T Nation

Hernia Stories


Anybody have any stories about their dealings with hernias?

How you got them?

How you are dealing or recovering from them (surgery/avoiding lifts)

I only bring this up because I am a little worried right now about the possibility of having one. I've had a slight pain in my left upper thigh/abdomen region since Sunday and I'm not sure if it is a hernia or a pulled muscle. I had to help a friend move out of his house the past few days and there was a lot of up/down, side-side moving in and out of the truck and I'm hoping it is from that.

Just curious to hear others stories while I try to figure things out over the next few days.



Sometimes it's tough to tell.

One thing is for sure though, don't try to workout through any kind of pain because it can only get worse. I was in the same position before and I went to a walk in clinic to get it checked out. Turned out it was a tear in my abdominal muscles and went away after 6-8 days, however my girlfriend swore I had a hernia (she having experience with them). A doctor will also provide you will a ultrasound if need be. If you do have one, I believe surgery is a good option. Recovery/pain will depend on the severity of the hernia.


I think its just a tear too, but it got me curious to hear other people's stories with them.

A buddy in my gym has one and is going into surgery in August. He tore his about 4 months ago over exerting himself on deadlifts. He said he did a leg workout and was about to leave the gym when a couple of his buddies asked him to join in rotating deadlifts-but with big weights. He worked up to a 4 plates and a 25 on each side dead when halfway through the motion he felt a pop and then boom, there the hernia was born. He's still lifting, but just a ton less than normal until he goes into surgery late August.


Google: Mike Boyle Understanding Adductors

Or something along those lines.

It basically talks about imbalances in the adductors/adductors can lead to a weak lower abdominal wall which in turn result in a hernia.


thanks a lot truth. i found that article very informative

here's a link for anyone else that may be interested.



I've had surgery for a hernia before, I think it was mainly caused by weakening of the abdominal wall due to being overweight for so long (really overweight, really long time :P...) and it only became noticeable when I lost a lot of weight. I went to hospital one time thinking it was food poisoning, I couldn't stand up straight and had what felt like severe cramping, I'm surprised they never spotted it.

Either way I had surgery to repair it, they just sewed a screen in it an apparently the muscle grows over that. I couldn't do any exercise for about two weeks and was in severe pain when I moved for about a week anyway. I was back to lifting moderate weights after about four weeks and I think by about two months I was building back up. I'd lost a fair bit of strength anyway so was naturally limited.

Get it checked out, they only get worse from what I read and experienced. I got mine seen to when it started to pop while running. Being 15-20km into a long run and having a hernia pop out is not a pleasant experience :slight_smile:

Good luck!


i had a hernia about 5 years ago. I thought something was wrong as i had a lump i could push in. I actually ran a 10k with a hernia. just had to push in my lump every couple of hundred yards.

i had it fixed using a mesh technology which was state of the art back then. within 6 weeks i was back to deadlifting and squatting over 500 lbs. drove my dr crazy when i told him i was squatting and deadlifting 2 weeks after the surgery. he told me to get back to my normal routine. guess what i do isn't normal.

i can still feel something there every now and them, but it does not hurt.


I got one in 1996 doing lunges of all things. My doctor insisted I get back to lifting full-speed after surgery ASAP. I havn't had any problems with it, although I did have a groin injury last year that felt like I tore the patch, it was just a groin injury and nothing more.


thanks a lot for your personal experiences guys.

So far, there is no lump, just every once in a while there is some pain when going from sitting to standing up, and sometimes walking or standing.

I held off on deads from the floor yesterday and did rack-pulls with a fair amount of weight. It didn't bother me at all, but still, every once in a while i'll get an acute little stabbing of pain for just a second then it goes away. It's weird. I'll see how things go and if they worsen, i'll get it checked out.

I'm excited to hear that if I do eventually need surgery, i wont be out for more than 2 months. I had my appendix out about 3 years ago and that sucked!! I was out for 2 1/2 months and lost a shit ton of muscle. I was 170 back then and am now up to 210 at a fairly low body fat. the last thing i want is to lose weight again!!!

thanks guys!!


I had hernia surgery 2 months ago. Left inguinal canal. I never had a bulge but I had groin pain and left testicle pain for years. I figured out it was a hernia when I was playing basketball and I felt a rip from my lower ab to the top this past Feb.

The groin pain was severe from there and the doc found I had a hernia. Surgery really sucked. I had open surgery as opposed to laproscopic surgery. The pain was severe for 3 weeks. I have since been going in for manual therapy and the only pain I have is a slight burning sensation once in a while.

My skin is numb in that area (groin) but it is slowly going away...nerve regeneration? I can lift as before with no pain. If you indeed have a hernia, I would recommend the surgery. It will not get better on it's own.


I had an epigastric hernia (in between my abs) about 6yrs ago.

It didn't stop me training at all when I had it. I just used to push it in after sets of pretty much anything. In fact before the surgery it just used to pop out of it's own accord.

After the surgery I had 10 days off training (was advised to have 12-weeks off) then went back training light for a couple of weeks. I just used to make sure that I didn't tense my abs on anything. Within about 6 weeks I was squatting again and by the 12 week mark my strength was pretty much back to normal.

I then tore it open again when I visited my old gym. I was deadlifting and using plates measured in lbs rather than kg's. I just put too much weight on the bar and during my 1st rep I felt it tear straight open again. Didn't really cause any major pain though and because of the scar tissue from the first op it doesn't protude as much as the first time, so I've just left it alone. That was about 4 years ago now.


so you have an open tear and still go about training? right now I'm doing that but have surgery in a few weeks. I'm wondering how much time I should take off the heavy squats and deadlifts.


If you think you might have a hernia, see a doctor! The last thing you want to do is make it worse. If you have any kind of lump or protrusion from your abdomen, DO NOT TRAIN with it.

I had an inguinal hernia repair when I was 19. I have no idea how I got it. I had to rest in bed for a week after surgery. But since then, I've gone on to squat and deadlift 650+ pounds raw. Occasionally I'll feel a very slight tension in the area of my hernia scar, but I think I'm just feeling the scar tissue. I don't have any pain in the area.


I had the same kind of hernia and was told to take a month off after the operation. I took it as an opportunity to destroy my liver in Las Vegas. When I returned, I started benching about 3 weeks after the surgery and deadlifting and squatting about a month later. It bothered me for a little bit and I still feel the 'tension' you describe from the scar tissue especially on certain exercises like shrugs and bent over rows. I use this as an excuse to avoid said exercises.


I just had surgery last Friday (Aug 7,2009) for a laproscopic bi-lateral inguinal hernia repair. It was done as outpatient surgery so I went home woozily that evening. My motion has improved daily but I'm still walking like a 90 year old. I think last night was the first time I was able to lie on my side for more than 30 seconds.

I had been experiencing ab pain since January but never exactly in the same spot, always on the left but it ranged from my testicle to my back (kidney area). I saw my family doctor, a general surgeon, even went to the ER thinking I was having a(another) kidney stone. All three checked me for a hernia and decided I didn't have one.
I went to my orthopedic surgeon, he looked at my abs and hips gave me therapy and message. I eventually had an MRI of my hips done, got a cortisone shot in my hip and found a possible cause but my ortho was a shoulder specialist and he referred me to a hip specialist who took some more x-rays, concurred that I could have some impingement in my hips but wanted me to see another general surgeon to be checked for a hernia "just to be sure."

Within 5 minutes of meeting me the general surgeon "tests" me and has me scheduled for surgery. He said he could give me a sonogram but said it was so evident that the sonogram wouldn't give tell him anything he didn't already know.

I stopped my pain meds Tuesday, they give me a headache that hurts worse than the pain they're meant to alleiviate. It feels like the mesh isn't very piable. Sometimes it feels like the edge is digging in and they seem to be pressing on my bladder. I'll be the first to admit that I seem to go a lot but now it seems like I always feel like I have to go even on my way out of the restroom.

The surgeon has told me that his "tri-athlete" types are back to training in 3 weeks but has suggested I take a little longer before resuming. Right now I'd be happy to be able to sit for over an hour without having to get up to pee.


On the positive side, Today was the first day since surgery that I've been able to wipe my butt without (excruciating) pain.


Hi, tcsimon. Sorry to hear about your hernia. Hope you recover quickly!

Could you describe some more about your symptoms (how often was the pain, where it was located, what made it worse) and how the doctor tested it?


The first real (oh my god I'm gonna die) pain happened after a set of deadlifts, maybe 30-45 seconds after I took off my belt and was concentrated about an inch inside my hip bone. The pain has been all over, groin, testicle, just below my left rib, around the back like I had been punched in the kidney, even sometimes felt like I had a combination of hunger and heartburn.

What was happening was the hernia was protruding and pressing on the genito-femoral nerve which would refer pain to those areas but there never was any injury or trauma in those areas.

Heavy lifting made it worse but it never actually hurt during the lift, only after I took the belt off and relaxed a bit. Sometimes it would just hurt on its own, no real percieved cause. My initial pain was in Jan/Feb 2009 and the frequency increased up until the day of surgery.

The test isn't the nut cup and cough one you hear about. For this one the doctor crams a digit up between your pubic bone and your penis and feels around. Not one bit pleasant.


I forgot to add a bit of post-surgery advice. You can block a sneeze by sticking your tongue up in front of your front teeth as far as you can. This will kill a sneeze even until the last possible second. Don't know how to block a cough though, unfortunately...


I also had laproscopic bi-lateral inguinal hernia repair surgery about a year and half ago (that's 2 hernias, on each side of the groin, repaired with a mesh). I don't know when or how I got it, I never had any pain. I understand that some people are just born with weak inguinal canals or even hernias. (Something about the canals not closing correctly after the testicles come through before birth, I assume its cause my balls are so big!). I noticed a lump and a weird sensation whenever I lifted heavy. Obviously something was wrong so I had it checked out by a surgeon; no ultra sounds or anything fancy he just poked at it and knew what it was right away.

Recovery was tough. The first 4 days were a little painful when I moved around. Picking something up off the floor wasn't easy for about 2-3 weeks. Taking a crap was no picnic. I didn't work out for 3 months. Then I started working out with laughably light weight (ie, just the bar) and started adding 5 lbs every workout. I've plateaued since at stopped adding weight. Still pretty low compared to what I was doing before the surgery. I've been kinda scared to keep piling on the weight. Still at times the repairs bother me, a little pain and discomfort usually after an over active day (a couple days manual labor at work during the day + workout at night = discomfort by week's end). I still feel it when I crap.

I'm glad I found this post. I think I may experiment with adding more weight to my workouts. It's been kinda boring and pointless since surgery.

Anyone have any advice on what exercises to watch out for? Should I workout abs directly or not? Should I concentrate on NOT using the ab muscles during other exercises (kinda hard to do that as the weight goes up)? I guess I'll just take things slow and experiment.

My advice for those going into surgery:
Don't take the pain killers unless you absolutely have to. (I only took them the first day.) Many of those pain killers will constipate you; which you definitely don't want right after surgery!

And listen to your body, don't work through pain!