48 years old, 6mm Disc Herniations at BOTH L4/5 and L5/Sacrum...
and I still Squat and Deadlift. Heres how:
I keep my Erectors Very Very Strong.
I happen to have a SS Bar and use it for both Squats and Good Mornings.
I Squat with more of a traditional Olympic upright spine using Adidas PowerPerfect 2 shoes. 1.125" heel lift.
I use the safety squat bar about 2/3 of the time and a straight bar about 1/3 time.
This works my back a bit more.
I do Glute Ham raises and Back Extentions as well.
I Deadlift traditional even at 73" tall. I make sure to keep my Erectors tight throughout.
I Deadlift trad about 2/3 of the time and use a Dead Trap bar 1/3 of the time.
I have one heavy dead session per week, One heavy squat session per week.
I have one LITE dead technique session per week and one LITE squat session per week.
I am not the strong(est) out there. Just someone who has learned from all the Iron Brothers
here on T-Nation, and from the likes of Simmons, Wendler, Wenning and Tate about taking care of yourself.
Use Epsom salt baths the day after hard training.
Use the foam roller properly and as often as needed.
Use nsaids when necessary for proper rest.
try to keep inflammation, whether from food, training or recovery methods to a minimum.
I am not saying that you will be pain free, just that it is possible to Work Around your Injuries !
If all else fails, jump on the machines and use them to isolate the working muscle of the glutes and legs...