T Nation

Lower Back Injury

Well, i’m sure there are plenty of posts on here about this subject, but I just figured I’d go ahead anyway.

I hurt my back way back in February of this year squatting. Atleast that’s what I think. I’m not 100% sure on that because my back had been giving me abit of trouble before that day (nothing like after the day I was squatting) just sorer then usual , but the squatting was probably what finished it off. Pain in my lower and middle back/ I went to a sports doctor a week after that and he told me he thought it was just a gluteous strain. Very foolishly I kept wrestling and training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after that thinking it would just get better. Nothing to heavy though.

I did stop lifting. It started getting to the point that wrestling was hurting to much so I stopped doing that. Now after months and months of no weightlifting (some benching, curling, pushups ect…) I’m still not better and It kills me to set down. Its never realy crippled me or anything like that, but I cant bend over and touch my toes without pain. I can run, but not without pain.

I’ve been to the Chiro and she x-rayed me and told me she thought it was a bulging disc in L5 I think. She said the Xray showed that my hips were offset and I was actually walking with a tilt. She thinks this whats making my disc compress. I went to her for about a month, but my insurance didnt cover it and it got to expensive, plus I wasnt realy seeing much of a difference. Maybe didnt go to her long enough, I dunno. She said she thought I probably needed and MRI.

I’m wondering really what to do. I dont realy trust the doctors in my area that much as its a small town and we ARE not known to have good medical practitioners around here. I just want to be able to lift, get stronger and continue doing Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. My Chiro told me not to run, lift or do anything like that ever again as they would all just make it worse. That really depresses me as I’m only 22 and before I hurt my back I was preparing for my first MMA fight and realy coming along good in my strength and conditioning. Getting bigger and stronger was my goal and was going pretty good. Now I feel i cant run or lift anymore at all to even stay inshape. I lost about 15 pounds since I hurt my back and prolly all my strength gains, which is really a bummer.

What advice do you guys have. IS it possible to continue lifting and doing combat sports with disc problems?

It is possible but you first have to rehabilitate your back.

Your symptoms sound a lot like mine. You may have bulging or herniated discs. First, get an MRI to determine this.

Then, for rehabilitation, either buy and read Stuart McGill’s books (see Amazon) or google him. Here is a good starting point. Start with his big three exercises for back rehabilitation on that page:

By the way, in the meantime, for disc problems it is very important NOT to do exercises or movements that flex the spine forward, so no crunches, no touching your toes, etc. Flexing the spine forward can bulge or herniate an injured disc more.

Yea, I do plan on getting an MRI soon. I’ve been putting it off to long because of money issues.

Are the excercises in this book designed to be done when the back is still pretty injured? I stay in pain all the time pretty much.

Should pushups, curls or benchpressing be avoided? I feel like pushups is the only thing I can realy do. I tried doing benchpress and arm work the other day but my back really hut me the day after. But that could have been from the bending over to pick the weights up. Dunno. Really bummed out about this because fitness was such a big part of my life before. Seems like everything hurts my back.

The easiest version of each of the three exercises in the videos at that link I posted (also in the book) can be done when your back is still acute. To be done correctly, the back must be kept in neutral position throughout - if you do that correctly, you won’t have increased pain during the exercises.

Yes, don’t bend over to pick up weights. Pushups are good to go. If bicep curls hurt your back, maybe rather do them with the bicep curl machine, which does not stress the back as much.

Thanks for the respone. I am definitely gonna pick that book up and try those exercises. Do those excercises work core muscles as well? Before I hurt my back I had pretty well defined amdominals but now there not quite as visible as they used to be. I’d like to keep them strong but cant figure out a way of doing them without hurting my back.

They are all core exercises.

In addition to those, you can also do the “plank” if it does not hurt your back. But avoid exercises that flex or twist the back, so no crunches or situp variations for now.

A good starting point on your new path of thinking would be to remember that just because your abs were defined doesn’t mean you have a good core. The core is like a can of soup. It’s got a top, bottom, and 360 degrees all the way around.

McGill, Janda, McKenzie, Kolar. All of them have different approaches which produce results.