T Nation

Back Surgery Question

[quote]TheBodyGuard wrote:
I don’t intend to engage in a pissing contest - and i’m not implying you desire to either; however, i never said anything to imply you didn’t lose anything by removing some disc. I said to lose stability was a bit of a misnomer - shock absorbtion, of course you lost some. But to extrapolate a 70% loss of a single disc to a 70% total loss of shock absorbtion or any other benefit is plain wrong. And yes, the cervical region is different than the lumbar - i never implied anything else…but i refer you to a host of PL’s with similiar or worse back problems all competing. and i understand your particular slant - you’re going to a school where they are attempting to get you to take the “blue pill” and have you believe you can heal everything with spinal manipulation…correct :slight_smile: ? is that why you are so incredulous that they removed 70% of the disc? i dated a chiro - not saying you fall into this category, but some of them have some downright goofy ass ideas about what they can accomplish thru chiropractic care…she was one of the goofy ones.
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Let me put this to rest, guys. I had 100% of the disk material taken out of L4-L5, and have the “shell” still in place. That was 12 years ago. My max squat is 365 and max dead ~ 445. I can’t tell you what decompression has done to the affected area, but I can tell you it hasn’t compromised my lifts. And let me say: each time I went to a chiro, I immediately ended up in surgery. Spinal manipulation is not a good idea when talking about herniatations or ruptures. Not going to a chiro is the best thing I could ever do.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

With all due respect to your recovery, wouldn’t you say that surgery in the cervical region in not going to have the same impact on weightlifting that surgery on the thoracic or lumbar regions will have? The neck supports (primarily) the head only, wheras the lumbar spine supports everything above the sacrum.[/quote]

I have to disagree with you on this. My herniated L4-L5 took out a lot of my lower body training, but I still lifted fine for most upper body stuff as well as some light legs. It was the herniations at multiple levels in the cervical area as well as a congenitally narrow canal there as well took me out of damn near everything for two years by contributing to symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.

The nerves in the neck do some interesting things beyond control the arms. I had the bilateral radiculopathy (pain) and parasthesias (numbness/electric feeling) and cubital and carpal tunnel symptoms on both sides as well. The thing is,the rest of your body has to flex, even if very minutely to stabilize while lifting anything, especially your neck.

If the problems you have there are severe enough even a little can mess you up for weeks and months. For a while I couldn’t do so much as calf raises (let alone upper body work of any kind) without my neck spasming so hard it set off the disequilibrium, nausea, seeing black and white, stumbling like a drunk, uncontrollable mood swings from raging to weeping in minutes, etc.

Yes the pain in my herniated disc was BAD (worst pain I’d felt up to that point of my life, rather take thai kicks across the kidneys and kicks to groin all day long than that pain) and I’m not looking forward to the possibility of the other badly damaged ones I’ve got in my lumbar spine to go. But, I got through a year of grad school with good grades, lifted well and got through things ok with the pain in my back and legs. It was the the neck that basically shut down my life.

[quote]Grimnuruk wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:

With all due respect to your recovery, wouldn’t you say that surgery in the cervical region in not going to have the same impact on weightlifting that surgery on the thoracic or lumbar regions will have? The neck supports (primarily) the head only, wheras the lumbar spine supports everything above the sacrum.

I have to disagree with you on this. My herniated L4-L5 took out a lot of my lower body training, but I still lifted fine for most upper body stuff as well as some light legs. It was the herniations at multiple levels in the cervical area as well as a congenitally narrow canal there as well took me out of damn near everything for two years by contributing to symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.

The nerves in the neck do some interesting things beyond control the arms. I had the bilateral radiculopathy (pain) and parasthesias (numbness/electric feeling) and cubital and carpal tunnel symptoms on both sides as well. The thing is,the rest of your body has to flex, even if very minutely to stabilize while lifting anything, especially your neck.

If the problems you have there are severe enough even a little can mess you up for weeks and months. For a while I couldn’t do so much as calf raises (let alone upper body work of any kind) without my neck spasming so hard it set off the disequilibrium, nausea, seeing black and white, stumbling like a drunk, uncontrollable mood swings from raging to weeping in minutes, etc.

Yes the pain in my herniated disc was BAD (worst pain I’d felt up to that point of my life, rather take thai kicks across the kidneys and kicks to groin all day long than that pain) and I’m not looking forward to the possibility of the other badly damaged ones I’ve got in my lumbar spine to go. But, I got through a year of grad school with good grades, lifted well and got through things ok with the pain in my back and legs. It was the the neck that basically shut down my life.
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THANK YOU FOR POINTING OUT THE OBVIOUS; I didn’t think I’d have to point out the fact that the cervical region as nerves going everywhere from the arms to the legs - surely our future chiroporactor has been taught that in his first year! (just kidding bro but damn).

I had congenital stenosis too and a herniated disc. The stenosis was pretty bad and the surgeon was surprised I didn’t experience symptoms other than the disc symptoms I was experiencing. It was all a blessing of sorts b/c I was at risk of paralysis from the narrow canal - and with all my various activities and general recklessness :slight_smile: - I was pretty lucky. I am basically pain free, other than tightness from time to time and of course, limited range of motion b/c of the instrumentation. But I am stronger than ever.

Like I said earlier, results / mileage will vary depending on your particular malady, the skill of the surgeon (I had one of the best in the world), your pre-surgical condition, and your rehab. I remember squatting with 135 for a few weeks - and doing seated DB presses with 15lbs. If you’re not prepared for a bit of humble pie and doing what is necessary, than the most you can hope for is to become functional again. Good luck!

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[quote]TheBodyGuard wrote:

I had congenital stenosis too and a herniated disc. The stenosis was pretty bad and the surgeon was surprised I didn’t experience symptoms other than the disc symptoms I was experiencing. It was all a blessing of sorts b/c I was at risk of paralysis from the narrow canal - and with all my various activities and general recklessness :slight_smile: - I was pretty lucky. I am basically pain free, other than tightness from time to time and of course, limited range of motion b/c of the instrumentation. But I am stronger than ever.

Like I said earlier, results / mileage will vary depending on your particular malady, the skill of the surgeon (I had one of the best in the world), your pre-surgical condition, and your rehab. I remember squatting with 135 for a few weeks - and doing seated DB presses with 15lbs. If you’re not prepared for a bit of humble pie and doing what is necessary, than the most you can hope for is to become functional again. Good luck!

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Yeah, I’ve been eating humble pie and shit sandwich every day for over two years from the neck thing but am finally starting to turn things around.
I’ve gotten to ‘functional’ again and still improving but slowly. I’ve got several relatives with this, some of whom never really made it back to functional, and I am determined to overcome it.

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What a good thread. I have not gotten through it all b/c there is just soo much info. I will say this though.

I used to have low back pain on and off. This was during a time I was squatting approx 400lbs several times a week ( I realize this is nothing )

Then about 8 months ago my back started to hurt all the time. I kept training legs. One day, I bent over at work and just locked up in major pain. I went to a chiro who has great credentials and good refs. They took x-rays of my back and found that 70% of my lower most disk was “degenerated”.

Basically, it was a severe compression. I got treated several times a week for roughly 3 months and my back felt better after the first visit. I didn’t put any load on my back during this time. After the 3 months had passed, I thought I would try a light load, it didn’t work. My pain was 80% as bad as when I had started, and was pissed.

I came back to this site and began looking. I had seen ART about 3 years ago but dismissed it, what a huge mistake. After 6 visits my back is better than it has been in a long time. I recently hit 315X5 on squats, and an easy 425 for 2 on deads.

This is HUGE for me as of less than 2 months ago I couldn’t put the bar on my back and go down without pain. My shoulders are also better than they have been in years. I will continue to vist my ART guy to get regular work done, well worth the money.

Best of luck to the OP, my advice is to start with Active Release Tech!

Monopoly

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

Many thanks for chipping in. :slight_smile: I had forgotten (in my haste, lol) to think about the brachial plexus and all the other shit that goes on in the neck region, stupid of me. But I wasn’t really making a statement, more asking a question and I phrased it badly, sorry.

You see this is priceless information for me as it will give me the opportunity to see past some of the more ‘timid’ stuff we get handed to us by our lecturers. We only get taught the basics really, well all the info that a 4 yr degree will allow for… and these kind of discussions are the reason why I love T-Nation. I think of this as ‘extra-curricular learning’, and I LOVE IT! Ahyhoooo…

Time for me to study up a lot more on the neck then I feel, :slight_smile:

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No problem, just sharing my experience. Glad you are someone to appreciate that and not get into an electronic pissing match.

I had access to a medical library at university and all the research I did there and online about this really brought home how few practicioners REALLY understand. That and my own health care professionals not seeming to have much of a clue what was going on with me. Isn’t the Nation great!