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Back Rehab Questions


I injured my lower back on Sunday while doing bent over rows. I felt a spasm in my back and then I was hunched over unable to walk due to the pain. I went to a chiropractor, he said it was a muscle strain and that my 4th disc had shifted a little to the left and rear. It's been 5 days and I am up and walking again after treatment, albeit still sore. This is my first back injury.

For those of you who have gone through something similar to this, how long did it take you to get back to where you were prior to your injury? I am doing some light stretching now, and although I like the doctor I am seeing, he seems a little clueless when I ask him specific workout questions. I was doing MMA 3 times a week and lifting 3 times a week prior to my injury. I realize that I am not going to hop back in to my old routine right away, but I would like a better time table as to when I can resume my previous activities. Do you think I should seek the aid of a therapist? I did some research here and in one link Dr. Ryan mentioned a book "ultimate back fitness and performance" unfortunately this book appears to be out of print. Any other resources that anyone could recommend to me would be most appreciated. Thanks.


Took me a whole year from my herniation. Therapy helped a little but the 45 degree back extension, stretching and strengthening are the way to go.

Google Dr. stuart mcgill and "low back disorders" and the book you were referring to. Make sure his name is in the google with the name of the book


Hard to give you a timeline without knowing the severity of the injury. If it is disc related, it could take some time to heal.

Usually you will be able to perform some exercises much sooner than others. Exercises like bent-over rows, squats, deadlifts and even shrugs, calf raises w/ the weight on your shoulders, ab crunches and shoulder press all create high spinal loading and could increase your pain. Since your spine was in a flexed position at the time of injury, exercises that put you in flexion would probably irritate your injury. However, without examining you I don't know what movements either increase or decrease your pain.

Did the doc give you any kind of stretches or movements to work on? Also, right now it is more important that the doc has a good grasp on your injury and knows how to treat you and get you started on a rehab program than it is on how much he knows about all your training. However, as you heal and progress from some basic exercises, it will be important for him to know what your athletic goals are. If he doesn't know the exercises either bring pictures or demonstrate the movements so he can see what kind of spinal movement patterns need to be trained in order for you to avoid re-injury.

Also, the book is not out of print, you can get it from the author's web-site, backfitpro.com and I know it is available through a company called OPTP.
It runs about 40 bucks but is worth every penny.

Take care,



Thank you Dr. Ryan, my doctor gave me a series of stretches to work on at home that I have been doing between my ice sessions. I have almost no pain in performing any of them. I am seeing him tonight for more therapy, and will provide him examples of the work I was doing prior to getting injured. Thanks for this advice.

I have also just ordered the McGill book.


Ouch a whole year. Were you able to perform some work in that year? I found the book and ordered it thanks.