T Nation

T-Supplementation for Non-Healing Back Injury?


I’m in desperate need of advice regarding the use of testosterone for a non-healing back injury.
I’m 54 years old, and was a very active father and healthcare professional. I have a history of recurrent back injuries and had chronic back pain, but remained very active.
In January of last year my my chronic back pain worsened and my back went out on me. It was not due to trauma or an accident in the gym, rather it was a slow accumulation of work-related stress, doing crunches which are not good for the lower back, and a really bad mattress. It was slowly worsening over the course of a couple of years, but I had become accustomed to having my back pain.
However when my back went out on me in January I knew it was different because the pain was very bad and I couldn’t sleep for almost 2 months

I had an MRI which showed some small and old disc bulges and some degenerative disc disease, all of which is common for someone in my age range. I had a pretty bad back injury back in 2009 and an MRI was done at that time too, and the MRIs don’t look very different over the course of 10 years. There is some facet joint arthritis, which again is expected. I eventually found a good mattress and started going to a McGill-certified physical therapist. I was not able to do the full bird dog or side bridge because of my back so I had to do more remedial forms. It has been a year now and I still have not made much progress despite plenty of rest and overall good nutrition. I am walking twice daily for 15 minutes plus another 15 minutes at work and I am doing a remedial form of the big three every third day. It is very difficult for me to work and I cannot function normally at home. I saw a neurosurgeon and a Physiatrist , as well as two McGill providers, all of whom said no surgery is indicated. I’m not improving, and it is taking a terrible toll on my work and home life.

I plan to discuss the use of testosterone supplementation with my urologist to hasten the recovery of my back. I read some of the posts on this website regarding what labs to order and I will bring that information with me. But I would like some advice from the community regarding any experience of another person who may have had a similar situation, and/or what kind of testosterone supplementation is best. I was thinking of using a gel.
My prostate is normal and my PSA is .83. I am almost sure that my testosterone values will be normal, but I know that can be spurious.

Does anyone have any helpful advice they can offer, please? Thanks.

Are you able to do any strength training? What, in particular, makes it better and what makes it worse?

1 Like

Nope. There’s the short of it.
You need to stretch, stretch some more, and then stretch, as in bring tears to your eyes stretching. You probably need to be spending time in traction, like with an inversion table. You should be discussing Glucosamine Sulfate and maybe MSM. And you should not be looking at test as a healer here.

No Sir, I can’t. My PT said no weight training until my back is better. Only walking and the Big. 3. My back gets very sore if I do full bird dogs and side bridges, so I had to back off to a more remedial version.

I can do the Cat-camel and wall stretch as outlined in Dr.McGill’s book Back Mechanic.

How is it first thing in the morning? Sitting? Anything make it feel better?

Also, heat and massages help

Part of the reason my back went out was because I was stretching a lot. That can destabilize your spine and injure the discs

The pain is in my intrinsic back musculature my lumbar discs, and probably the ligaments and tendons. It is not the large superficial muscles . No fractures or avulsions

Thank you. Mornings are usually quiet. About half the time I have some discomfort. Prone breathing, rest, waking, the Big 3, and of course muscle relaxants and anti-Inflammatories make it better. It hurts when I stand or sit too long. When I flex forward. I can’t lift anything heavy brocade it would hurt. So I can’t function around the home.

Do you use any kind of supportive cushion when you sit for a long time? Posture helps. I work under a microscope for up to 8 hours a day and posture is everything. I have to stick my butt out and feet flat on the ground in order to keep my back straight. If I let my butt scoot in, its a recipe for back issues

I have chronic pain in my low back and legs from a lifting injury several years ago that caused disk damage. I have had no appreciable decrease in my pain levels since starting trt. I still need several epidural injections a year to manage back and leg pain. And Norco in between when it gets bad.

Strength training didn’t help much. Focusing on losing weight currently with some strength training, but that’s back seat at the moment.

Doesnt mean it won’t help you though.
I wouldn’t try it unless your T numbers are low and you’re symptomatic, I was 50 and my T was 170ng/dl, which is very low and I had nearly all of the symptoms.

Good luck.

Of course, it is inappropriate to give medical advice without the benefit of a physical examination. Won’t let that stop me………….at least from throwing out some generalities.

Typically, with degenerative discs and degenerative arthritis in general, you are worse with inactivity and better with activity. The morning, getting up, getting dressed, etc. is the worst time of the day. Feel better with movement, to a point of course.

Upright positions increase pressure on the discs, especially sitting as the diss are essentially trapped between your bodyweight above and the surface below, actually doubling intradiscal pressure. Standing shifts some of that to the facet joints and hips.

Flexion is the worst thing of discs, hence the slightly extended lumbar position, back flat, hips down, lift with your legs approach, stressed to weightlifters when starting the bar off the platform.

So, what about you? Your problems start with the discs, but you have no neurological deficit, so surgery is out. Lumbar surgery for back pain is largely unsuccessful, you’d be looking at fusion anyway. That leaves you with physical modalities, massage, manipulation, exercise, oral meds and steroid injections, epidural and facet. Temporary stuff. Some have had success with PRP. Has rhizotomy been considered?

To your question, I do not think TRT will help given the extent (chronicity) of your condition. Nandrolone is reported to help joint pain and is used off label for such. I suppose if your levels are low it would not hurt to try, I think I would actually, but I don’t want to get your hopes up. Regardless, you want to stay as active as possible. Joints degenerate with inactivity. Use it or lose it.

Good luck. No easy fix for this stuff.

thank you. I do walk two to three times per day, do the Big 3, and the two allowed stretches. I’ll see what my levels are and what my physicians say about TRT and healing .I’ve seen some reports in the literature that it can help. Mostly, thought the Big-3 are what I need to do. I need to desensitize my back to the point where I can progress on to full bird dogs and side bridges., That will help me. I’m getting a standing desk for work and I stand up every 30 minutes.

Thank you for your help.


I agree with everything you said. I went to see a neurosurgeon and the physiatrist I was evaluated by two McGill providers and everyone said no surgery, because I do not have a surgical lesion in my spine. I have an aging spine, with the typical pattern seen people in my age range. But my back had been getting worse over the course of about two years, and I have been doing too much stretching which had produced too much laxity and fatigue in the soft tissue structures that stabilize the spine, most notably the transverso-spinalis group of muscles and ligaments and tendons. The muscles of the TS group are not intended to move the spine but rather they act as stabilizers and sensors. these muscles became too loose due to my aggressive stretching regimen. That created an instability in my lumbar spine. My central nervous system sensed this instability through these stabilizing muscles and started to spasm in order to create stability. Now I have to do the big three exercises as outlined by Dr. McGill in order to re-stabilize my lumbar spine. that is why I am not allowed to do any stretching beyond a simple cat – camel stretch and a wall stretch

I thought you were maybe going to a place at McGill University or something, I had no idea that this was supposed to be a “thing”. I hope it works out for you. Wouldn’t have done shit for me when I had sciatica problems, but I don’t have those any more so not an issue for me.

I would have to agree with @highpull on this one. No to the TRT. Nandrolone increases synovial fluid which is a joint ‘cushioner’ but will not heal anything. If its an issue with discs than Nandrolone would not help IMO… if it is in the facet joint then maybe so.


Thanks for your reply. The issue is mostly with weakness in the intrinsic back muscles, and probably the tendons and ligaments. Yes, I have discogenic pain, but that is not the main issue. I thought T supplementation may hasten the recovery of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons

1 Like

Remember pain can be multifactorial, you can have both compression and facet joint issues, ask me how I know. Nandrolone may help with one and that’ll give you enough relief to get moving. @dbossa did a trial of deca that did help his back feel better while he was on it, he’s got a youtube video where he talks about it.

If you’re stuggling for options it’s probably worth a look. If I give it a try I’ll report back with how it works for me.

It most definitely helped my back… but after awhile I started to feel ‘off’, even at 50mg a week.