Frustrated Over Back Rehabilitation

So this isn’t entirely the right place to make this post, but I feel totally lost so I figured the beginners section is probably the best fit. I don’t want to make this post longer than it already will be so if I’m missing needed information let me know please and I can fill it in.

My brief background is this: When I was 17 I suffered a pars fracture on a low vertebra in my lumbar region, the resulted in spondylolisthesis. My doctors for the most part sucked, made me go to same physical therapy consultation 3 times, after 6 months of being jerked around I stopped dealing with them and rehabbed myself using what I had learned and what I had researched. I basically got the point where I was extremely competitive athletically again and was mostly pain free by the time I was about 18. College hit, which was academically and financially difficult and to be honest I screwed myself by not staying in shape. By the time I graduated, I was pudgy, out of shape and the terrible back pain was actually somewhat debilitating. A year later and a lot of hard, consistent training and I’m in decent shape, my back hurts less, but I’m still struggling.

I know a lot about back rehabilitation compared to an average guy, but I feel so lost when it really comes down to it. It took me months to slog through McGill’s Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance because I attacked it like a college text book. Its full of notes, underlines, and bookmarks. I’ve done a vast amount of internet research and gone through the forums here and this has just lead to more confusion on my part. Much of what McGill says and what my research has told me is that I have to qualify where my weaknesses are. I just know where I hurt, its extremely difficult to tell what I am doing wrong. Further, many of the exercises prescribed talk about how to get someone else to do something right and what to look for. Even if I could find a physical therapist or a trainer worth a damn to help me, there is no way that I could afford them. How can I go about helping myself?

I do know I have some issues that I am doing my best to work through but I am having a hard time. For one thing I know I’ve got virtually no glute activation during most leg exercises, beside concentrating on activating the glutes (which I have a difficult time with anyway) what can I do to improve this? Further, McGill, doctors, the internet, your mother, etc. all tell me I need to be pain free before I start rehabbing which is impossible. The less I do the more pain I have. How do I reconcile this? Finally, even after all of the research, reading and thinking I’m still having a hard time coming up with any kind of rehab program. There are a variety of exercises that I do, but if I did everything everyone prescribed it would take me over an hour just to do back stuff. My health is supremely important but considering McGill advocates doing back work multiple times daily, every day for an injured back (or at least this is what I’m getting) we’re talking about a hell of a lot of time, which I don’t have a lot of to spare anyway. What are some concise routines to work back stability that wouldn’t take me all day?

If you can answer any of the above questions or at least point me in the right direction please let me know. I’m in the process of dealing with the doctors again but I’m sure as hell not holding out hope that anyone my insurance is willing to pay for is going to do anything for me. Sorry for the long post.

I don’t think the beginners section is the place to post this question. This is kinda the forum where people who just started lifting go to be told they need to lift heavy and eat more. For serious, chronic, and rare injuries, you’re not likely to get much help, unless the answer somehow ends up being ‘squats and milk’, which I doubt.

After reading your wall of text, I think your best bet is to make healing your back a priority. I mean, it is a priority, isn’t it? So spending an hour a day just rehabbing your back will take a lot of time. That sucks and life isn’t fair. I would stop looking for an easier softer path if it looks like what you get out depends on what you put in. It doesn’t sound like that’s what you wanted to hear, but it may be the hard truth. Injuries aren’t fun, and they can be crippling.

Everything I’ve read points to McGill as the greatest back-pain person on the planet. I would visit Eric Cressey’s locker-room and post up a more concise version of the story and ask for his advice. Cressey isn’t McGill, but you don’t exactly have McGill’s email (unless you do) and Cressey’s the next best thing.

Good luck. When/if you get this problem resolved, post back here and let us know how.