T Nation

Returning From Herniated Disk

Ok, it’s been a couple of months since I went to the ER with the worst pain ever shooting down my leg. Herniated disc pinching a nerve in a congenital stenosis of the spine. I feel 100% now, but I am leary of reaggravating it. I wondered if any of you have similar experiences and how you got back in the groove.

FYI: I already own Magnificent Mobility, but I have been selective with that too.

How did you repair the injury, what disc are we talking about

If it is the L5S1 or L4L5 I can give you some tips.

I had motorcycle accident 9 years ago and had fusion of that area.

First thing on my mind after that was regaining full mobility of my left leg. After that was rehab excercises and all that fun stuff.

After 8 months of this and no weights I was finally given the clearance to train. First workout was so funny, just using the bar and testing to see what where the motions that I could do.

first year was only foccusing on regaining my lower back endurance and mental confidence. Took 4 days of the week only on low back specialization. Hypers, leg raises, side raises, all strenghtening and endurance for the core were mandatory. The imbalance was very noticeable plus sometimes inflamation. Had to take NSAID’s.

After I year on free weights for low back and machines for everything else I moved slowly into free weight territory.

Squats and DL had to be modified and in some instances certain protocols removed from my repertoire. For example I am ok doing full ATG squats, but 90degrees I can not even handle.

DL from the floor, next day bedridden. Half-way from the shins, golden point! see what I mean?

at the 2nd year mark I could squat and deadlift but no standing OHP. Still to this day for some reason the OHP standing can not do. 90 degree seated even worst. Shoulder’s focussed on more volume via raises and use of pre-exhaust.

Basically pre-exhaust and volume become your friend. You can get a fairly sized body, but herculean weights…you run the risk!

Hope it helps

I have recovered from this type of injury. It took me a long time, but here are my two golden rules for the back and what I wish somebody had told me in the beginning.

Learn what it really means to keep a straight back when bending over, and never again, or as much as possible, curve the lower back. I don’t just mean when deadlifting but also when picking up a pencil.

Work on hamstring, and other, flexibility. Never stretch the hamstrings by toe touching or sitting on the floor, as this would violate the above rule. Instead, do all hamstring stretching while lying on your back.

Glute, leg, and back strength are all important. But as you are on this website then this is probably not your issue.

Based on my personal experience; no medical training.

Good luck.

[quote]jbdd wrote:
How did you repair the injury, what disc are we talking about[/quote]

It was at either the L5S1 or L4L5 - there is some disagreement between the various doctors on this - it sort of depends on where you start counting vertebrae. We went conservative, ie no surgery, but cortizone injections in the spine. It took a month or two, but the disc went back into place. Unfortunatley due to other issues I can’t take NSAIDs, so I am limited to Tylenol. I was eating dilaudid like candy for a week or two, but after the injections I started feeling much better.

The one thing to remember is that your disc is still herniated. The pain is gone because the inflammation has gone down enough so that none of the tissue is pushing on the nerve. So keep this in mind when training. If you try a new exercise and the next day you feel some pain, stop and maybe try again in a couple of months.
Other than that, keep your lower lumber curve.
If your a bit of a science nerd, like me, you would do well to read “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” by Stuart McGill. In my opinion this is THE book on back pain and exercising. I can’t recommend this enough.
Good luck.

Medical docs? Was there an MRI done? This will rule out any question.If they still have a question get a new doctor as there should be none. Obviously this is not the type of injury/defect that should be guessed at or disagreed about.Is it an actual herniation or just protruding? If it is just protruding you might try “spinal decompression” which is a therapy available from either MDs or Chiros. If it is an actual hernia and ruptured,and severe stenosis then it is a surgical case,yes a surgical case.And before any of you anti-Chiro zealots start in this advice comes from my wife,a chiropractor