T Nation

Went to The Doctor - Bad News


I don't know if you saw my post about scoliosis and lifting a while ago, but to make a long story short, I went to a neck and spine specialist. They took an X-ray, and it turns out my scoliosis has progressed considerably over the past two years. I saw the X-ray, and it was just plain painful to look at. I told him about my lifting and how squatting and deadlifting was causing problems. The doctor basically said that since I didn't have normal spine mechanics it's not safe for me to do these lifts, and they'll only make my pain worse. The point is, I'll never be able to squat or deadlift again. Ever. There's no way to correct scoliosis (except for a brutal back surgery for really severe cases), so I'm stuck with it for the rest of my life.

I've read so many articles about how squatting and deadlifting are safe if you do them properly. Well, that's not always true. I wish I would have known that.


Yeah, I'm kinda in the same boat. I essentially have no curve in the lumbar. After starting to move up in poundages on squats (I had only done heavy deads for years) I totally destroyed my back. Like you said, even when done properly, people with existing conditions probably wont be able to do them. It's really irritating, but you can do a lot to improve the condition. Right now I'm picking up the hammer (I'm a collegiate shot putter) after a year of frustrating back pain. There is probably an alternate path if you want to take it. i guess talk with your doctors on what's safe and what isnt. My condition probably isnt as bad as yours, so I can do bulgarian split squats, heavy lunges, etc. Maybe you can do pistols if you have the flexibility. I think I could go back to heavy sumo deadlifts, but I will only get worked into that in time. Best of luck to ya, there are few things in life as frustrating as a back condition.


Remember that not all doctors know a thing about weight training; many of their recommendations are made purely out of concern for being held accountable for injuries that result from their advice. If they don't know the answer to a question, they'll just err on the side of caution.

My recommendation would be to find a damn good physical therapist. If you can find someone affiliated with Gary Gray or David Tiberio, you're in great shape. The best will show you what you can and can't do. Contrary to popular belief, there are some exercise modalities that enable one to not only work around scoliosis, but even work to counteract the problem. Admittedly, they're beyond my scope of expertise right now, but there are those out there who are comfortable with such scenarios.


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Dr Tim