T Nation

Disc Degeneration

Just got back from the Dr’s today and found out that I have a disc in my back that is wearing away. X-rays show\ there isn’t much of a gap between two of my vertebrate’s. So, my question is for some of the experienced lifters is should I continue to squat and deadlift? I am a roofer so my back always hurts anyways. Will going to a chiropractor help if I continue to lift?

my l4/l5 discs are over 30% gone (as of 3 years ago, possibly more now)
short version i was nationally competitive powerlifter with elite totals. what began with a small pain turned into massive injury. could not train for over 8 months, i had a fucking cane and was extremely depressed. was told that i needed surgery to fuse discs together and add something that would be fabricated to give support. was told i would lose quite a bit of flexibility.

also was told i would never be able to lift again without surgery, with surgery i would be able to but not compete… tried chiropractors, phys therapy, you name it but nothing corrected it. i declined surgery and began rehabbing with a sled similar to a prowler just walking it, then adding weight over time. within a few months i was able to run slowly with it.

fast forward 3 years. my back feels fine with the exception of a few days when it may hurt on one side or the other but nothing too bad, and while im not pulling in the 700s anymore i can pull a low/mid 6 but it is very uncomfortable. rarely do i go above 5 and things are good. some things i still can not do such as heavy-medheavy back squats and heavy snatches but everything else is fine.

to answer your question i would say before continuing with lifting you need to make your lower back incredibly strong. this can be done without heavy weight. last time i went to ortho his guess was that my back muscles around the 2 discs that have deteriorated have become so big and functionally strong that they are supporting and protecting them well enough to keep me injury free.

Sorry to here about your injury sounds like you went threw some hell. Thanks for replying. I went down again on the roof today all because of a little twisting motion. Felt like my damn spine seperated. Anyways I guess Ill take it easy for now.

I have disk degeneration, pinched nerves, and a vertebrae that will move side-to-side. I can lift despite warnings from my doctors that I would not be able to, but I progressed slowly and finally found a style of lifting that works for me. It took years and a lot of trial and error. I found Thibs articles on eccentric-less (sp?) lifting very helpful. I do a lot of oly style lifting (dropping the weight) because the act of lowering the weight (from overhead for example) did more damage than good.

With the exception of holding a push press overhead for a few seconds, I do not load the weight above my shoulders. I can deadlift and front squat some, but back squats or lunges are counter-productive. Like doombunney, I focused on making my back strong enough to overcome some of the issues. However, I do not twist and am careful on how I am aligned when I sit. Sometimes the little things make a huge difference.