T Nation

DLing/Exercises Herniated Disc

Hey guys and gals,

I’m currently in the recovery process from a herniated disc at L5 (the lowest disc, I believe). I’m curious if you guys think I should be attempting deadlifts once I fully recovery.

My doc thinks I shouldn’t, and I kind of agree with him, however I don’t want to gain an improper balance and I definitely don’t want to have a weak posterior chain. To those of you who have had herniated discs, do you guys still deadlift? If so how did you work back into it?

The doc said that once I recover I also shouldn’t be doing cleans and jerks or anything of that nature, so I assume that includes snatches.

Unless I hear some otherwise encouraging and promising words from some other people who have recovered from a similar injury, it sounds like once I recover I should stick to back extensions, reverse hypers, glute-ham raises, and glute ham raises on the floor.

Any advice is appreciated (also please state your background in terms of back injuries and how long you took time off doing deadlifts/etc. before attempting them again).

Thanks a lot guys.

-DTC

[quote]DTC wrote:
Hey guys and gals,

I’m currently in the recovery process from a herniated disc at L5 (the lowest disc, I believe). I’m curious if you guys think I should be attempting deadlifts once I fully recovery.

My doc thinks I shouldn’t, and I kind of agree with him, however I don’t want to gain an improper balance and I definitely don’t want to have a weak posterior chain. To those of you who have had herniated discs, do you guys still deadlift? If so how did you work back into it?

The doc said that once I recover I also shouldn’t be doing cleans and jerks or anything of that nature, so I assume that includes snatches.

Unless I hear some otherwise encouraging and promising words from some other people who have recovered from a similar injury, it sounds like once I recover I should stick to back extensions, reverse hypers, glute-ham raises, and glute ham raises on the floor.

Any advice is appreciated (also please state your background in terms of back injuries and how long you took time off doing deadlifts/etc. before attempting them again).

Thanks a lot guys.

-DTC
[/quote]

You might want to lay off anything that loads the spine for a while, at least until you feel YOU are ready. I had an L4/L5 herniation in 2004, had surgery in April '04 (regret that but can’t take it back now), and have recovered well enough to be stronger, faster, able to still play football, etc etc. I know that age plays a factor in how well you can recover from such an injury, thankfully I was 18 and have recovered for the most part very well.

I can deadlift just fine, squat just fine, clean/jerk, etc etc. You just have to pay more attention to your body and listen to the little signals so you can call it off before you really hurt yourself. Just work back gradually. I honestly think that taking the passive approach (NOT deadlifting or any other related lift) will be leaving you hung out to dry. They should help strengthen your back as long as you aren’t rounding the back.

One I would stay away from is SLDL-- If you are going to, use the RDL version with a flat black to avoid a rounded back. Good luck to you, let me know if you need any tips.

Hey dude i feel your pain,

Last new yrs eve i was dl and just wrenched my back, i new something was wrong immediately. Sure enough it was a herniated l4-l5 disc shown thru an mri. I thought my days of heavy lifting were thru and was pretty depressed about the whole situation.

Fortunately i went thru some really good physical therapy for about 6 wks and took time off from any lifts that heavily loaded the spine (yea its alot of them lol), additionally i did 8wks of spinal decompression therapy, i personally thought this was very helpful, i know the verdict is still out on this type of therapy but i thought it was very beneficial towards my recovery. As far as lifting goes, i have gotten back to pre-injury strength levels in all my lifts and have even eclipsed my 1rm for the squat.

The only lift i havent mustered enough courage to do yet has been the dl. Its been almost a yr and i think im gonna just start realllly light and just take it from there. A very sucsessful exercise in terms of rehabbing the disc is called the “press up” u should definitely read more about this it helped my pain levels tremendously. Also i have been doing alot of core stabilization exercises, plenty of hamstring, piriformis, and spinal erector conditioning and have purchased a foam roller and have been doing consistent soft tissue wrk with it.

This has also helped keep all my muscles nice and loose. Beware of your posture, and try to avoid sitting for long periods of time and stretching in the morning this is a big no no since the discs are hydrophilic and are filled in the morning after a night sleep. The pressure within them is alot greater in the morning because of this and the risk for injury is much greater.

A great resource for anything having to do with the back is Dr. stuart mcgill, the guy knows everything,i think his book is called “ultimate back fitness” if u search for him on this site there has been some interviews conducted with him , he knows his shit. ne way im rambling, good luck with it and remember take things slow, i know its tough but trust me , dont push it at the begining , u only got one back lol

Thanks guys. Hearing the good news from you guys is really encouraging, I was afraid that I would never be able to squat or deadlift again.

Gonna go look up the “press up” right now :slight_smile: .

-DTC

P.S. It appears that this is my post from a few weeks ago, and that it finally got some replies to it. Sorry for having two near identical topics on the same page.