Can I train with a pinched nerve? Can I train with a pinched nerve?

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Thread: Can I train with a pinched nerve?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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    Default Can I train with a pinched nerve?

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    Hi guys,

    I've recently stumbled upon Rip's mentality of training. I had recently tweaked my back in the beginning of February and because I had seen many of Rip's videos decided to keep training despite the injury and my back went back to normal within a week and a half, the pain was tolerable since my lumbar stayed neutral for all my lifts. Now I have a pinched nerve (self diagnosed) and I'm wondering if the same thing applies? I can hardly look straight down without pain and the lifts that really hurt are the pressing stuff, such as the military press and the bench press. I decided to do a training session with this injury, but my press went down quite a bit as I could not lift my regular weight without a lot of pain. Because of this training session however, my injury got worse as I started feeling numbness in my left arm and thumb. Pulling stuff is fine, so I was thinking of continuing training and just doing squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and rows, and wait to do the pressing stuff once I heal completely. My question is, is this a stupid idea or should I stop training completely until I heal? I really don't want to stop my progression with the squats and deadlifts, but I also don't want to get any worse, but I don't know if squatting and deadlifing would make things worse either.

    Additional information that might not be needed: I'm 40, I've been training for the past 15 months doing mostly barbell and calisthenic exercises (got hurt doing calisthenic stuff, not barbell). I do a lot of stuff during my training sessions, this is because I thought it was necessary but I'm going to cut a lot of stuff out because I think I'm being overtrained and hence the injuries. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Hey sirlinx,

    If your getting numbness and tingling down your arm training the press/bench I would take a couple of days off to let things calm down and build back up slowly. For this type of injury, I would adjust the load down to the point where it is not aggravating the condition and then start a linear progression using 3 sets of 5 reps. Be conservative adding weight. The mindset you want to have is that nudging the pain is ok, but pushing through and ignoring it is not.

    I would also play with things like grip width on both bench and press, and how you're are finishing the press. Make sure you are shrugging and getting the bar as close to the ceiling as possible. If that aggravates the injury, try not shrugging and see what happens.

    After you make the load adjustments get some feedback on technique from the Technique forum. If squat and deadlift are not aggravating the condition, continue to progress them. I would not add in a bunch of new pulling exercises at the same time as you are starting rehab. Add one for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps and see what happens.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2020
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    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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    Thanks for the feedback Nick,

    I've taken time off of the gym and started doing some rehab exercises I found online, I feel like it's getting better. I'm thinking of going back to the gym in a couple of days and will try to keep your tips in mind. Thanks again for taking the time to reply!

  4. #4
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    You're welcome! Let us know how your rehab goes.

  5. #5
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    For sure. By the way, do you know how I can set my account to receive replies through email? For some reason I'm not receiving any replies and I have to log on to the forum to see if there are any... I've tried going to my profile to see if there were any options but I couldn't find any.

  6. #6
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    Sorry sirlinx but I have no idea how to do that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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    Nevermind Nick, I think I've figured it out by subscribing to this thread, I'm new here so still figuring out how the forum works.

  8. #8
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    Ok great!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2020
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    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
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    New question. So I'm finally starting to few good, the numbness in my left arm is still there but it's 90% gone, I can only feel it if I drag the top part of my arm against my head. The major pain that I had that was located where the triceps meets the biceps in the front of the arm is totally gone, this was the only excruciating pain I felt. But I still feel pain when I wake up in my upper arm/left shoulder/left side of neck (this pain is very manageable and goes away as the day progresses). I ditched all the rehab stretching I found online and started doing some pull ups and dips at home as I imagine those won't put any pressure on my spine (since I presume my pinched nerve is not 100% healed). Before my injury, I was doing 5x5 pull ups with 20kg added, now when I try to do a pull up with no weight at all I feel my right arm doing most of the work, it's almost an archer pull up. I guess I lost a lot of strength in my left arm? dips seems normal though. Should I keep doing regular pull ups to see if I gain my strength back in my left arm or should I do some work with my left arm only to try to get it in balance with my right arm? I have a TRX as well, I can do some inverted rows on the TRX using only my left arm, but not sure if it's better to continue to use both arms at the same time. Just want to get my strength back as soon as possible.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    I'm glad things are on the right track and your starting to feel better! When you do pull-ups make sure you are pulling yourself up symmetrically. Film yourself from the back to see if the shift is visible and I would stop the set before the shift becomes excessive. It is ok if one arm feels like it working harder but if as you fatigue you start to see a bigger and bigger shift I would shut things down before that happens.

    I think the unilateral TRX rows are a fine accessory/addition, especially if you exercise options have become limited of late with the virus, but I would do them with both arms. Do the weaker arm first and then do the same number of reps on the stronger side. It is important to note that this is just an accessory and that if you want to fix the shift in the pull up/chin up you need to do that within the context of that exercises motor pattern. This idea applies to all exercises where someone is experiencing a shift. You can not do something else and then return later and the shift is gone. It must be fixed during the exercise that is causing a shift if it is to be fixed at all.

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