T Nation

Degenerative Disc Disease - Help!

hey fellas, i recently found out i have degenerative disc disease in my lumbar area. i was told that i should probably eliminate squats, deadlifts, and all ab work. the ab work im not too upset about, but deads and squats i fucking LOVE doing. should i maybe find alternative exercises for these, or do them just using lighter weights, higher reps?

i just started CW’s TBT, heres what mine looks like, if you could give me some help on what to adjust, id greatly appreciate it!

day 1 3x5
flat bb bench
rows
squats
deads
hammer curls
standing calf raises

day 2 3x8
incline db bench
db upright rows
front squats
good mornings
preacher curls
dips

day 3 2x15
decline bb bench
chin ups
db lunges
deads
seated calf raises
skull crushers

Oh man, degenerative disc disease… What exactly is it and what does it do?

Why were you told you had a disc problem, and who told you and what symptoms do you have. You in pain either low back down legs etc.
cheers Spud

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well basically i was told that 2 of my discs are somwhat bulging and that i have DDD. he did make it sound pretty grim and that my lifting days were over, and they pretty much kicked me to the curb after that. basically my pain is pretty severe and constant, pains shooting from my lower back down my legs, sometimes my legs tingle if its bad enough.

im definitely going to see another doctor for another opinion because this doc told me all i could do was find a way to live with the pain, which i think is bullshit. they couldnt do surgery on me so they didnt really give a shit in my opinion. i have done alot of reading, but basically what ive read told me the same thing he told me.

if i could get my MRI pictures to scan up properly i would show them

That’s scary as hell. Did lifting injure your back or something? I don’t want this to happen to me and have to stop squatting and pulling.

Jimmy, that really sucks dude.

I don’t know if this helps at all, but maybe you could still do single leg stuff, like pistols, somewhere down the line, if in fact you cannot get back under iron?

I’d follow Bushy’s advice to start though.

One thing is unerrringly true: until you’re in the grave there’s always a way.

Cheers & good luck to you. ~Katz

lots of people will have disc bulges, they only become a problem when they “insult” a nerve that’s when you get the loss of power pain and tingling. First do no further damage, read read and then read some more. Find someone that is prepared to work with you i.e. a good Chiro and massuer that know what they are doing.

Adapt your training to suit your present situation, try different squats and deads, this is a time for innovation in your training it’s not all negative by a long stretch.

I ruputured a disc and was laid up for 3 months was told I would never work for more than 3 days a week, but I’m back to work full time I learnt alot about the body and training during my rehab and avoided the “op” I was told i would need. Take care and heal fast. Cheers Spud

i’m sure the doc is trying to get you away from compression and bending or twisting, as that may aggrevate things. it doesnt leave you lots of options but until you’ve had the second opinion and really get ontop of the condition i would stay away from bending/compressing training - thats squats and deadlifts out.

Might want to check a chiropracter too.

theres a site called spine-health.com that may be useful to you

there may be a time later on when reppier sets of some kind of pull, like a sumo deadlift, would be possible but your back needs to come first.

Hey man sorry to hear about your problem. Have you ever heard of spinal decompression? This type of therapy goes under many names, Vax D, http://www.vax-d.com/ is one of them. I have a number of clients who have had complete elimination of pain for long periods of time with this therapy. The most important thing once you get this done is to still continue with the preventative care.

A Chiropractor and a massage therapist who practices Trigger Point Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy can keep most soft tissue problems as bay. Posture specific stretching and proper training cycling will go a long way too.I have clients who still train hard with former disc injuries using these methods.That may have been all your doctor could do, but it is NOT all that you can do. Good luck man.

thank you guys for the input. im not sure how this happened really, but about 4 years ago i broke my t-9 in an auto accident. never had lower back pains until about 6 months after once i was healed, it literally came out of nowhere one night and has came and gone since. it really flared up about in january when i finally got over my fears and threw deads and squats into my lifting routine because my legs have been so weak since the accident.

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thanx alot bushy, i really appreciate the words of advice and positive attitude given. its pretty sad when i get better advice from a total stranger on the internet than from a doctor im paying out the ass for. i will definitely do what you say, and trust me ive been doing a LOT of reading since posting this. i will definitely post back periodically to update my condition. thank you very much guys