L5 S1 Significant Protrusion.
Hi Coach. My very first post here is a question that gets asked here over and over so I know I'm going to be popular here.
I hurt my back 2 months ago (about 4 weeks into starting strength) while pressing. Symptoms were severe lower back pain, right leg pain and my severe shifting to the right hand side. I've had similar injuries over the past 8-9 years which were brought on by golfing, sitting in the same position all day and various other strenuous activities.
My GP sent me for an MRI scan. The results showed that I have a large central and right sided disc protrusion at L5 S1. After a few weeks the pain has gone but my back is still very slightly shifted (so slight that itís hard to see unless I examine closely in the mirror) to the right hand side. My GP told me to never lift weight again so he's not much help. I want get going with starting strength again but I'm not sure if I should wait until my back/body has completely straightened out and the stiffness in the morning has gone?
I know you don't like to make diagnoses over the internet but Physios or Chiroprators that know anything about strength training are in short supply in Ireland. I'd appreciate any advice you could give me on how to fully recover and manage this injury.
Never lift weight again huh? Really?
I have an L5 S1 herniation and tonight I'm going to squat 260lbsx5x3 and press 140lbsx5x3. You can lift but you need to lift with good form, increase the weight in small increments and take care of your back. This means eating correctly, warming up properly, stretching and perhaps going to a chiro for some treatment. You also need to wear a belt when you squat/press/deadlift. Your lifting career is not over and you just might start to feel better and stronger if you start deadlifting correctly.
Now I am not saying that you will not have pain. Your back most assuredly willl act up when you are under the bar (it acts up on my pretty much every workout) but I am still able to get through my training and I am still an able, functional, useful human being.
I've had a l5 s1 herniation w/ sciatica, and once recovered was able to get back to the weights and get further than I had previously. I think it makes sense generally to wait until sciatica isn't present anymore to lift, and to do more early to 'take it easy' and let yourself heal. But once the pain is gone I don't think you have to resign to 'never lift again' at all...
In your case, if you're pretty stiff in the morning well then I certainly wouldn't workout in the morning if I was you. If any of the sciatica is still there, personally if it were me I'd just wait another few weeks until I felt really 'normal'. Once you have a baseline of 'no pain', then once you start easing back into things you can easily tell if what you're doing is helping or hurting.
Just keep in mind that if poor form helped bring on your herniated disc, then it will stir it right back up again and maybe worse if you don't get it figured out.
Last edited by Roy; 05-18-2011 at 11:22 AM.
For the morning stiffness, I've found that a pillow under the knees (if you sleep on your back) or between your legs (if you sleep on your side) helps a lot.
I'm at a desk all day, so when I have a pain/tightness/sciatica flare up from deadlifting or squatting (usually due to poor form or lack of warm up), good sitting posture helps minimize the down time.
JB1981- Was thinking along the same lines as yourself. I'll make sure my form is good, take care of my back and progress carefully. Just bought a powerlifting belt, should arrive in a week or so.
Roy- The pain has cleared up now so I'm going to start the program again as soon as my belt arrives. You are dead on about the form. It was poor form along with progressing too fast with the press that caused the injury this time. I'm goind to spend the next week reading SS from start to finish and watch the videos again to try to iron out any form issues I have.
Couch - Cheers, I'm going to try that with pillow tonight.
I'm 31 and I only started strength training at the begining of the year. Even though I'm still a weakling, it has had made a very positve impact on my life. Listening to BS advice from Doctors and Physios about lifting is unsettling even though I understand it's pretty much the norm from the threads I've read here.
I know that at the end of the day I am the only one responsible for my health/back. Still getting advice from people that are experienced in strength traning and managing this kind of injury is invaluable. Thanks guys.
Going to go light at the gym tonight. Back has started to get pretty bad. I went to the chiro last night and feel better but I think that my back just starts to break down after about 5 weeks straight of squatting. I am not happy about it but I know that if I lay off it will heal faster and I can get right back to squatting where I was. I have been making good progress, about 75lb increase in squat and 105lbs in deadlift. Will do light weight w/ squat tonight, bench heavy and do some isometric back strengthening exercises. The thing about this disc injury is that I can usually tell when the pain can be worked thru and when I need to lay off. Tonight I will lay off. Hopefully by Saturday I will feel good enough to do a PR w/ the squat.
You need a chiropractor to pop you back into place, and then you need several sessions of brutal deep-tissue massage. After that, start foam rolling yourself every day. I use a 3" PVC pipe as a foam roller before every workout, and my back and hips feel much better since I started.
Here, this is a useful reference. http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-...dp/1572243759/
Last edited by Mark Edward; 05-19-2011 at 12:00 PM.
My Father in law has a herniated disc as well, suffers much much worse than I do when it gives him trouble (takes him hours to get out of bed, can't tie his shoelaces etc.) He goes to a local Bonesetter and advised me to see him also. Says that the Bonesetter "realligns" the spine with a number of adjustments. He had been to practically every Chrio, quack and osteopath before him and the results were always very temporary.
His back rarely gives him trouble now but it flares up now and again. The Bonesetter has a very good reputation and his clients swear by him. I thought this realligning business was a load of bs tbh. Anyone have an opinion on Bonesetters? Should I stay well away for him. Could he actually do more damage to my back?
If your sciatica is gone then I'd say you're well on your way to healing anyway and you don't need to spend any time/money seeing a Chiro or anyone else.
Originally Posted by ryujon