T Nation

Herniated Disk and Powerlifting

I’m 17 and I have been lifting for about 2 years. The program I used was through my high school weight lifting class and basically consisted of an upper/lower split with focus around flat benching and back squats.

I start college in the fall and was planning on joining the power lifting team, but I had some pretty bad lower back pain radiating into my right leg about two weeks ago, and had to take some time off.

A few tests and an MRI later, I found out that my L5 is herniated, and will probably only get worse. Right now it seems like it’s more genetic, both my mother and grand-father have degenerative disc disease, and not the result of any specific injury.

The pain isn’t unbearable and the damage to the disk itself seems to be minimal, it’s roughly half the width of my other disks.

I haven’t been in a weight room for about 3 weeks, and I plan on spending tomorrow trying to regain a sense of my limitations. I was planning on trying out a 3 day split, with focus on one of the three main PLing movements each day, followed by some type of assistance exercise, but that was before I was having problems.

I’m looking for any advice that anyone might have regarding heavy spinal loading and disk herniation. The best course of action that I’ve come up with is to supplement back-squats with front squats and to avoid back squatting unless I seem to be having a good pain-free day or I just can’t fucking take it anymore.

Thanks in advance,
Jes

I’d recommend seeing a reputable physiotherapist/doctor.

Looks like this could get really serious if you don’t address it correctly.

Do decompression hangs with the chinup bar everyday. THis will help decompress the spine and help with recovery.

I would also recommend swimming to heal the back as you are decompressed in the water and you can gain flexibility, strength, and endurance without overloading the spine.

If you continue to use freeweights, I would opt for front squats and db lunges. Deadlifts are risky, I would use back extensions or an even better choice if you have it would be reverse hypers for higher reps to help rehab the back much faster.

Just do what doesn’t cause you pain.

Good luck!!!

Finally got back into the weight room yesterday, front squats went really well, no pain but a decent amount of strength loss. The little bit of pain i’ve had is pretty well controlled, and overall things seem to be getting better. Thanks for the advice so far.

[quote]gainera2582 wrote:
Do decompression hangs with the chinup bar everyday. THis will help decompress the spine and help with recovery.
[/quote]

I find that chinup bar hangs really hurt my hip area when I jump down. Are they supposed to make your back more sensitive, am I doing something wrong, or is it just my body’s specifics?

[quote]G87 wrote:
gainera2582 wrote:
Do decompression hangs with the chinup bar everyday. THis will help decompress the spine and help with recovery.

I find that chinup bar hangs really hurt my hip area when I jump down. Are they supposed to make your back more sensitive, am I doing something wrong, or is it just my body’s specifics?[/quote]

i don’t want to sound like an ass. but since how you get off of the bar is really hurtingi your hips, and it is also the least important part of the exercise, shouldn’t you just not do it? get a box to step down on.

Hey guys, i hang from telephone polls for my spine decompression but when i let go i tend to break my legs. This usually happens if i keep my knees locked.

I heard that hanging makes your legs weaker. Do you guys think this is why i keep getting injured?

/sarcasm

Moving on…

Genetic or not every spinal injury has a cause in the environement at your age. Accordign to the chinese medical system you have one kind of thing you eat or do that causes this part of the body (look up the charts) which is associated with an organ. I would try to acess more by testing urine hormone levels, dunno.

Do take fish oil supplements, glucosamine, chondroitin, borage oil, coral calcium n’stuff, you know.

Namase !

[quote]LiftSmart wrote:
I’d recommend seeing a reputable physiotherapist/doctor.

Looks like this could get really serious if you don’t address it correctly.[/quote]

I agree