T Nation

Disc Herniation. Need Some Advice

T-Nation. What a wonderful world is here. I read some articles and all was helpfull, but i feel it’s time to ask personal.
Little background: I was amateur gym guy with 4 years experience to may 2013. On 3 rep on deadlift i make it with bad technique. Follow some strange sound like dry branches break. No pain in lower back or food, just nothing. I did not knew what happened. Only some feeling like tiredness. Then stop deadlift and back exercises for 3 weeks, but only exentsions.

After some weeks i develop some (it’s hard to me to determined) discomfort/burning feeling in my right buttock when i am in sit position. Same year november my fitness trainings end. This feeling in buttock was there, but i don’t have reason to think i have some back injury.

In may 2014, two months into the gym, my right achilles tendor stop working. Three days after i make deadlift. Pretty soon my right muscle from buttock to leg start to feel pain. I go on neurologist and then in hospital. There i was diagnosed with radikulit. After some threatment with medication and ultrasound, eletro-system they alive nerve. I was ok. After one month something happen.

Maybe my nerve was pinched, because i have bad feeling in lower back and i can’t walk or strand straight for 1 min. Again on neugologist, she prescribe me CT where i was diagnosed with L5-S1 disc herniation. I was on rehab program with ultrasound for 3 min. and 15 min. in magnetic ring. After some months i make for myself MRI. Result is mediolateral disc herniation L5-S1 and small protrusion on L5-L4.

I read a lot for disc herniation, core, streching and other threatments. My problems with drop food, low back pain, walking and staying straight (tnx God) dissapear. Make streching everyday, walking a lot (1h+), make exercises from Modified Watkins-Randall protocol. But this problem with feeling in right buttock don’t disappear when i am in sitting position. This is big problem for me, because i need to work on desk (junior software developer) and long sitting kill me.

When i was speaking with doctor they said something like “diffrent ppl have diffrent tolerance to pain or pain cant be meausre you must choose what to do.” Also i am 6 foot (183cm) and 220pounds (100kg). Do you think if i lose weight to 90-85kg will have diffrence or this feeling disappear. Need some guys to get rid of this feeling and work normal. I feel, i am in the right place with the right folks.

If need, i can upload MRI pic.


Because you have a herniated disc, avoiding flexion of the spine is key. Have you heard of McKenzie extension? I recommend giving it a try just lying on your stomach or in standing if finding a place to lie down is difficult for you during the day. An extension moment on your spine should help load the disc that is protruding in the opposite way you injured it.

As for the Modified Watkins-Randall, I think all exercises are applicable for you except for partial sit ups since this will cause you to flex in your spine. Just remember to try and keep a neutral spine and stomach tight during all the exercises.

When you are at work, take at least 5 minutes to stand up every hour and do your McKenzie extension exercises. Since you have radiating pain down the right side, a stretch you can do is to stand in stride stance with your right foot in back facing a wall. Once in this position, slide your right hand up the wall. This will cause a large stretch on your right side and open up the space between the vertebrae a bit more.

Hopefully these tips were helpful. Good luck.


Hey, @mattf3213, tnx you for replay and advices. I streching my hamstring, hips, neck, hands, practice eye movents in different directions.
My main problem is sitting. I try to have good posture, but discomfort start after 5-10 min. in right buttock. When i get up emmidiately this feeling disappear or lay down. I am very confused and don’t know what to do. What i read on internet and talk with doctors surgery is last way to solve this problem and again no warranty.

I think this problem is mechanical and maybe chronic now. It’s very bad for me, because i am 25 years old. For me, it’s not normal someone to have pain in simple mechanic movements. One of my theory is i am overweight and this stress spine (around 20kg) above normal weight. Another is discomfort in right buttock is from mechanical compression of something and this hard will be repair with core exercises or other exept surgery. I visit a lot neroulogists and all prescribe me medications. They know only medications nothing else.


The mechanical compression you mentioned above is due to the herniation - that herniation is compressing your nerve and that is why you get the symptoms. Now the nerve that is compressed is the sciatic nerve and this nerve travels down the buttock into your leg. The sciatic nerve is formed from the L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3 ventral roots and because you have herniation at L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels, this is why you get the symptoms.

Unfortunately herniation is not really reversible unless you remove it surgically which is the last option and you don’t really want to use that before you’ve tried everything else. Perhaps you should take into consider light swimming sessions. Also back exercises - extensions and a lot of stretching.

Have you ever tried the Reverse Hyperextension machine? It was invented by a powerlifter with disc issues.

Hey, tenks for replys! I will try mention things.

You need soft tissue work, in fact that’s all you are missing from your rehab work. I’m willing to bet you have a lot of knots in certain muscles, most likely buttocks and hamstrings, along with the hip flexors. I don’t really know what your posture looks like but most people with lower back problems have a “Donald duck” type posture; extreme arch in lower back, butt pops out, tight hip flexors, weak abs and weak hamstrings .

You need a person that knows how to release muscular tension in over-used areas of your muscular system which in this case are most likely located in the muscle groups I mentioned above, maybe not all but most. Regardless of whether you have a Donald duck posture or not, you should get the soft tissue work done either by a professional or yourself, use a lacrosse ball or a similar object. It will take time to learn but will make a HUGE difference in your case.

Hey man

I too have a disc herniation, in the same spot. I still have drop foot and hamstring cramps.

What helps me is a reverse hyper, and when I do stretching with bands. Get your hands on a book called “Becoming a Supple Leopard” then buy some jump stretch bands from elite fts or rogue.

Do the stretches with bands and use a reverse hyper, the reverse hyper made a huge difference, and the banded stretches made me feel loose and helped with pain.

I still have problems because I got lazy and didn’t do my exercises and stretching.

Oh, also do sled pulls at low weight and high walking distance.

If you don’t want to buy bands and the book try yoga.

Good luck man.

Tnx, all of you help me to open my eyes. Key for normal life for me is exercises 4-5 time of week. I buy swiss ball and do a lot of exercises. First i think they are for women’s, but when i see they help me keep doing them. Also i am doing some yoga streching before bad. Drink a lot of water (3-4 liters) a day, try to be more active in daily life. Mckenzie extension give me pain in back…so i dont do it. When weather is good i ride bicycle or walk a lot. Sadly i feel need to stop playing soccer, basketball, table tennis or volleyball with friends, but health first.
Future i am planing to enter in gym. Lighter weight and more reps. When i feel enough confident will add light deadlift, good morning and some dumbbell execersises.

Never know low back pain is so common in today world before happen to me. It’s pain in the ass, but never give up. Keep searching what method work for u. Because i know how frustrate is this problem in young life that’s why i share my experience. I have a lot of books and protocols (rehab, medicine, exercise…), if someone is interesting i can write some author or give link to dropbox. Peace!

x3 on Reverse Hypers. I can genuinely say they were the biggest thing recovering back form my L5-S1 herniation, high frequency Reverse Hypers

Please how many times a week did you do reverse hyper extensions and how long did it take ?

3-4 times a week for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps during initial rehab on Reverse Hypers for me

Thank you for your answer, and have you recovered fully from your injury ? can you squat and deadlift heavy again ?
PS: for how long did you do your hyper extensions ? a couple of weeks ? months ?

I too am suffering from low back pain and sciatica. I have the posture that ronaldo described in his post, a thick rounded mid back, with an S curve for my low back. My ass tends to stick out due to my posture and my lower back doesn’t get the work that it should. I can never tell if its my muscles that need to be worked (I know they are weak, due to a burning sensation when bending over and certain activities) but due to my actual disc and lumbar pain, I’m very hesitant to due them.

I raced motocross for approx. 16 years (23 years of age now), and the abuse my lower back took I’m sure has contributed to lower back fatigue and stress that I feel now. However, I know my posture is very bad and a definite contributor to my problems. Like previously stated, I have anterior pelvic tilt, with extremely tight hamstrings, tight hipflexors, etc.

My hanging ab exercises, i feel show my ab strength (able to due to hanging windshield wipers, sets of 20 straight leg raises), but I feel like my actual core isn’t very strong. My posture up until recently, hasn’t ever displayed my true ab muscles due to always looking like I have a gut; recently, however, I’ve learned that when I squeeze my cheeks together, my lower back becomes straight and my core appears much tighter, (looks great, but I walk like I have a something shoved up my ass, not sure how to engage glutes while walking).
2012-2013 I had a ACL surgery and tried to begin strength training for both legs, as well as the rest of my body.

I began to squat, with what I thought was good form (straight back, not rounded, knees not past the toes) and ended up feeling a sharp pain on the come up of one my reps. I then hopped on the leg press and bam, my back shifted felt a sharp pain and days after my cheek and leg would tingle. I took time off and the pain began to subside, but was recommended to go to PT.

That did nothing for me, the traction table, the yoga stretches hurt worse, the only thing that felt good was her elbows digging into my glutes. I experience(d) sharp pains at times when sitting/standing, the mckenzie extention would absolutely kill me; I wouldn’t limbo for anything. I also can’t turn to the right, no twisting of my back, otherwise a deep throbbing pain will overcome me.

I salvaged through the pain and haven’t had any episodes up until last week. I began hitting the weights hard, front squatting, deadlifting (trap bar preferred, unfortunately my gym doesn’t have one) and was beginning to make strides. I began to really work on tightening my core, while engaging my glutes when squatting (like previously stated) but damn its hard for me. However, last sunday my dumbass was working on form in the mirror, trying to engage hamstrings and almost do a straight leg deadlift motion (with no weight) and I felt a small pull when I came up. As the days passed my back has become aggravated, the twisting pain has become more noticeable, and my back seems to have a lot of pressure when I stand up; however I’m glad my sciatica isn’t as bad.

With the help I’ve receieved in person, I tend to find much more pin-point information on sites like these. So any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. My doctor offered to cut me open, I don’t want to do that nor do i plan on doing it. The basic PT hasn’t done me any good, so I scratch that out too. I also foam roll daily, hitting my spine, glutes, quads, IT bands (extremely tight sometimes, have what I found to be known as snapping hip syndrome on right side, where if its inflamed, I don’t even like to lay on that side in bed)
I’ve never tried the reverse extentions, but have seen it, and to the eye it may help me, but I am very scared. I’m ready to be injury free and smart about what I’m doing, hitting the strides I want to. I have accumulated many injuries over the years, as well as having very strong muscles that overtake my weak muscles. Negligence and being stiff have also contributed to my problems.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you for reading.