T Nation

Disc Degeneration


#1

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?


#2

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.


#3

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.


#4

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.