possibility and that you are not invincible goes a long way in not only preventing injury but also maintaining those nagging ones. Nagging injuries are probably the worst ones to have to deal with but in this post, we will point you in a direction to help alleviate some of those pains that may occur.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a martial art where injury risk can be high but as the popularity of martial arts is rising every day it is pivotal that people training have access to information and resources to help solve some of these issues.

Research has shown that there is a huge emphasis on BJJ practitioners taking their injury prevention methods seriously. It is not very common for someone to not experience one of the listed injuries in their time of training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Serious injury can occur if someone lets their ego get in the way or if they sit in submissions for too long without properly tapping out.

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BJJ injuries Compared to Other Martial Arts

Injuries from art form to art form vary in many ways so it is hard to say which martial art has the most injuries occur. In any sport, you are running risk when you put your body on the line. Brazilian jiu-jitsu training is not easy and from what we have seen most common injuries start in the training sessions. Picking good training partners is a great way to stay away from being injured.

Competition BJJ athletes run an even higher risk of getting hurt because they are going full speed against an opponent that is out to submit them. Injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu are not fun to deal with, typically the healing process is long and takes away from your training time. If you do find yourself injured from training it is advised to take some time to relax and not aggravate minor strains. The last thing you want to do is increase the injury rate and spend more time sidelined.

Neck Pain or Injuries in BJJ

There are certain body parts that you must be more cautious about than others and I believe he neck, back, and knees are just those.

Having any kind of serious injury to the neck or spine can put you out of commission for a very long time so if something feels off you must seek medical care. Damaging the neck bad enough could lead to permanent damage that cannot be reversed.

This information is not on here to scare anyone off from training a martial art like BJJ. It should be noted that if you are training with people that are not out to hurt you (aka being a good partner) the likelihood of something as dramatic as this happening goes down.

Injuries to Ligaments, Lendons, or Nerves

These are probably the most painful of all injuries because you feel sharp pain with every movement. We know this from first-hand experience when we hurt out knees in a live rolling session. If the pain is unbearable, medical treatment is advised. Please see a doctor if there is excessive swelling, bruising, or damage to a particular region of the body.

The areas that are most affected in these specific ways are going to be the following:

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Lower Back Pain

Rener Gracie has found lower spine pain injuries to be the most prevalent injury on the BJJ. If you are much bigger than your body and push the body into awkward positions, it is quite easy to pull muscle down the back or to lose a disc in your spine.

Lower back pain is the worst because when you have the issue its really hard to do just about anything. The crazy part about being injured in any way is that you realize how much of an impact it can have on day-to-day function if it progressively gets worse. If you find yourself in a position where you have real lower back pain from an injury you should seek advice from professionals that could help. We have partnered with Sports Medical Professionals with over 20 years of experience in the industry who have crafted online rehab programs for just about any kind of injury you could imagine. 

Shoulder Injuries

Being a BJJ fighter opens you up to a world where the injury frequency may be more than you originally expected if you do not take care of your body in the right way.

Most of us do not work any form of shoulder mobility into our routine and over time it comes back to bite us in the butt. But it does not have to always be like that. If you have experienced shoulder issues in the past you know how much of a letdown they can be. It is not uncommon to see shoulder injuries pop up on the BJJ mats especially as we age. 

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How common are knee injuries in BJJ?

Knee injuries are probably some of the more common injuries people will experience in BJJ next to the shoulder. Wearing protective knee braces or sleeves is what we do and it provides us with the stability we need to all out in our rolling sessions.

If you are looking for a great recommendation for protective knee gear, we could not recommend Anaconda Fightwear enough. The design of the knee sleeve is cool and the stability we got from wearing it was like no other knee sleeve we have worn. We have been using knee sleeves for years because we have a jacked-up right knee but rolling around with this one made us feel very comfortable.

The only downside is that the velcro wears off fast, so it may be smart to buy two at a time.

How to treat a BJJ injury for the quickest recovery

Injuries are common for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu athletes. You may not be able to completely avoid them but there are ways to treat them and do your best so we can prevent serious injuries from creeping in.

If you find yourself injured you need to take a break and create a strong habit of having discipline. I know how challenging that can be, I recently went through this myself with an ankle injury I had. Staying away from doing live rolls while you are hurt is crucial to your recovery time and these moments should be taken very seriously if you do not want the issue to get progressively worse. In these moments it calls us to put our ego to the side and just rest.

I personally advise anyone who is hurt to still show up to class, not only are you still able to take in the instructions from the class but it also looks good in the coach’s eyes. Consider doing some online rehab lessons while live rolls are going on.

Avoiding BJJ Injuries Starts With Proper Stretching

Simple stretching or even basic yoga poses will be game-changing to keep you fresh and loose enough to avoid injuries that can keep you off the mats for an extended period. From personal experience, we suffer from having very tight hip flexors from sitting all day at a desk. Every so often during the workday, I may be sure to stand up touch my toes, and hold lunge poses to open up my hips.

Adding a real yoga routine is not in our cards at the moment so we just look up great poses that we can do that are recommended by ‘YogaForBJJ‘. Yoga is a common practice that most advanced athletes do but even novice athletes can benefit from adding a simple routine to what they are currently doing.

There are only positive side effects to adding yoga and proper stretching to your training. Not only will you be able to stay away from being injured when you take the practice seriously but you may also progress way faster.

When you are nimble and able to move in ways other people cannot you are inching toward advanced athletes’ territory.

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Prevent injury by adding a 5-minute routine to what you already do. BJJ-related injuries are no fun to deal with and can even discourage you from continuing on with the sport. We want to see you continue moving forward on your journey and it starts with taking care of your body properly.

If you have not invested in one yet, get yourself a foam roller. They are small and compact enough to seriously store anywhere and while you are at it you should probably go for a massage gun as well. These two items (in our book) should be in everyone’s house regardless if you train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or not.

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Lift Weights to Help Prevent Injuries

Just because you train Brazilian jiu-jitsu does not mean you should skip the gym entirely. The serious athletes of the world (basketball players, football players, even tennis players) all lift weights in tandem of their sport-specific training, Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes should be doing the same.

We are serious about getting to the point where we can train this martial art full-time and we understand that avoiding common injuries (that can be entirely avoided) is the name of the game. BJJ injuries (listed above) tend to be ones that linger for long periods of time. A serious injury does occur when you we are not taking the proper steps to prepare ourselves for what we are about to put our bodies through.

At the current time, we lift weights between 2 -3 times per week and train Brazilian jiu-jitsu about 4 -5 times. We do not go into the gym to ego lift. We work our muscles in a way that will result in making our movement in our sport more dynamic and explosive so we can compete with some of the best people in our weight class.

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Personal Care with Hydration and Supplementation

With Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, Hydration is a must. It should go without words there. You need to be dialed in with nutrition if you want to keep yourself at peak shape to not only compete at high levels but also prevent injuries from occurring.

Drinking a gallon of water and maybe even throwing in some electrolytes is the route you can go here. Drinking a gallon can be a hard task, especially if you are starting from zero. This is no rush, if you cannot drink a whole gallon start with three 24oz glasses a day. Morning, lunch, and night and you will be ok.

You sweat a lot in this sport and dehydration is not fun to deal with.

Supplementation

If you haven’t supplemented before it will become a part of your routine when adopting this new warrior lifestyle. Protein powders, vitamin D, magnesium glycinate, boron, fadogia agrestis with tongkat ali, and pre-training supplements all allow us to biohack our bodies and get the most out of our training sessions.

If you are not a professional athlete, you should not feel ashamed at taking any supplements or enhancers that are meant to help you perform better. Whetehr that be on or off the mats. 

If you have the capability of doing so, get your blood work done to see where you are lacking in regard to your supplementation. Through our own blood work process we discovered that we have high cholesterol and a lower-than-average level of testosterone for someone our age. This gave us the ammo to dial in a game plan with people who knew how to supplement properly so we could train longer and with more efficiency and energy.

Your body is a machine and it needs to be taken care of while you put it under this kind of stress. We have an article about the best supplements that any grappler could be taking, be sure to check that out.

Sauna and Cold Plunge Sessions

To prevent more injuries from occurring you need to take your post-workout recovery seriously especially if you are getting up there in age. Adding a routine to spend some time in the sauna and adding cold water exposure is a great way to get the most out of your body.

We know quite a few grapplers who have taken cold plunging seriously and have a device in their homes. If you are on the fence of doing so check out the reviews we have written on all the top products in the market.

Whether you are a BJJ athlete, hobbyist, or enjoy spending time doing other recreational sports, spending time in a sauna and time in a plunge tub could seriously boost performance and recovery times. Spending just 20 minutes in a sauna can relieve stress, relax muscles, soothe aches, flush out toxins, and improve cardiovascular performance.

A regular dry sauna does the job here. If you have a local gym you go to that has an infrared sauna even better!

Tap Early & Often

This goes without saying. The goal is to get you to stick with the sport and soak up all the benefits without having injuries hold you back from reaching your goals.

TAP EARLY AND OFTEN. Once again, it is never worth it to risk serious injuries. If there is nothing on the line (you’re not competing for a world title) you should be making sure you tap out when the time calls. Do not let your ego get in the way of your BJJ training, you will end up beating yourself up for doing it in the long run.

A very popular submission in today’s game are heel hooks. Popularized by many at this point, heel hooks are common submissions that people will go after even while training. If you get caught in one, for the sake of your knees, please tap. An ACL tear or a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear is in your near future if you do not do so. A knee injury could set you back some time and knee injuries tend to take a toll on you mentally even after you have gone through the healing process. If you have not already received an ad from them, you should check out anaconda knee sleeves. We wear this thing almost everywhere. It looks cool and does the job, could not recommend a better knee sleeve.

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Getting hurt on the mats can be a depressing thing. We all want to be in tip-top shape but do not want to be set back in our training. Do not let spazzy training partners or a wild scramble take you out for months at a time. The first time we were hurt all we wanted to do was punch a wall and scream. The items listed above are just some ways we can help and make it easier to come back better than before. 

 

It is important to state that if the injury is serious enough please be sure to consult a medical professional. The things laid out in this blog are mainly for muscle and joint soreness, something serious like neck injuries or possibly low-back should be taken up with a doctor if the pain is unbearable!

Happy Rolling!

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