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JustinASU
04-17-2007, 03:24 PM
I recently herniated a disc in the lumbar region of my back. Since then I have been bed ridden and chock full o' drugs. I'm still running a course of prednisone for inflammation and seeing a chiropractor.

Doctors aren't the best resource on how to ease back into strength training after an injury like that. Has anyone had to recover from this kind of injury before? I have no idea how to proceed other than to avoid my favorite lifts (i.e. squats, deads). I would assume some stretching would definitely help. I was thinking of throwing in some dips/pull-ups for spine decompression. I do not actually know if it's safe to roll my back out on a foam roller. I want to get back into my strength training very badly, but I want to do it right this time as opposed to any other time that I hurt myself.

If anyone has any experiences and/or regimens I can use as a resource for this type of rehab, feel free to throw them in.

EDIT: BW GHR's may also be an option for stretching and alleviating spinal compression, right?

WillKuenzel
04-17-2007, 03:32 PM
Your best bet would be to do some reverse hypers. Get 4-5 2x4's and place them across the safety rods in the squat rack and lay some type of padding over it. Ghetto work, taken from Chris Rodgers' recommendation. I've set it up in my rack and adding some resistance isn't as easy but initially for you, you shouldn't need it.

Lots of bodyweight squats, lunges, belt squats. Hook bands to your belt and the other end on something low. Now might be a good time to start working on some sumo deads with very little weight of course, but still doing them to get your hips to do more work.

WillKuenzel
04-17-2007, 03:32 PM
GHR's might not be a great option just yet.

Anthony
04-17-2007, 03:33 PM
What caused the herniation?

JustinASU
04-17-2007, 03:40 PM
Your best bet would be to do some reverse hypers. Get 4-5 2x4's and place them across the safety rods in the squat rack and lay some type of padding over it. Ghetto work, taken from Chris Rodgers' recommendation. I've set it up in my rack and adding some resistance isn't as easy but initially for you, you shouldn't need it.

Lots of bodyweight squats, lunges, belt squats. Hook bands to your belt and the other end on something low. Now might be a good time to start working on some sumo deads with very little weight of course, but still doing them to get your hips to do more work.

Some good suggestions, though the ghetto reverse hypers sound somewhat unstable. Sounds like band resistance could eventually be added.

JustinASU
04-17-2007, 03:43 PM
What caused the herniation?

That's the biggest frustration right now. I was using moderate weight with damn good form on ATF Squats. I had two onlookers to make sure my form was up to par. I went down and hit two rep, hams touching calves. Coming out of the hole on the third rep I felt something snap in my lower back. I managed to finish the rep, but I immediately collapsed and had to go to the ER. I couldn't walk for days.

The form was great and the weight was quite moderate--it just doesn't make sense. It shook the foundation of everything I understood. The chiro says my hips are somewhat out of alignment and that may have been the cause. I was squatting 3 times a week, but I can't see that being a huge problem.

WillKuenzel
04-17-2007, 05:40 PM
With your flexibility not being quite up to par, your hips round under at the bottom of ATF squats. As you turn around and try to come up out of the hole the spine is rounded tremendously and curved under. I can bet that even though it was moderate weight for you, with your back so rounded (and you or they might not have thought so because its your hips that are pulling under and causing this, not higher like you may think) your discs were just being yanked on. I see it almost everyday with clients. Without proper flexibility and ATF squat can become damn dangerous.

You'd be surprised at how stable it is with 2x4's. I was doing it with just 2 bars and some floor matting and I could do it with bands. Use 2x4's instead of bands and get plenty of base and it shouldn't be a problem.


In saying all this however, you need to get yourself a good physical therapist. Call around, ask around, talk to other people. Find somebody that can tell you if its your hip flexors or glutes which are tight, and/or your hamstrings or quads. You need to figure out exactly where the imbalance is and fix it before trying to do anything else. It might be a stretch for the wallet but let me put it to you this way: would you rather be able to squat again or will you always want to have this problem and it possibly get worse and never really be able to fully workout again? Get a physical therapist that knows what they are doing and can help you as a strength athlete, not just some PT that is used to working with Joe Schmoe who'll never do anything remotely active after his PT work. It'll be probably one of the best investments you can make at this stage.

brians34
04-17-2007, 05:50 PM
I herniated a disc in the same region. I don't know if you experienced this, but when mine herniated it pinched my sciatic nerve. Went to a specialist and he sent me to physical therapy. I repeat, do not go to physical therapy for a herniated disc. Anyway it led to me having to have surgery on it. I'm sure you've did your homework on your injury but the worst thing you can do is anything too soon. Ice/heat and anti inflammatory pills are your best option. Stretching is a no-no, until you get the disc to decrease back to almost normal size. This might sound drastic, but I'd recommend at least 3 months off, maybe more. Trust me, better safe than sorry on this area. Good luck with everything

vdizenzo
04-17-2007, 06:58 PM
I had two ruptured discs years back. The best advice I can give you is get as much blood flow to those discs as possible. Here is what I did and still do:

-Sleep on my back with my legs elevated or on my side with a body pillow between my legs. *This is the most important advice!

-Walk on a treadmill (road is too hard on the back/joints).

-Get an inversion table. This allows traction using your own bodyweight.


I was a far better squatter and deadlifter than I was a bencher when this happened. When I was finally able to get back I focused on benching--my worst exercise. Over time I got pretty good at it. While some doors close, others open.

I'm sure you will squat and dead again. The advice above will get you there much faster. Good luck.

JustinASU
04-17-2007, 07:02 PM
I herniated a disc in the same region. I don't know if you experienced this, but when mine herniated it pinched my sciatic nerve. Went to a specialist and he sent me to physical therapy. I repeat, do not go to physical therapy for a herniated disc. Anyway it led to me having to have surgery on it. I'm sure you've did your homework on your injury but the worst thing you can do is anything too soon. Ice/heat and anti inflammatory pills are your best option. Stretching is a no-no, until you get the disc to decrease back to almost normal size. This might sound drastic, but I'd recommend at least 3 months off, maybe more. Trust me, better safe than sorry on this area. Good luck with everything

No physical therapy? That sounds like a bad idea to me. I've actually gotten advice from both my doctor and my chiro that I need to start getting active again. Stretching and spinal decompression can do wonders for my spine, or so I'm told. Call me crazy, but I'll trust to the professionals. Of course there are only certain motions I need to be doing at this time, but after 10 days of bedrest only+anti-inflammatories+pain killers+corticosteroids for inflammation, it's time to start stretching a bit.

JustinASU
04-17-2007, 07:05 PM
With your flexibility not being quite up to par, your hips round under at the bottom of ATF squats. As you turn around and try to come up out of the hole the spine is rounded tremendously and curved under. I can bet that even though it was moderate weight for you, with your back so rounded (and you or they might not have thought so because its your hips that are pulling under and causing this, not higher like you may think) your discs were just being yanked on. I see it almost everyday with clients. Without proper flexibility and ATF squat can become damn dangerous.

You'd be surprised at how stable it is with 2x4's. I was doing it with just 2 bars and some floor matting and I could do it with bands. Use 2x4's instead of bands and get plenty of base and it shouldn't be a problem.


In saying all this however, you need to get yourself a good physical therapist. Call around, ask around, talk to other people. Find somebody that can tell you if its your hip flexors or glutes which are tight, and/or your hamstrings or quads. You need to figure out exactly where the imbalance is and fix it before trying to do anything else. It might be a stretch for the wallet but let me put it to you this way: would you rather be able to squat again or will you always want to have this problem and it possibly get worse and never really be able to fully workout again? Get a physical therapist that knows what they are doing and can help you as a strength athlete, not just some PT that is used to working with Joe Schmoe who'll never do anything remotely active after his PT work. It'll be probably one of the best investments you can make at this stage.

Actually the spinal rounding towards the tailbone is a perfectly valid explanation. I literally go ATF unlike my workout partners who are satisfied with some ham/calf contact. That could have absolutely been the cause. Damn Will, this is why I need to talk to you more often.

I'll have to see if the PT is covered by my insurance. Would you recommend dropping the chiro altogether right now or no?

JustinASU
04-17-2007, 07:43 PM
I had two ruptured discs years back. The best advice I can give you is get as much blood flow to those discs as possible. Here is what I did and still do:

-Sleep on my back with my legs elevated or on my side with a body pillow between my legs. *This is the most important advice!

-Walk on a treadmill (road is too hard on the back/joints).

-Get an inversion table. This allows traction using your own bodyweight.


I was a far better squatter and deadlifter than I was a bencher when this happened. When I was finally able to get back I focused on benching--my worst exercise. Over time I got pretty good at it. While some doors close, others open.

I'm sure you will squat and dead again. The advice above will get you there much faster. Good luck.

I'm already doing the whole sleeping on the back with legs elevated thing, but I usually end up kicking off the pillow before the night is over. I'm a restless sleeper.

How long were you out of the game? Did you pursue physical therapy?

Sensei
04-17-2007, 07:53 PM
I'd definately agree w. everything HomeYield said. To be honest, I've never hurt my back with anything that I felt was a challenging weight...
If you have alignment/functional flexibility issues, you can very easily have subtle form changes (like twisting or hip sway to one side or rounding) and not notice it at all unless you videotape yourself from at least a side and rear view. Borrow a camera or get some competent people to scrutinize your form.

I've never been diagnosed w. a herniated disc, but I've had back injuries that basically put me completely out for days and took months to build back from. Here are some things I have done that seemed to help:

Soon after injury:
*rest
*ice
*light stretching and mobility work for torso, hamstrings, glutes, IT band (whenever I say "light", I mean a light load, limited ROM, slow tempo)
*very light ab and lower back work
*electro-stim
*contrast baths
*massage

As strength and pain-free range of motion improve:
*light "proprioceptive exercises" - for me, these would include exercises like light one-legged DLs and light overhead squats
*more aggressive flexibility work
*more aggressive core work
*continued ice following training and/or prior to bed
*massage
*return to light DLs and SQs - carefully monitoring form.
*(try not to roll your eyes) pilates and yoga...

Be patient and don't rush things - if you do, you're likely to end up reinjuring yourself, or injuring something else that's trying to compensate for the injured area.

brians34
04-17-2007, 09:08 PM
I just say no pt because i had not so much bad experiences from it...but let me explain... The exercises/stretches I did in PT for this were very basic and I mean very. I know thats what it takes to get you started back on the right track, but you need to ask yourself.. "Is it necessary?" In fact you can do a search on the internet for exercises/stretches to do for a herniated disc and get the same information without spending the thousands of dollars. The PT might help the motivation to do the exercises, but since you're seemingly serious about your conditioning I don't see it as a problem for you.

vdizenzo
04-18-2007, 12:33 AM
I just say no pt because i had not so much bad experiences from it...but let me explain... The exercises/stretches I did in PT for this were very basic and I mean very. I know thats what it takes to get you started back on the right track, but you need to ask yourself.. "Is it necessary?" In fact you can do a search on the internet for exercises/stretches to do for a herniated disc and get the same information without spending the thousands of dollars. The PT might help the motivation to do the exercises, but since you're seemingly serious about your conditioning I don't see it as a problem for you.

Books and sites cannot compare to a good pt. I was fortunate to find a pt who used to throw the hammer in college. He was very interested in getting me back to competing after I tore my bicep. He enjoyed working with bigger guys. It takes a bright and strong therapist to work with a heavily muscled athlete. My guy rolled his sleeves up whenever he saw me and was beaded up with sweat by the time I left. Do your homework on a good pt and it will pay off.

Regarding my back injury, it took me close to a year before I got back in the gym regularly and another year before I was back to powerlifting. Keep in mind that two of my discs were actually ruptured so your timeline should be much better.

Lastly, to cure yourself from rolling off your back you can either put a couch cushion under your legs which is much harder to kick or roll off of, or you can get a 10ft body pillow. I have mine under my legs and wrapped up each side of my body. It kind of looks like I am in a recliner. Between that and the cpap my wife gets a good laugh. She did not sign up for this nonsense when we met and I was a little under 200lbs.

smalls
04-18-2007, 01:45 AM
Go see a good P.T. I would imagine your insurance should cover it at least for a short time. They will probably give you a basic extension protocol and lumbar stabilization stuff, but this is a serious injury and even doing something as the wrong stretches too early could make it worse, or at least keep it aggravated longer. And you want a professional to keep an eye on it because this is something that sometimes actually does need surgery, depending on the severity of the bulge, it's effect on nerves and it's response to rest and conservative therapy. It usually takes months for a bulge to shrink down and it never truly heals, so it's something to be stay aware of.

Isaac Wilkins
04-18-2007, 04:43 AM
Jesus, bro. You can't catch a break.

I'm willing to bet that HY is right on. I blew my back doing a submax set of deads with good form, it just went.

Find a good PT. If you don't like them when you meet them, find another one. It's going to be a long journey.

If you don't already take microlactin, start. Perhaps at a 1.5 or 2x normal dose.

Keep your protein high. When you start to get depressed I know your appetite dies off. Keep plugging.

As Wilma said, there's almost certainly going to be some flexibility issues in your low back/hamstrings. When the PT evaluates you they'll be able to focus on what needs to be done there.

At this point get some light to moderate massage to the area frequently. You can do this yourself or have your wife do it. Even light massage will promote blood flow.

The decompression will do great things for your back, but wait on your PT before you do too much of it. They'll fine-tune things and keep you from ****ing things up more.

JustinASU
04-18-2007, 11:44 AM
brians34 I think I understand what you're saying, but if I can find a good sports PT and go through a couple of sessions, I feel that I will get more accurate feedback rather than trying to diagnose my own problems.

vdizenzo Two years to get fully back into PLing?!? I don't know if my psyche can take that kind of abuse. It's been about 2 weeks and I'm already losing my mind. The prospect of being out of strength training for months is once that I'm struggling with.

smalls Another count for PT, thanks. You say it can take months for a bulge to shrink back down and it never really heals? That's a damn scary prospect. The Chiro I am seeing is a very reputable guy, he does all the college and professional sports teams in the area and he seems to think I can be fixed in a matter of weeks. I'm starting to wonder about this guy...

Isaac You don't even know the half of it man. SUgery, major car accident, and now this, in the span of two years. I won't put my bitchfest up here on the board, but I might PM you about some other issues I've been dealing with as well.

I actually just started taking microlactin from NOW foods. I was taking 4gr a day, but I can bump that if you think it'll help. Deprressed is not gonne be the word for it...more like despair, but I'll try to keep the protein high. I guess that might spare some of the muscle I have left.

I'll look into the PT thing, but I might end up waiting until I see my GP on May 1st so I can get a referral and get it covered be insurance.

===========

Thanks for the advice guys. I'll go with what I have here. I cannot tell you how depressed I am about the entire situation and for those of you who know me it's been one damn setback after another. I guess I'll keep plodding along, but I see my dreams of hitting elite slowly slipping away...

Isaac Wilkins
04-18-2007, 11:52 AM
Feel free to PM away, bro.

Your chiro might be very good. My dealings with chiros have been hit or miss. Some have been great, some sucked. All thought that they were the ****. If he's as well respected as you say then he probably has a good idea of what's going on. Keep working with him, especially if he's making you feel better.

Get a referral for the PT, it'll be expensive otherwise.

Bump the microlactin to 6-8g. 4g is probably fine, but you have a lot of inflammation.

Keep yourself from being depressed. Look at it like this: There are some parts of training that you've always hated and skipped on. Those are mobility, flexibility, technique work, and GPP. Consider this to be your wake-up call. Now you can started on that elite total... The right way.

vdizenzo
04-18-2007, 12:08 PM
Justin, I am just happy I returned to heavy lifting at all. I saw seven doctors all of which wanted me on an operating table within a week, one of which was an ortho for the Jets. They all also told me I would never lift heavy again. I went through about six months of medicating with vicodin and beer. I had such bad sciatic pain that I had to ace bandage my calf as tightly as possible to deal with it. I would constantly be wrapping and unwrapping it all day. I could not sleep more than 2 hours at a time for months.

I guess the message to you is this sport is a marathon--not a sprint. I have competed on the biggest stages in the world in this sport and not because I had one good lift or one good year. Make no doubt about it, this sport will hurt you. Dealing with the adversity is what makes any rewards that much better.

ericg
04-18-2007, 12:35 PM
Sorry to hear about this bro. Hopefully you get things taken care of. Good luck with everything.

JustinASU
04-18-2007, 07:29 PM
I'd definately agree w. everything HomeYield said. To be honest, I've never hurt my back with anything that I felt was a challenging weight...
If you have alignment/functional flexibility issues, you can very easily have subtle form changes (like twisting or hip sway to one side or rounding) and not notice it at all unless you videotape yourself from at least a side and rear view. Borrow a camera or get some competent people to scrutinize your form.

I've never been diagnosed w. a herniated disc, but I've had back injuries that basically put me completely out for days and took months to build back from. Here are some things I have done that seemed to help:

Soon after injury:
*rest
*ice
*light stretching and mobility work for torso, hamstrings, glutes, IT band (whenever I say "light", I mean a light load, limited ROM, slow tempo)
*very light ab and lower back work
*electro-stim
*contrast baths
*massage

As strength and pain-free range of motion improve:
*light "proprioceptive exercises" - for me, these would include exercises like light one-legged DLs and light overhead squats
*more aggressive flexibility work
*more aggressive core work
*continued ice following training and/or prior to bed
*massage
*return to light DLs and SQs - carefully monitoring form.
*(try not to roll your eyes) pilates and yoga...

Be patient and don't rush things - if you do, you're likely to end up reinjuring yourself, or injuring something else that's trying to compensate for the injured area.

Missed this one somehow - in regards to the ice - it's been about 1.5 weeks. Wouldn't heat be more appropriate at this point? I only ask because it seems like heat would draw more blood to the disc.

Also, where would one get electro-stim?

JustinASU
04-18-2007, 07:32 PM
For those of you who have herniated a disc before...I have a question. It's been exactly 10 days since the accident. I can walk with little to no pain and I can sit with minimal pain as long as I get up once an hour. Does this seem on par with the healing process? I can even do bodyweight squats with little to no pain. I only wonder because a couple of co-workers I've spoken with who have had the same injury said they couldn't really move for weeks. It almost seems like I'm healing fast than all I hear, which is good, but it makes me suspicious.

How were your experiences in relation to the pain and range of motion over the first couple weeks?

EDIT: ok, maybe little to no pain is an understatement, but it isn't nearly as bad as I thought considering I thought I ripped through a spinal erector when it happened.

EDIT 2: Keep in mind I have had x-rays, but no MRI - I canceled my MRI after the pain improved. The doc DID say it was optional if the pain got better and its a damn expensive procedure.

Sensei
04-18-2007, 08:23 PM
Missed this one somehow - in regards to the ice - it's been about 1.5 weeks. Wouldn't heat be more appropriate at this point? I only ask because it seems like heat would draw more blood to the disc.

Also, where would one get electro-stim?IMHO, a contrast bath/alternating heat and ice pads would be a good way to shuttle blood/fluids in and out of the area. If there's still inflammation (which I'm guessing there is), I wouldn't be ending w. heat though.

I have a small hand-held unit like one of the models shown at this site: http://www.lhasaoms.com/tens_units-101-page.html It is certainly not a miracle worker, but it has saved me several times when I was knocked down w. spasms.

Again, I've never been diagnosed w. disc issues, but I've always had pretty significant improvement of symptoms the first couple of weeks following acute lower back injuries. Don't be pessimistic, but it's definately not something to get geeked up about.

JustinASU
04-19-2007, 08:52 AM
I lied. The pain is killing me today.

JoeG
04-19-2007, 10:46 AM
Dude that sucks. About seven years ago I had bulging disc that caused me to go down for a couple of days. I still have "stiffness" and I have a hard time keeping control droping on squats unless the weight is not close to max.

That said you are younger than I am and I imagine you'll heal up fine. One thing you might want to keep in mind is that even after I felt pretty good anything that caused my hips to shift from side to side, like bumping into a table caused pain.

Don't rush it.

JustinASU
04-19-2007, 11:40 AM
Dude that sucks. About seven years ago I had bulging disc that caused me to go down for a couple of days. I still have "stiffness" and I have a hard time keeping control droping on squats unless the weight is not close to max.

That said you are younger than I am and I imagine you'll heal up fine. One thing you might want to keep in mind is that even after I felt pretty good anything that caused my hips to shift from side to side, like bumping into a table caused pain.

Don't rush it.

Joe - any healing/rehab tips you used to great success aside from what's been mentioned?

WillKuenzel
04-19-2007, 12:21 PM
Dude, if you put a bar on your back before you see a physical therapist I will personally drive up there and kick you in the teeth.

I know you. Don't tell me you haven't thought about it.

If the only piece of advice you ever follow that I give you is going to a PT then I've done something. You're so freaking hard-headed it's not even funny (well sort of), and I know I can come across as being an extreme dick about things sometimes to you but you have to do this. If it is a herniate disc, this isn't something you can train around. You have to see somebody that can tell you what the issues are (because I'm positive it's more than one, knowing your history of stretching).

Call around, get some consultations. You don't have to commit to anything. Find out if you need a referral from your doctor. Call different places and see if they take your insurance, then set up an appointment and go in and see if they know what they're talking about. You know enough about lifting at this point to know if they're ****ting you or not. They'll have everything there to get you started and get you back on your feet. They can determine if it's your hips, lower back or what that's probably pulling something out of whack. Your chiro should really be able to tell you what it is but if they haven't, find a PT. I'm not kidding. This is your back. Not some little muscular deviation in the shoulder that you can work around or do something else until it heals. This is your freaking back where all kinds of things can go wrong. If you don't take steps now to treat it properly, it will come back to bite you in the ass. I've seen it before and I'm hoping not to see it again with you.

I realize that I'm being harsh but sometimes I think you need it. Please, listen.

Sensei
04-19-2007, 12:27 PM
You have to see somebody that can tell you what the issues are (because I'm positive it's more than one, knowing your history of stretching).

If you don't take steps now to treat it properly, it will come back to bite you in the ass.Just thought highlighting might not be a bad idea...

edit: ...and btw, it might not come back to bite you in the ass - it might bite you in the quad, the knee, the lower back, or even the ankle. A bad lower back can throw you off in so many ways it's not even funny.

JustinASU
04-19-2007, 01:43 PM
Will - your harshness has saved my ass plenty of times, so don't apologize for coming across that way. You and Isaac have alway been there to kick me into shape when I'm doing something stupid.

The plan at this point is to continue seeing the chiro for 1-2 more sessions, to see if he's worth a ****. I really don't care about his reputation unless he produces results for me, and fast. It's kinda funny - he says I'll be 100% in a matter of weeks, with his help. He says I can do some light lifting, just lay off the deads and squats. The GP said not to lift anything that weighs more than 10 lbs and that it still may eventually require surgery.

Aside from that I'll finish this course of prednisone - the worst drug evar and drop an ibuprofen when necessary.

If the chiro fails me, I'm going back to the GP on May 1st and I'll get a PT referral at that point. No bars on the back until the Chiro or PT can tell me what's up. I guess that really means no pressing either, since my bench involves a nasty arch and OHP compresses the spine.

Anyway, thanks to those of you who have given me solid advice.

brians34
04-19-2007, 01:49 PM
Did you have pain from your sciatic nerve too?

JustinASU
04-19-2007, 02:28 PM
That's really the only source of my pain so far as I can tell. I guess the damaged disc is still inflamed and pressing against the nerve.

brians34
04-19-2007, 02:58 PM
That sounds very familiar. Don't let that pain continue very long. I let mine go for about a year and it caused slight nerve damage. Just a heads up. Hopefully you'll jump back quick.

Sensei
04-19-2007, 04:10 PM
It's kinda funny - he says I'll be 100% in a matter of weeks, with his help.Hmmm.

JustinASU
04-19-2007, 04:17 PM
Hmmm.

My thoughts exactly...I have a feeling he thinks its a slight bulge as opposed to a herniation. I know he's a reputable guy, but, the fact remains that he doesn't have a traditional medical degree.

smalls
04-19-2007, 07:28 PM
Will - your harshness has saved my ass plenty of times, so don't apologize for coming across that way. You and Isaac have alway been there to kick me into shape when I'm doing something stupid.

The plan at this point is to continue seeing the chiro for 1-2 more sessions, to see if he's worth a ****. I really don't care about his reputation unless he produces results for me, and fast. It's kinda funny - he says I'll be 100% in a matter of weeks, with his help. He says I can do some light lifting, just lay off the deads and squats.

Anyway, thanks to those of you who have given me solid advice.

Justin go research as much as you can about the intervertral disks in general. Then research what a bulged disk is and how these disks naturally degenerate anyway, not to mention when you severely damage them. This will show you how insane it sounds to hear your chiro telling you you will be 100% in weeks. First of all he would have to know how severe the herniation is to truly assess the injury, which isnt possible without the MRI. Maybe he doesnt understand the intensity with which you lift. You will get better if things are done right, but 100% in weeks is beyond jumping the gun. This is something to be taken slowly and seriously so that you CAN get back to 100%
IMO.

LouPac
04-20-2007, 02:30 AM
Justin, I had a herniated disk in my L5 that really limited my mobility for almost a year. The orthopedist I went to wanted to prescribe drug treatments and epidoral shots for me but I decided to see a chiropractor. I went to a chiropractor for almost a year, and while I felt better, I was still in a lot of pain. There were days I could not get out of bed, and on the really good days my wife had to put my socks on for me and tie my shoes because I couldn't bend over. Then my chiropractor got this machine in: http://www.painreliefcenters.net/drx9000.htm and after 6 weeks of treatment on it I felt unbelievably better. It pretty much healed me. I have back pain from time to time when I paly basketball, but it doesn't come close to what I used to feel. I recommend trying to find a place that has this machine, it truly did wanders for me.

Isaac Wilkins
04-20-2007, 05:23 AM
\It's kinda funny - he says I'll be 100% in a matter of weeks, with his help. He says I can do some light lifting, just lay off the deads and squats. The GP said not to lift anything that weighs more than 10 lbs and that it still may eventually require surgery.



Just like Sensei pointed out, that sketches me out, too. While I have no doubt that you can be improved in a few weeks, if the injury is as you've indicated, you will not be 100%. Quite frankly, you may not be 100% ever again. That's not to say you'll never get stronger and improve, but you'll probably always have to be "aware" of your back. Wilma knows how many training sessions I've had to cut short because my back started to spasm.

I wouldn't be ****ing with any lifting for a little while. You're past the acute stage, but not by much.

Keep putting in the good work. As Vin D said, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

JoeG
04-20-2007, 06:11 AM
Joe - any healing/rehab tips you used to great success aside from what's been mentioned?

Yeah, I'm sorry I didn't mention it before.

Ab work really seemed to help. Now its a bit early for any ab work like sit ups, crunches etc I would imagine but the low impact stuff like laying on your back with your arms straight over your head. Then lift your arms and leg just slightly off the ground and hold it as long as you can without pain.

You can change that up and elevate one arm and then the other leg.

Its not much in the way of exercise but it really did seem to help early.

ali23
04-23-2007, 02:04 AM
Hey.. i'm 16.. i herniated my l4-l5 disc a year and a few days ago myself..
here are a few tips..

don't get back to weight training too quickly!! I made that mistake myself and went back to training after a few weeks and made everything worse than before..

this is what I recommend:
-Heat the area 3-4x a day(it's been too many days to continue icing)
-Continue resting.. do not start exercising!!
-Get on good medication
-Purchase an inversion table or a traction belt that you can wear throughout the day

After another week I would say begin the pelvic tilt.. progress onto other exercises later..

It took me about 6 months until I started doing bodyweight and resistance band exercises.. It's been about 3 or so months that I'm weight training again.. and i'm relatively pain free in the lumbar region.. But i'm not barbell rowing, barbell squatting or deadlifting.. just to risky at the moment.. And not to give your hopes up.. but those exercises are going to be out of the question for you for atleast a year..

I haven't done much core training.. I recommend you do some reasearch on that.. and if you find a good set of core exercises please sen them to me too ;)

(AVOID HYPERS, REVERSE HYPERS, GHR'S ETC.. PROVEN TO HERNIATE THE DISC EVEN FURTHER...)

WillKuenzel
04-23-2007, 05:51 AM
(AVOID HYPERS, REVERSE HYPERS, GHR'S ETC.. PROVEN TO HERNIATE THE DISC EVEN FURTHER...)

I'd like to see the proof for this. Hypers and GHR's maybe. Reverse hypers, I'm not that sure about. I've seen more positive proof for doing reverse hypers to help than not.

smalls
04-28-2007, 01:47 AM
I'd like to see the proof for this. Hypers and GHR's maybe. Reverse hypers, I'm not that sure about. I've seen more positive proof for doing reverse hypers to help than not.

Flexing the spine will cause the anterior surfaces of the vertebrae to articulate and the posterior surfaces to seperate which will compress the front of of the disk, most likely pushing the bulge further back. Flexion/extension tests are pretty basic protocol in diagnosing the difference between bulging disk probelms vs. narrowing of the foramen causing nerve impingement ect. That's where that advice comes from, but who knows how he will actually react to the movements and what will make HIM feel better worse etc.

Discounting certain exercises completely in any individual that you havent seen personally is jumping the gun. We still dont know the extent of the injury, and just because the anatomy makes sense doesnt mean that's how an issue will always present. He could be fine with all the above movements, and strengthening the erector spinae is obviously something that needs to be addressed. Just after he is no longer in the subacute phase. That's why advice from 1000 miles away should be taken with a grain of salt.

Ya seen a professional yet Justin? How are things.

Miska
04-28-2007, 10:44 AM
My thoughts exactly...I have a feeling he thinks its a slight bulge as opposed to a herniation. I know he's a reputable guy, but, the fact remains that he doesn't have a traditional medical degree.

First let me start off by saying that your chiropractor will no a hell of alot more about your spine than just about any general practitioner or PT. They spend the better part of their 7 years of education focusing specifically on the spine.

Second it must be noted that a chiropractor is definately not the answer to all back and disc problems.

I am a chiropractor, so I can offer a vantage point from my perspective. First off if you have insurance, get an MRI. X-rays are useful, but they only show bone structure. The disc is a soft tissue and does not show up on an x-ray. You can see loss of disc height on an X-ray which can be an indication of disc injury, but the discs degenerate naturally over time, so the MRI is the only way to tell. Orthopedic and neurologic testing are good tools, but can often show false positives. Get an MRI, depending on the results should dictate you next move. If it is a major herniation/protrusion with foraminal encroachment or fragmentation, you likely will need to consult an Orthopedic spinal specialist or a Neurosurgeon.

Chiropractic care is efective for many cases of disc herniations and such, but it is a lengthy recovery (as is PT or any other treatment). If you do indeed have a buldge (quicker recovery usually) or herniation, it is unlikely you will be 100% in a couple weeks.

I strongly reccomend getting a MRI. I wouldn't lift at all until you get the results. Ice to keep the inflamation down and use heat to increase circulation. Walk often on flat even ground (moderation is the key).

Good luck and I hope this has been of some use.

Hazerboy
05-01-2007, 07:50 PM
If you're still feeling this "despair" during your recovery time you could take up grip training. Some exercises will be out of the question for awhile (thick bar lifts) but grippers and some wrist exercises, maybe even block weights are doable. Just make sure not to overtrain, which will be easy considering that may be your only lifting for awhile.

WillKuenzel
05-02-2007, 06:58 AM
Flexing the spine will cause the anterior surfaces of the vertebrae to articulate and the posterior surfaces to seperate which will compress the front of of the disk, most likely pushing the bulge further back. Flexion/extension tests are pretty basic protocol in diagnosing the difference between bulging disk probelms vs. narrowing of the foramen causing nerve impingement ect. That's where that advice comes from, but who knows how he will actually react to the movements and what will make HIM feel better worse etc.

Discounting certain exercises completely in any individual that you havent seen personally is jumping the gun. We still dont know the extent of the injury, and just because the anatomy makes sense doesnt mean that's how an issue will always present. He could be fine with all the above movements, and strengthening the erector spinae is obviously something that needs to be addressed. Just after he is no longer in the subacute phase. That's why advice from 1000 miles away should be taken with a grain of salt.

Ya seen a professional yet Justin? How are things.

Just wanted to say, good post and re-ask the last 2 questions.

JustinASU
05-02-2007, 09:54 PM
Hey - looks like I might need to post an update.

I completed my prednisone about 5 days ago, which I believe helped immensely. Since then I've been slowly getting back into things. The pain is quite minimal at this point, just a lot of stiffness and weakness. I have been doing a LOT of stretching and it really feels like my glutes/hams might be entirely too tight and causing the issues. I have also been doing a lot of band work. Band rows, band face pulls, band push-ups, etc. I'm getting back into benching, slowly but surely and I have added light weight Bulgarian split squats, since they have little effect on my back. GHRs also tend to make me feel MUCH better because they help stretch out the hams/glutes. Hell I hit a GHR PR (BW+45lbx20) the other day with no pain. The muscle atrophy has really started to kick in however...

With all that being said, I saw my primary care physician today and she gave me a referral to a sports PT. I will be seeing the PT for 2 sessions (the first being tomorrow) with the goal of easing back into the heavy back movements. The PT is also a CSCS, so it should be quite interesting.

I'll post again tomorrow and let you guys know how that goes. Thanks again for the advice and support.

EDIT: I'm still struggling with how to keep my lower back strong, but I guess we'll see what the PT says.

Sidior
05-02-2007, 10:07 PM
Hope the PT session goes well. Keep on truckin bro, there is light at the end of the tunnel somewhere.

WillKuenzel
05-03-2007, 07:26 AM
Glad to hear, Justin. Keep us updated as to what they say.

JustinASU
05-03-2007, 09:11 AM
Well the PT session this morning was surprising (in a good way) and enlightening.

The PT asked me about the pain and what I've been doing for it and so far I have been doing the right thing. I explained by routine and my goals. We tested the how weak the left side of my body is (from the sciata) with some hamstring curls, some kind of glute movement and some back extensions. Everything was doing well. He showed me some good stretches I could pursue to minimize the sciatic pain and stretch my lower back.

There were a couple of things I found troubling as well. He said that not only should I avoid movements like GMs and spread eagle situps for now, but I should be wary of ever doing them again. Apparently, the increased ROM and need for leverage on these motions can be quite dangerous to a herniated disc. He offered some alternatives for the time being. He also did not want me benching with an arch right now, and if I can, to bench with my legs up, so as to take out the back. This is not a permanent thing, but for the time being, that's what he recommended.

Finally, the big question....when can I return to deads, rows, squats...? He said I can start doing those immediately, as long as I focus on posture, form, and move up very gradually in weight. THAT was the best thing I've heard in weeks.

I'm still quite scared of full squats since that's how the injury occurred (hams to calves) and since I'll never have to full squat in competition, I think I'll lay off those now and possibly forever. I realize it wasn't necessarily the motion itself, but since the motion requires absolutely perfect form in order to prevent further injury, I just can't justify it right now because my flexibility isn't there.

The PT also told me I'm at about an 80% risk of re-injury. Essentially, my lifting has to turn into a science.

WillKuenzel
05-03-2007, 09:30 AM
Glad to hear it went so well. Keep doing what he tells you to do and it'll pay off. Don't get lazy and don't get crazy.

LouPac
05-03-2007, 07:42 PM
Yeah, when I herniated my disk I didn't do squats for close to a year.

Hazerboy
05-03-2007, 08:04 PM
is there any way to prevent an injury like this, or is it just "bad luck?"

LouPac
05-03-2007, 08:23 PM
is there any way to prevent an injury like this, or is it just "bad luck?"

Make your you always have proper form and you'r enot lifting more than you could handle. I always had a bad back from doing jumps while skiing, but the damage really came with doing too much on SLDL.

BIG NASTY BOY
05-03-2007, 09:39 PM
Damn this sux! Which disk is herniated and is it fully blown or just herniated? If it's blown out you'll need a lamenectomy. A chiropractor can help a herniated disk if anabolic steroids like test/deca and proper exercise is used. You should only do static contractions and stretches twice a week when rehabbing a herniated disk. Hyperextensions and such can make it a whole lot worse. Defintely steer clear of ab work and use an ice pack to reduce blood flow/swelling. Give me some more details and I'll tell you what i would do.

BIG NASTY BOY
05-03-2007, 09:51 PM
Well the PT session this morning was surprising (in a good way) and enlightening.

The PT asked me about the pain and what I've been doing for it and so far I have been doing the right thing. I explained by routine and my goals. We tested the how weak the left side of my body is (from the sciata) with some hamstring curls, some kind of glute movement and some back extensions. Everything was doing well. He showed me some good stretches I could pursue to minimize the sciatic pain and stretch my lower back.

There were a couple of things I found troubling as well. He said that not only should I avoid movements like GMs and spread eagle situps for now, but I should be wary of ever doing them again. Apparently, the increased ROM and need for leverage on these motions can be quite dangerous to a herniated disc. He offered some alternatives for the time being. He also did not want me benching with an arch right now, and if I can, to bench with my legs up, so as to take out the back. This is not a permanent thing, but for the time being, that's what he recommended.

Finally, the big question....when can I return to deads, rows, squats...? He said I can start doing those immediately, as long as I focus on posture, form, and move up very gradually in weight. THAT was the best thing I've heard in weeks.

I'm still quite scared of full squats since that's how the injury occurred (hams to calves) and since I'll never have to full squat in competition, I think I'll lay off those now and possibly forever. I realize it wasn't necessarily the motion itself, but since the motion requires absolutely perfect form in order to prevent further injury, I just can't justify it right now because my flexibility isn't there.

The PT also told me I'm at about an 80% risk of re-injury. Essentially, my lifting has to turn into a science.

I agree that your risk of re-injury is 80% at this juncture but I absolutely disgaree that you should return to al these exercises at this point.

1) Never do situps again.
2) Never do deep/heavy low rep/explosive squats again.
3) You are not ready for light dead-lifts if the pain is still running down the leg/hip or in the lower back
4) Steer clear of rows until this thing clear up.
5) You will more than likely get hurt again and become much worse-hence requiring surgery. Are you scared yet? Good I want you to be very afraid!!! Let this thing heal for at least another 6 weeks and only then might you be bale to start back VERY VERY slowly. You wont lose much. In the mean time do some easy walking on a flat surface if it causes no pain. I want you to understand I have a lot of expereince in this field and you cannot always believe what others telll you just because its something you want to hear. Some will hand out advise in a sincere manner yet cause you to become a cripple. I used to work for an orthopedic/nuerosurgeon/pain specialist clinic and I have seen a lot.

JustinASU
05-04-2007, 06:04 AM
Damn this sux! Which disk is herniated and is it fully blown or just herniated? If it's blown out you'll need a lamenectomy. A chiropractor can help a herniated disk if anabolic steroids like test/deca and proper exercise is used. You should only do static contractions and stretches twice a week when rehabbing a herniated disk. Hyperextensions and such can make it a whole lot worse. Defintely steer clear of ab work and use an ice pack to reduce blood flow/swelling. Give me some more details and I'll tell you what i would do.

Did you seriously just recommend AAS use to recover from an injury? Perhaps I misunderstood, but...

Isaac Wilkins
05-04-2007, 06:54 AM
Did you seriously just recommend AAS use to recover from an injury? Perhaps I misunderstood, but...

Legal/moral issues aside, the healing powers of testosterone and hgh are well known. There would be some connective tissue considerations with the test, but not as tough as some other compounds.

HOWEVER. Since I know you, and I know a fair amount about your situation: This isn't even an option for you. Don't get excited.

;)

JustinASU
05-04-2007, 05:41 PM
Legal/moral issues aside, the healing powers of testosterone and hgh are well known. There would be some connective tissue considerations with the test, but not as tough as some other compounds.

HOWEVER. Since I know you, and I know a fair amount about your situation: This isn't even an option for you. Don't get excited.

;)

Understandable, but using hormones simply to heal from an injury is an incredibly poor decision. Plus, yeah, you know my situation.

PickledDictator
03-30-2009, 03:24 AM
I want to chime in on this thread, although not sure what the OP situation is at this point.

I suffer from a herniation in the L5-S1 disc/nerve. It's brutal. There were days I could not put socks/shoes on, or even really get out of bed. Coughing or sneezing sent excruciating pain into my back.

I was first on percoset, but it really made me drowsy, but allowed me to get through 9 grueling months of upper accounting CGA courses from my bed, b/c I could not make it into school.

I had multiple relapses, where at first things seemed better, then whamo! Bed ridden again. I was on Gabapentin and morphine for 4 months and just weened myself off of both of them. Long term dosage is not advised!

My mother is a RMT and I have seen chiro's physio's spine and neck specialists, three gp's. I had a CT scan, and an MRI done. Was all set to have surgery two different times, only to have the specialist tell me that it's not a good option.

I am healing, but it's slow, too slow many days. The isolation from school, work and friends (not to mention my active lifestyle of mountain climbing, running and weightlifting just to name a few is horrific).

It's been 15 months now and I still have pain, but I am off the drugs and my disc is healing. However, it's important to note that I am not healed, likely will NEVER fully heal, and must make adjustments to my life. Yes I could fully heal, but the potential time line for something like that is 3-5 years. Even surgery is no guarantee for many sufferers.

That being said, time is the best healer of injuries of this nature (especially severe). A pinched never is a warning most don't take seriously, same with tight hammy's (which pull on the back). Anyone experiencing these things needs to be very cautious.

I wish there was a quick fix, but if your injury is as serious as it sounds (very similar to mine) then you need a reality check, a psyche check, and you need to ask yourself one very important question. What do you want out of life?

If you go to the gym, and load up dumbbells and do curls and crap, all your going to do is further compress your joints and continue the degeneration process. BAD MOVE!

You need to see a PT's who specializes in recovery of herniation because believe me, the right dude watching out for you is part of the battle. My mom is an RMT and I see a chiro as well, but I see the chiro to keep the "other" area's of my body in line so my weak spot doesn't have to compensate and over extend itself. RMT's work on all regions but my herniation as there is not much that can be released in that area without actually making it worse.

Not trying to scare you, just trying to reiterate some of the advice given here already, let you know about my situation (which is bad) and also let you know that you can get you life back.

Despite some pain, I want my life back too, so I am loading up my backpack for 3 1/2 months in Europe. Although I love to travel, I am doing this trip to prove to myself that despite my herniation, I can take control of my life again. I leave in 5 weeks time.

Rest up my friend, elevate those legs, stretch muscles that link to the back, but are not back muscles, try not to sit or stand in any one position for too long and whatever you do, stay away from ANY lifting whatsoever until you have been given medical clearance. I can't stress this last part enough.

I have a 10 month weimaraner puppy, who needs a 10k walk daily, so instead of the gym, I walk him, toss sticks and let HIM do all the running. It's not like life used to be, but at this point, it's all about doing things that inspire confidence and courage, in hopes of attempting progressively more and more strenuous activities.

Hope this helps and if you want to pm me for more info or carry on here, let me know.

Cmanuel
05-07-2010, 04:54 PM
just bumping this because i just found it using the search engine in. I am going through some lower back issues now and am using a lot of what is recomended in this thread with good results.


Curious if the OP still posts here and if so how is his back doing? would love to see a progress report.

Gugunir
05-15-2010, 02:41 PM
i ll second the bump. I have also dealt with lower back pain for most of my time lifting (six Years) and just recently in 09 it went out on me with a compressed nerve root in the L-5. Its been seven months since that happened and as of now I am still not 100%. My advice is find a good PT who has a background in S&C who understands your goals and wants to help you succeed. The hardest part of getting back from lower back injuries is the transition period from rehab to serous training. That for me was and is still the longest (still in it), getting functional took about a month but ever since then I have had small setbacks and flares from time to time. Always taking a few steps back and reassess what went wrong, and making adjustments. Let me reiterate get a PT you can talk to and trust and understands your goals, if not it will be very frustrating and potentially dangerous, which I sadly know from experience. Last but not least read McGill's work
he is the top in the field, help me a lot to understand how and what happened to me.