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Thread: Herniated Discs and Starting Strength

  1. #1
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    Default Herniated Discs and Starting Strength

    Hi Coach,

    First, thanks for all the great information and advice, own all your books and the DVD. If you publish ebook formats, I'll buy them again, that is how valuable the content is.

    Now I search and read the forum, to avoid repeating a question you have answer, and that brought me at the doors of a chiropractor, but now that I have a clear idea of what happened, I would appreciate your opinion.

    Ill try to be brief but detailed, thanks for the time; anyway, hurt my back on deadlift, two years ago due to bad form; did not go to chiropractor (did not know better, also no MRI was taken - long story, but I have screws in my body) the pain management doc injected epidural in my lower back in two separate sessions and that let me work again, which in effect strengthen my lumbar again. I became stronger than before following SS.

    Two years later...

    Now with correct form, but an incorrect jump in weight, I know foolish of me (scheduled to 1x5 deadlift at 360 lbs but left my notes, so I went with 370 instead). Thus, i reinjured while deadlifting, a worst injury this time around. We did an MRI this time, since I needed to know the cause of the problem...they found:

    "Moderate-large central/left central disk protrusion at L4-L5 contacts and displaces the left descending L5 nerve root, and causes mild-moderate spinal canal stenosis and mild left foraminal stenosis.

    Small-moderate central disk protrusion at L5-S1 without nerve root contact, central or foraminal stenosis."

    The pain management MD gave me a new epidural, was looking to avoid this, but after two months at the chiropractor, progress stagnated. Now the pain management doctor wants me to stop lifting period, forever. While the chiropractor first wanted me to never squat/deadlift again and after I balked asked me to do no more than let's say 75% of my 5MR.

    So my questions are the following, training wise, can i start SS again? Should I add modifications to it? And lastly should I see a Neurologist that may want to do surgery? Lastly do you figure Anabolic Steroids, if I can continue training, can help my back heal more efficiently, so as to better avoid this occurring again (maybe the doctor can prescribed them, not sure)?

    Thank you and excuse the length.

    ~ Cambero
    Last edited by Cambero; 08-12-2011 at 03:06 PM. Reason: EDIT: 3x5 deadlift is really 1x5

  2. #2

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    Anabolic steroids for a herniated disc? You think an MD will prescribe this?

  3. #3
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    I had the same injury, also from getting out of position on a deadlift. My injury occurred on May 2nd of this year. The doctor gave me the same gloom and doom. She said MAYBE after 8-9 months I'd be ready to start doing some lifting again. After consulting with Rip, I immediately started decompressing my spine by hanging from two weightlifting belts on a pullup bar several times a day. Two weeks after my injury, he had me start deadlifting 95lbs for 3 sets of 20. It really sucked that it was actually difficult to do! It took about a month before I could squat without pretty severe sciatica. Now, just over 3 months later I am at 95% of my previous deadlift, and 90% of my previous squat. My press and bench have gone way up as well. I will say that now that I am approaching the weights I could handle before, it is a bit of a mental game. I'm keeping the jumps pretty small, but overall I'm feeling really good. So based on my experience, yes you can start a linear progression again immediately.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanWhittemore View Post
    I had the same injury, also from getting out of position on a deadlift. My injury occurred on May 2nd of this year. The doctor gave me the same gloom and doom. She said MAYBE after 8-9 months I'd be ready to start doing some lifting again. After consulting with Rip, I immediately started decompressing my spine by hanging from two weightlifting belts on a pullup bar several times a day. Two weeks after my injury, he had me start deadlifting 95lbs for 3 sets of 20. It really sucked that it was actually difficult to do! It took about a month before I could squat without pretty severe sciatica. Now, just over 3 months later I am at 95% of my previous deadlift, and 90% of my previous squat. My press and bench have gone way up as well. I will say that now that I am approaching the weights I could handle before, it is a bit of a mental game. I'm keeping the jumps pretty small, but overall I'm feeling really good. So based on my experience, yes you can start a linear progression again immediately.

    Ryan,

    I have the same injury. How many days a week did he have you do 95lbs deadlifts at 3 sets of 20? That is a ton of volume. Can you also tell me how you hung from the weightlifting belts. Did you hang from your elbows?

  5. #5
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    I put the belts up into my armpits and then held onto the bar. I tried to relax and blow out all of my air. I would hang for 15-30 seconds probably. I'd do that between each deadlift set, and maybe a couple of additional times per day. Occasionally, my lumbar vertebrae would 'crack' and scare the hell out of me, but it provided great relief from the sciatica. As for deadlifts, I did them every day at first. It wasn't too long before I started raising the weight and reducing the volume. I'd have to check my log, but once I got over 135 I think I went down to 10 reps, and soon after that went down to 5 reps in a normal linear progression. The idea with the high volume initially was that since I couldn't load the injury with heavy weight, I needed to load it with high volume. Like I said before, the squat took a lot longer. I tried to squat just a bar at two weeks as well, but the sciatic pain was pretty bad, and very intense the next day. It took a few weeks of decompression and deadlifts before I was ready to do much else. I was very happy with the results. I hope it works well for you.

  6. #6
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    Great posts, Ryan.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanWhittemore View Post
    I put the belts up into my armpits and then held onto the bar. I tried to relax and blow out all of my air. I would hang for 15-30 seconds probably. I'd do that between each deadlift set, and maybe a couple of additional times per day. Occasionally, my lumbar vertebrae would 'crack' and scare the hell out of me, but it provided great relief from the sciatica. As for deadlifts, I did them every day at first. It wasn't too long before I started raising the weight and reducing the volume. I'd have to check my log, but once I got over 135 I think I went down to 10 reps, and soon after that went down to 5 reps in a normal linear progression. The idea with the high volume initially was that since I couldn't load the injury with heavy weight, I needed to load it with high volume. Like I said before, the squat took a lot longer. I tried to squat just a bar at two weeks as well, but the sciatic pain was pretty bad, and very intense the next day. It took a few weeks of decompression and deadlifts before I was ready to do much else. I was very happy with the results. I hope it works well for you.
    Very interesting. I am going to buy some shitty weightlifting belts from Modells and use them for this purpose. I did deadlifts today 90lbx6x3. How the hell did you do twenties? I guess I am incredibly out of shape but you wouldn't think so by looking at me. I find it very hard to stay in proper deadlift position for a long time. My hamstrings tire out fast and so does my low back.

  8. #8
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    Yeah I felt pretty out of shape the first time I did it too, and it had only been two weeks off. I didn't rush them, and took my time to set up properly each time (since that was most likely the cause of my injury in the first place). I also took plenty of time in between sets doing the decompressions and just walking around trying to stay loose.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB1981 View Post
    Anabolic steroids for a herniated disc? You think an MD will prescribe this?


    No idea, I was wondering the same, but my chiropractor agrees that stronger muscles will help shorten the recovery and avoid it from reoccurring. I am not looking to get jacked up on steroids, I just want a healthy back and to be able to squat/deadlift properly, I imagine that would mean a lower dosage than what others use to become muscle bound.
    Last edited by Cambero; 08-12-2011 at 03:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanWhittemore View Post
    I put the belts up into my armpits and then held onto the bar. I tried to relax and blow out all of my air. I would hang for 15-30 seconds probably. I'd do that between each deadlift set, and maybe a couple of additional times per day. Occasionally, my lumbar vertebrae would 'crack' and scare the hell out of me, but it provided great relief from the sciatica. As for deadlifts, I did them every day at first. It wasn't too long before I started raising the weight and reducing the volume. I'd have to check my log, but once I got over 135 I think I went down to 10 reps, and soon after that went down to 5 reps in a normal linear progression. The idea with the high volume initially was that since I couldn't load the injury with heavy weight, I needed to load it with high volume. Like I said before, the squat took a lot longer. I tried to squat just a bar at two weeks as well, but the sciatic pain was pretty bad, and very intense the next day. It took a few weeks of decompression and deadlifts before I was ready to do much else. I was very happy with the results. I hope it works well for you.
    Thanks for the info Ryan,

    With what weight did you start the high volume deadlift and what increments did you use? Figure I could use some of those platform steps in the gym to bring up the deadlift to the correct height if need be. I tried this, but the squat was painful and it gave me 2nd thouhts; now that I remember the deadlift high volume were tough, but helped alleviate the pain. Of course the chiropractor asked that I stopped it, so I did...but I really miss the gym, please let me know those increments or did you just go by how you felt...?

    I was following SS when I injured myself, almost reaching the point to move into an intermmidiate phase, on that note what about press, bench and power cleans did you cease those?


    Again thanks.
    Last edited by Cambero; 08-12-2011 at 04:27 PM.

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