T Nation

Back Pain - I NEED HELP

I just can’t take this anymore. For years now i have been working around my back pain. My L5 and S1 discs are bulging and i have a degenerative back at the age of fuckin 20. I am a serious bodybuilder, For years now i havnt done squats, deads, bentover rows, anything to further worsen my condition. I have been through 3 different chiropractors and am currently doing accupuncture. Nothing helps! I stretch and stretch and rest as much as i can, and havn’t gotten anywhere. For those who have been through similar shit, please please help! I want to train to get to Nationals next year, yet its gotten to the point where i cant even train legs except for some puny extensions and curls. Please for those who have back problems similar to mine, i need your advice, i need help. Thank you for your support.

Stop training.

damn i actually used to think this was a good forum

It is a good forum buddy, but like most things in life, you have to heed the warning “may contain traces of peanuts” like the fool above.

Sorry I can’t give you the positive advice that you’re looking for. I’d just say that no contest is worth sacrificing your back or general health for. I’m sure there’s a lot you can still do but maybe you’ll have to lower your expectations to meet your injuries.

If you make your back worse - you’ll having nothing. Listen to your body.

[quote]powrhouse86 wrote:
I just can’t take this anymore. For years now i have been working around my back pain. My L5 and S1 discs are bulging and i have a degenerative back at the age of fuckin 20. I am a serious bodybuilder, For years now i havnt done squats, deads, bentover rows, anything to further worsen my condition. I have been through 3 different chiropractors and am currently doing accupuncture. Nothing helps! I stretch and stretch and rest as much as i can, and havn’t gotten anywhere. For those who have been through similar shit, please please help! I want to train to get to Nationals next year, yet its gotten to the point where i cant even train legs except for some puny extensions and curls. Please for those who have back problems similar to mine, i need your advice, i need help. Thank you for your support.[/quote]

3 chiropractors and an accupuncturerer? How about a DOCTOR and PHYSICAL THERAPY.

Find is a good physical therapist that has more knowledge then he left school with. You’ll need it.

Oh, and stop making it worse man, you gotta ease down the training.

Myabe taking some time off and seeing a physical therapist is in order.

you actualy should workout your back. do deadlifts, squats and bentover rows to strengthen your back. just don’t use too heavy weights at the beginning. it was a misstake that you avoided training your back, because that’s probably why you have backpains in the first place.
since i started working my back with deadlifts and squads my backpain disapeared. you could also take some swimming leassons to strengthen your back as a cardio workout. of course you should see a doctor before you do all that.

I don’t have your problem, and I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I can offer you some advice that will move you forward from where you are now.

In the first place, you’re only 20 years old and you have a lot of life ahead of you. You have a tough decision to make and you need to make it immediately: (1) do you want to keep getting to the Nationals as your number one priority or do you (2)want to escape a lifetime of (gradually increasing) back pain? I can’t help you get to the Nationals; let’s be clear on that. But I can help you if you’re ready to change your priority to #2.

First step is to stop all exercises that make the pain worse. Period. For the forseeable future.

Step two. Stop stretching your back!!! You may get momentary relief, but you’re almost certainly just making the problem worse by increasing flexibility (i.e., destability) in the lumbar spine. Instead do the following.

Everyday single day, practice side bridge twice on both sides for 20 seconds a set. Increase by 10 seconds every week until you get to a full minute. This will strength your abdominals enormously (taking pressure off the back) and greatly increase the stability of your (lower) back muscles. Do it!

Increase the flexibility of your hips, posas, and gluteals. Do the three following stretches. I used to be a serious yoga student (occasionally teacher) so I don’t know the common names for these poses; I’ll give you web addresses where you can see pictures for two of them.

First: anhaneyasana (scroll down to the picture of Justine Brewer doing “Half Lunge Postion.” If that is too intense, try it with your back knee on the floor and a pillow under it).
http://www.yogadancer.com/Pages/Anjaneyasana.shtml

Second: also practice “baddha konasana” http://yogadancer.com/Pages/BaddhaKonasana.shtml

Scroll down to the picture of “Debra Thompson.” Put a big pillow under your ass and practice, not getting your knees to lower, but sitting up as straight as possible and progressively relaxing the tension in your hips. Breath deeply and slowly; don’t screw up your face in pain; turn down the lights and put on some relaxing music and the pose will be easier, I promise. Hold the pose twice a day (morning and night) for at least 60 seconds each time-- five minutes would be better. (Try propping your back against a wall if the pain gets too bad).

There’s one last. I don’t have a picture for it, so I’ll do my best to describe it:

Lie on your back. Prop your knees up with the heels as close to the butt as you can comfortably get them. Like a man sitting in a chair, prop one ankle on the other thigh. Grab the shin of the propped up leg with both hands (the foot of the propped up leg will leave the floor) reaching one hand through the open space between your legs. Pull the shin down toward your chest until you feel a strong stretch in your butt.

Try my suggestions for seven full days. If the pain is better you’ll know you’re on the right track. PM me then, and I’ll offer more suggestions.

Good luck on solving your problem.

I am no expert but I can tell you what worked for me. From what my doctor told me I had a bulging disc that was pushing on my sciatic nerve and it was causing inflammation and severe pain. The doctor gave me this sheet with a bunch of stretches and stuff on it and he prescribed an anti-inflammatory.

The pills worked for a little while to relieve the pain and the advice on the sheet was good. It said to have good posture when sitting, not sleep on your stomach, to lightly stretch upon waking and before bed.

Also I stopped any exercise that caused me pain, this was hard for me to do because that meant not doing sqats and DL. But eventually after I recovered I was able to slowly ease back into them.

The best thing I did to help my back to strengthen my abdominals. I completely agree with Redbones27. After doing DLs and squats my lower back was very stong but my abs and hip flexors were very weak, this muscular imbalance was one of the biggest reasons for my back pain.

Once I started to strengthen my abs and fix the muscle imbalance the pain started going away. Also remember that the back is a fickle beast and to be very, very, very patient with it.

Thanks for the advice and the stretches guys. I did want to include some yoga i just wasnt sure of the proper positions that would help and not hurt. As for the ab training, what my chiropractor has found is that my rectus abdominus is too strong and overtakes my other stabilizing muscles. So i am starting to practice training my transverse abdominus, which has been helping. Right now im planning on doing just light training, once maybe twice a week. Anymore advice would be most helpful.

I had 2 epidurals before I got the surgery. That was the best decision of my life. The surgury helped a lot, and I was back to near-normal in about a month.

If you have a protruding disc @ L5/S1, you need to do a lot of things. Did you have an MRI that confirmed it is a disc, or was it confirmed via non-radiographic imaging? There are many things that can mimic signs and pain at that back level aand refer pain in that area. You could have a slight functional scoliosis of the L-spine thatcompresses the IV formaen thta will cause pain in your back and down the leg. You could also have an accentuated anterior pelvic tilt which could lead to facet issues that can also cause pain in that spot, as well as down the leg. You could, in fact, have a disc protrusion at that level which could cause pain and symptoms of pain, numbness or weakness in muscles all the way down the foot. Unfortunately you didn’t state specifics, so specifics towards your condition can’t be given.

I can tell you this, though. If you have been to 3 chiropractors and nothing has changed, common sense dictates a paradigm shift towards something else. I would personally recommend a physical therapist skilled in McKenzie protocol (level D if possible). IF this pain is coming from some postural abnormality brought on by lifting weights and exacerbated via an injury, it could be relatively easy to fix by looking at the whole of your body, rather than simply “cracking your back 3x a week for 25 sessions at the low, low price of $325” as some DCs are wont to do.

in response to max, ive had MRI’s and xrays done in the past to confirm that the discs are buldging. One mri was done at the age of 16, and another done last winter. The good news is that the discs havnt further degenerated from the first mri to now. So at least it hasnt gotten any worse. As for physical therapy, id be willing to do it if i could find someone who i had enough confidence in. I live in northern va, metropolitin area, if anyone knows of a good specialist.