The country singer blogs exclusively for PEOPLE

By Jana Kramer
Updated September 19, 2016 05:15 PM
Credit: Heidi Gutman/ABC

Country singer Jana Kramer is currently competing on

Dancing with the Stars, and she’s blogging about season 23 exclusively for PEOPLE. Follow Kramer and her partner Gleb Savchenko, both 32, on Twitter!

After spraining a rib muscle off-screen during last week’s premiere episode, Kramer reveals what it’s been like rehearsing despite the pain.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as I was before we went out on stage during last week’s premiere.

I think my nerves were so out of control because because I’ve never been pushed as far outside my comfort zone as I have been on Dancing with the Stars. I just didn’t want to go out there and fail and give people more to criticize.

But the minute we hit the stage, I just told myself, “Just perform and have a good time.”

And I did. I had a great time. Afterward, Ryan Lochte was one of the first people to run up to backstage and congratulate me.

You know, we all went out there last Monday and were vulnerable, including Ryan. He’s such a nice guy and I hope America really does get to know the guy that we’ve all gotten to know. We’ve all said and done things we’ve regretted and I just wish people would give him a chance and not be so quick to judge him.

Having his support was great, but hearing from so many members of my family and friends meant so much to me. My former One Tree Hill costar Sophia Bush was Snapchatting me. Carrie Underwood sent me flowers. The whole country music community has been great.

But the best was hearing from my grandma. After Gleb and I performed, I was backstage grabbing a snack when she called. I answered and she was really surprised she got me during the show. She was just screaming and telling me how proud she was. That really meant a lot.

I felt great about what Gleb and I did with our first dance, but we know there is a lot to improve on and we am ready to do that work.

In fact, leading up to our dance on Monday we were practicing while waiting up in the skybox. That’s when I think I first injured my rib muscle.

We were practicing some different dance moves to maybe use in future weeks and I felt a sharp pain. I think being nervous made me more tense than usual and that probably contributed to the injury.

Adrenaline got me through the premiere, but I was definitely feeling it the next day.

I’ve had some minor injuries here and there but nothing ever like this. At times it can hurt to even breathe.

But I don’t want America to think I’m a baby. I’ve pushed myself so hard and I’m going to keep pushing, but my body is just pushing back right now.

On Wednesday, I finally went to see a doctor. He told me that if I was anyone else, he’d tell me to rest and stay seated for a few weeks. But he knows I’m hard-headed and would never let myself be taken out of the competition.

Now, I’m not going to do something that is going to get me in the hospital or to the point of having to have surgery, but I refuse to throw in the towel after one week.

This week is TV Week on DWTS, Gleb and I are dancing a tango to Gavin DeGraw‘s “I Don’t Want to Be,” which was featured on One Tree Hill.

The tango is a really sharp and tight dance and I don’t want Gleb to have to change any of the choreography because of my injury. It really frustrates me that we can’t go full out in the rehearsals.

There are times I’ll yell at Gleb to stop taking it easy on me and he has to remind me that we can’t push my body too far or we won’t be able to dance at all.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, but I feel added pressure that we are honoring my old show.

My character was really sassy and strong, so I think the tango is the perfect, powerful dance to pay homage to her.

My goal is to get out there tonight, have fun, do the best tango I can and make it seem like I’m not injured at all.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.