T Nation

Back Issues

have DDD in my back and a ruptued L5-S1 disc. i want to be able to fully imbrace the total body workout but my back limits the weight i can do on squats, deadlifts, cleans, jerks, and other heavy wieght bearing exercises.

i am looking for advice on exercises or adaptions i can make to get the most out of my training while mataining the health of my back and hopefully strengthening it to prevent or limit futher degeneration of my disc’s

[quote]awstephens1 wrote:
have DDD in my back and a ruptued L5-S1 disc. i want to be able to fully imbrace the total body workout but my back limits the weight i can do on squats, deadlifts, cleans, jerks, and other heavy wieght bearing exercises.

i am looking for advice on exercises or adaptions i can make to get the most out of my training while mataining the health of my back and hopefully strengthening it to prevent or limit futher degeneration of my disc’s [/quote]

You should ask a doctor or a physical therapist about what you can do and to what extend, its impossible to give a medical analysis on a forum.

Generally, you should be somewhat careful with movements that involve flexion of the upper body, e.g. front squats and lunges should be fine.

I would avoid olympic lifting unless your told that there won’t be a problem.

Consult a doctor/therapist, preferably one who specializes in sports injuries and the like.

I have DDD, roto-scoliosis, and a sub-herniation in L4. I am able to lift weights, and am currently following Rippetoe’s Starting Strength. Your mileage may vary, depending on the ruptured disc, so please consult a physician before attempting any kind of lifting, so you know what your limitations are.

my limitations are what i set for myself. obviously my doctors have told me to stay away from exercises that compress the spine. i stil do front squats, romainian deadlifts and light back squats. i know olympic lifts are pretty much out of the question but was wondering if there are other variations ie one leg versions or maybe even excercises with the kettle ball that might still be beneficial but not as taxing on my back.

Ruptured discs can heal in like 1-2 months if its not a major rupture and you treat your back well. Your body absorbs the stuff that ruptured out and slowly repairs it.

The doctor prolly has some good back exercises you can do too so just do those implace of heavy squats for a while.

I think dumbell lunges or one legged squats give u a similar work out with far less back strain too.

The point of squats is to work out the legs not the back, anyway.

i feel that my main problem is inflammation and obvious arthritis from the ddd. i sufferd nerve damage down the l5 s1 nerve into my foot, though not severe but does cause tightness and muscle spasms. i have been doing isolated exercises to limit the compressing on the body. i guess my answer is to accept my injury and train around it and be grateful im not in a wheelchair

I’ve had major back issues with disks in my lower lumbar for years. I still am not able to do regular squats…but as many others have mentioned front squats and lunges are still very doable and they can have some great results. Sorry I don’t have anymore advice for you.

I, too, have an L5 disc issue. I don’t have a herniation but disc bulge that’s limited the weight I am able to use on squats, deads, and bent-over BB rows.

I’m not sure if the treatment would be the same, but I see a chiropractor who specializes in flexion-distraction for low-back disc issues and had amazing results with only 3 treatments so far. He has also suggested that I supplement front squats for back squats and sumo deads for regular deads, along with some core stability exercises.

Since doing this (3 weeks), my back feels a lot more stable and stronger. So if you have recurring low-back pain from your disc issues I highly recommend seeking out this treatment and giving the exercises a go.