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L5/S1, L4/L5 Protrusion, Nerve Compression



At 29, have severe protrusion of spinal disks from an injury from deadlifting. Just got all of this confirmed by MRI and have been referred to orthopedic surgeon. Have spoken to several healthcare professionals and physiotherapists and respected trainers - all have said that I can not squat or dead or do any spinal loads. These were the corner stones of my training along with chins and pressing movements.

Anyone else have experience of disc hernations/protrusions? How did it work out for you?

Did you have to severely restrict your training ?



I have a full herniation of the L4-L5 and protrusion on the L5S1. This occurred in November and I'm pretty much back to 100%. Now I do not do heavy deadlifts or squats anymore. For the time being anyway. I am doing plenty of stretching of the hips and stability work for core. I'm told this is essential by both professionals and individuals who have experienced this situation. It does not impact me in anyway at this point but I'm not doing heavy spinal loading at this time. Probably wont do heavy deadlifts ever again but it has been suggested to buy a trap bar as it has less issues on spine when compared to standard deadlifts. Aside from heavy squats and DL's being taken out, I have not had to change any other exercise or modify my training. Hope this helps.


Thanks for your response. I'm glad your recovery has been so substantial.

Can I ask you, how is your training progressing since the injury? (I presume you're doing lighter loads with higher reps?)

Also could you let me know, or could you point me to, viable alternatives for lower body training. I will still do my chin-up's and pressing (with bench support). Unfortunately I can't see myself ever risking doing barbell loaded squats or deadlifts, or olympic weightlifting variations again.

Do you do your squats with lighter loads and higher reps.

Once again, many thanks for your reply. Really cut up by this set back.


Upper body wise, my training is identical. Lower body wise, small changes. I no longer do heavy squats or deadlifts. I will do a few sets of 20 reps with lighter loads at the end of a work out. I tend to rely on leg presses, lunges, bulgarian lunges and goblet squats. Also have been doing lots of prowler pushing and pulling now. That cuases me no issues whatsoever.

My recommendation is to take things very slow as to avoid re injuring the area. Progress slowly and if youre ever unsure if you'll be ok with a movement, don't do it. It took about 5 months before I felt comfortable even doing leg presses. If youre training more for bodybuiling as oppose to powerlifting, then squats and deadlifts can easily be discarded at least for the time being.

There are plenty of alternatives such as the ones I listed above, and many more that dont require spinal loading. On bench, I started with my feet on the bench to avoid to much extension in the spine and slowly moved to putting plates under my feet and finally back to normal benching. Also avoid bent over rows, use chest supported for now.

Again I would stress core stability work and stretching to fix the underlying issues. For me it was tight hip flexors that causes unusual pulling on the lower back. It is a shitty thing to have happen, and from everyone I've talked to you will experience issues in the future, such as sciatica and soreness that will last for a week or two once in a while. We all have set backs, its how we respond to them that matters.

Stay positive and do youre rehab/prehab and things will work out for you. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Glad I could help.