Best way to rehab adductor injury
I am a 33 year old man, 5'11", 160lbs. Novice lifter. I have remained fairly active until a couple of years ago when school/work became all-consuming. It has since lightened up somewhat so I started lifting about 9 months ago. At first I was just aimless in the gym and then I discovered SS. I worked my way through the book slowly, so let's say I've been attempting the program for about 5 months.
I'm fighting recurrent right groin pain that is exacerbated by squats (and somewhat by deadlifting).
My work sets (5x3) started around 125lbs and went up 10lbs/session. When I hit 185 I noticed the pain--only after a workout. The location is about 5 cm distal to the pubic bone in the medial right thigh and I'm 99% certain it's adductor, based on my own physical exam. Right side only (my dominant side). It would be sore for the rest of the day after a workout and then seem to resolve. The next time I'd squat, however, the soreness would recur after lifting and persist for a little longer. I tried modifying my stance; narrowing the distance between my knees actually seemed to make it worse. Whatever tweaks I could think of didn't help.
I took a week off of squats and tried again. Same pain. I then took a full 3 weeks off of squats and worked on hamstring flexibility ("runners stretch" and other groin stretches triggered the pain immediately and I avoided those and anything that seemed to exacerbate my symptoms). After 3 weeks, I dropped the weight back down to 135, did extra warmup sets, and was completely pain free for a while.
Again, increasing 10lbs/sesson, I eventually made it to 225. I was very happy and though I'd nipped this pain in the bud. Due to my work schedule (occasional night shifts, long hours) I wasn't always lifting 3 days/week so this weight increase took 6-7 weeks. When I was really pushing it (i.e. squat starts to look like a good morning when I got tired), the groin pain came back. This was a couple of weeks ago. I didn't squat for 2 weeks and then tried again at 185. The pain was milder but still there, so now I'm off squats again.
I have also stopped other recreational activity that involves running as that exacerbates the symptoms as well.
After my last set of squats last week, this right groin pain was noticeable with walking and definitely there if I tried to adduct my thigh. I could run if I had to but it definitely made things worse. Now, a few days later, the pain has subsided to the point where I don't notice it unless I adduct my thigh, press on it, or accidentally move in a funny position. If it's like last time, the pain will continue to diminish until it is not exacerbated at all by a deep stretch or palpation (3-4 weeks?).
I never noticed any swelling or bruising. The pain probably maxes out at 6/10 and is sort of a focal, deep, dull burning. So far the things that make it worse are squats (no pain during; only after), dead lift, stretching, running, and direct pressure. The only thing I've noticed that makes it better is rest.
How do I rehab this? Do I need to take more time off? I'm just not sure if stopping squats and then resuming at a lighter weight weeks later is going to create this vicious cycle of weakening the adductors and then re-injuring them. I am looking for a rule of thumb about how to take care of this and, of course, how to prevent it in the future. Is it flexibility? Stance? Too rapid weight increases? I have not seen a healthcare provider for this issue yet.
Otherwise, Starting Strength has been fantastic. Given my sedentary job and erratic schedule, it is difficult to eat and sleep enough, but it has been wildly successful in making me stronger. I'll get periodic shoulder or glute soreness or some ache and pain somewhere but I can tell those are short term and have thus far been self limited.
Squat: 215x5 x3 It was the attempt at 225 that triggered this latest flare.
Deadlift: 265x5 x1 Again, it exacerbates the groin pain so I'm holding off on it as well
Bench: 200x5 x3
Press: 125x5 x3
Power clean: just learning this so I'm at bar+bumper weight (95x5).
Those numbers represent very challenging work sets. There is no way I could add 10 lbs to one of those exercises every workout session so I'm approaching the end of that progression.
I'm at a "big box" gym and doing my best with the equipment they have there. I wear Adidas Powerlift Trainer shoes.
Thanks in advance.
These things require a better physical exam than I can give you over the web. But your bodyweight is very light and most of the time these types of things heal for a novice when you stop being skinny.