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Display Name Post: Herniated Disk        (Topic#37767)
Arsenio Billingham
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Total Posts: 125
08-22-21 11:16 AM - Post#912771    



I strained a muscle in my back earlier this week and, rather than being smart about it, decided to just power through. Seemed to be going mostly okay until yesterday when I was playing with my son. Made a sharp move, felt a pop and then my back decided we weren't doing anything else for the rest of the day. Went to the doctor and confirmed it's a herniated disk. I had one about four years ago (similar situation - I was shoveling heavy snow, strained something and then felt a "pop" a few days later when I was at the gym).

I know I'm not the only one on this forum who has dealt with this. Seems like from what I've read the McGill Big Three and walking is the prescription here to prevent/manage this moving forward (along with being less of an idiot and listening to my body), but was wondering what anyone else has used to manage disk issues.
 
DanMartin
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Total Posts: 20503
08-22-21 12:19 PM - Post#912772    



I have had 12 epidural shots in my three herniated disks. Made a huge difference.
Mark it Zero.


 
SinisterAlex
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Total Posts: 323
Herniated Disk
08-22-21 12:20 PM - Post#912773    



Okey, here we go.

This points are crucial:

1. If a movement causes pain, stop doing that movement.

2. Cut out sugar and alcohol completely the next weeks.

3. Double protein-intake and get vitamin-c.

4. Don`t stretch your back at all. Even though you get temporarily relife, the collagen further degenerates and de-leminates.

Every morning when you wake up you go out for a walk to make sure the discs in your back ( that swells during the night because of osmosis )
thins out a little bit.

For future management to prevent this i would highly suggest hiring a Stu McGill-certified clinician to asses what movements that cause this.

Sincerely,

Alexander

Edited by SinisterAlex on 08-23-21 03:04 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Ricky01
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Total Posts: 677
Herniated Disk
08-22-21 12:28 PM - Post#912774    



No movements that cause pain - stiffness is ok.
Walk lots aslong as not painful.
Original strength.


If I had to change the wording for this I would say strengthen your glutes (not just in extension, but abduction and rotation).

Two movements patterns that I believe are key to everyone - gait and rotate (get that spine moving).

Richard


Edited by Ricky01 on 08-22-21 12:32 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
AAnnunz
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Total Posts: 23948
Herniated Disk
08-23-21 09:36 AM - Post#912783    



First of all, if you did not have a MRI, the diagnosis is a "most probable cause," not a certainty. I found this out the hard way over the past year when I wasted several painful months trying to fix what had been diagnosed as a herniated disc by my doctor, QL/medial glute strain by my chiropractor, and piriformis syndrome by an active release therapist. Turned out to be a cyst leaning on a nerve between my L4 and L5. A MRI made the culprit obvious.

Admittedly, cysts are unusual though. Typically, a course of prednisone (or prescription anti-inflammatory), coupled with a med for spasms, has resolved lower back strains and sciatica for me. So have chiropractic adjustments. Once out of the acute stage, using the McKenzie Method exercises ( https://spineone.com/mckenzie-method-back- pain/ ) seemed to accelerate healing.

Until experiencing the problem noted above, I was always back to training within a month. Since herniated/bulging discs often self correct (retract) in four to six weeks if you don't aggravate the injury, I sometimes wonder if it was not meds/chiro/rehab, but staying out of the gym that healed me.

For you and anyone else interested in troubleshooting and rehabbing lower back problems, I highly recommend purchasing Dr. McGill's Back Mechanic. Pure gold.
Be strong. Be in shape. Be a man among men, regardless of your age or circumstances.




Edited by AAnnunz on 08-23-21 05:21 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Rupert J. Nebblesworth III
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Total Posts: 72
08-25-21 07:15 AM - Post#912807    



Over the years I have watched some high level strength athletes who've "recovered" from this kind of injury only to quietly quit for good 5 or 6 years down the road. Chad Wesley Smith comes to mind off the top of my head.

And I went through this about eight years ago and have done a great deal of reading and studying this since then as it runs in my family. I am gonna be a bit of a downer here - forget about axial loading from now on. It is essentially impossible for spinal disks to heal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC66962 92/

So, it is a one-way street you're going down once they are degenerated or herniated. There are things you can do to help prevent further injury but unless you're on track to set world records, and prepared to sacrifice your health, I wouldn't be loading the spine compressively any more if I were you.

In the way of positive recommendation I found PT and this website helpful: https://www.fixyourownback.com/
 
Browser
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Total Posts: 504
08-25-21 08:40 AM - Post#912808    



Never confirmed that it was a herniation, but I have a recurring lower back issue. Hurt it the first time deadlifting about 20 years ago and it pops up now and again. I've continued to successfully lift heavy though and have found these three things to be most important (for me):

1. Brace Brace Brace. Learn how to brace properly anytime the spine is loaded. It is way more than just 'getting tight'.

2. Spine should be neutral-NOT EXTENDED OR ARCHED-when under load. Whenever my lower back feels tight or just 'off' but not injured, it's usually because I'm extended or arching my lower back too much on squats.

2. Monitor work load and recovery very closely. Most of the time now when my back goes out it is simply because I'm loading it too much.
"The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind."~GK Chesterton


 
Ville
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Total Posts: 2549
Herniated Disk
08-25-21 09:11 AM - Post#912810    



  • Browser Said:
Never confirmed that it was a herniation, but I have a recurring lower back issue. Hurt it the first time deadlifting about 20 years ago and it pops up now and again. I've continued to successfully lift heavy though and have found these three things to be most important (for me):

1. Brace Brace Brace. Learn how to brace properly anytime the spine is loaded. It is way more than just 'getting tight'.

2. Spine should be neutral-NOT EXTENDED OR ARCHED-when under load. Whenever my lower back feels tight or just 'off' but not injured, it's usually because I'm extended or arching my lower back too much on squats.

2. Monitor work load and recovery very closely. Most of the time now when my back goes out it is simply because I'm loading it too much.



This sounds very similar to what I've found with my back in the last 5+ years. I'm sure there is something wrong with my back too. If I had easy access to a doctor, I could find out what it is, but that's not the case right now. (NHS is swamped as it is, my problems are quite small.)

I think my back problems started when I overarched it during kneeling ab wheel rollouts. Stupid mistake, I had no idea how to position my hips or back properly to brace for them. Since then I learned how to do it and I can do standing ab wheel rollouts using a ramp (to make it easier). Same with GHR, I used to try to arch my lower back, which was completely idiotic (at least for me!). Now I can quite comfortably do a set of 20 without any issues, as I learned to brace my back properly.

But the downside is that my spine just cannot seem to cope with much load at all. I need to decompress couple of times a year now. It is what it is, quite happy that I don't have permanent back ache.
My workout log


 
Upwind
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Total Posts: 382
08-26-21 09:51 AM - Post#912823    



I never had any disk issues, but a head-on auto collision (not my fault) a few years ago left me with a number of issues including a burst fracture of a vertebrae, a scoliosis, and a doctor who told me not to lift more than 50 pounds. I haven’t. However, without weights I’ve been able to rebuild my back enough that I have above average strength there. (The week before my accident I was front squatting my bodyweight.) What I learned in rehab is that there are libraries of back exercises that never make it to the general public.

One chiropractor gave me a routine from this organization:
https://us.physiapp.com/program?redirected=
https://support.physiapp.com/

I’d go to the site, login to my program, and explanatory videos showed me how to do the exercises in my routine. That was a few years ago, and my password no longer works or I’d post a few screen shots.

If a doctor’s visit isn’t an option right now, I’d consider researching “back rehabilitation exercises” on YouTube. Plenty of gentle options to explore there. I’ve found some options I’ve incorporated into what I regularly do now. Just remember the rehabilitation notion and listen to your body.
 
SinisterAlex
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Total Posts: 323
08-26-21 10:15 AM - Post#912824    



So
Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll wrote a book about Carroll coming back from back-injury and win medals again.

https://www.backfitpro.com/books/gift-of-injury- the-strength-athletes-gui de-to-recovering-from-bac k-...

Maybe this is something for you Arsenio Billingham?
 
bigstve12
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Total Posts: 113
08-26-21 04:20 PM - Post#912833    



Did you have a MRI?
 
Arsenio Billingham
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Total Posts: 125
08-29-21 07:20 AM - Post#912900    



No MRI, so it was the most probable diagnosis. The steroids they gave me made a huge difference. The stinging/shooting pain was mostly gone the next day and I’ve been stiff and achy, especially when I wake up and if I sit for too long. I’ve tried to slowly add in some mild movements (the McGill Big 3, stretching, walking, etc.). I checked out the McGill book recommendations and think I’m going to get a copy of the Back Mechanic.

My two biggest takeaways from this are one, I need to warm up. When I was in my teens I could walk from my car to the gym/golf course/basketball court etc and get after it with no consequences.I also need to be more honest with myself about what I can - and most importantly need - to do. Do I really need to do heavy deadlifts at this point, knowing that the risk is I further aggravate my back? I’m at a stage where coming back the next day and the next day, etc. is the goal, so the movements should match that.
 
Jordan D
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Total Posts: 543
08-29-21 11:23 AM - Post#912906    



  • Arsenio Billingham Said:
Do I really need to do heavy deadlifts at this point, knowing that the risk is I further aggravate my back?.



Heavy deadlifts are exactly what fixed my back after two decades of herniated disks and ruptured facet joint ligaments. A half dozen doctors told me I shouldn’t lift weights. Three times a year I’d blow it out and spend a day or two in bed. Physios prescribed birddogs and other cute stuff.

Deadlifts fixed it. Completely.

Probably the single greatest impact training has had on my life.
 
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 620
08-29-21 11:52 AM - Post#912907    



I was in a bad car wreck at 15 - blew 2 in my neck and 3 in my mid back (MRI results). That was 1964 and these cause me very little problems now. I then blew 2 in my low back pulling out a rose bush at an awkward angle about 10 years ago (again had the MRI). These give me trouble about once a year. What I have found (after tons of experimentation) is that Glute Ham raises followed by Ukrainian deadlifts fixes me right up in a relatively short length of time. Keeping the muscle tone and strength up seems to the thing that works for me. Everyone is different in both their injury and what will help fix it though.
 
AAnnunz
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Total Posts: 23948
Herniated Disk
08-29-21 12:37 PM - Post#912909    



  • Jordan D Said:
  • Arsenio Billingham Said:
Do I really need to do heavy deadlifts at this point, knowing that the risk is I further aggravate my back?.



Heavy deadlifts are exactly what fixed my back after two decades of herniated disks and ruptured facet joint ligaments. A half dozen doctors told me I shouldn’t lift weights. Three times a year I’d blow it out and spend a day or two in bed. Physios prescribed birddogs and other cute stuff.

Deadlifts fixed it. Completely.

Probably the single greatest impact training has had on my life.


You've mentioned this before, and it still blows my mind. Is there anything else to the story? For example, did you work your way up to the heavy loads over a period of time, using something akin to Bill Starr's hair rehab routine, where you start with an empty bar x 25 x 3, add ten pounds and repeat the next day, etc., while slowly decreasing reps?
Be strong. Be in shape. Be a man among men, regardless of your age or circumstances.




Edited by AAnnunz on 08-29-21 01:24 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
read the bread book
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Total Posts: 88
08-29-21 08:45 PM - Post#912911    



  • Rupert J. Nebblesworth III Said:
It is essentially impossible for spinal disks to heal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC66962 92/




disc degeneration and herniation are not the same thing, so this article doesn't really apply for this topic.


I think it is worth reading up on what a disc herniation actually is and getting an official diagnosis. A herniation causes the disc to bulge, which puts it in a position where it can be pinched between your vertebrae. It does not bulge uniformly in most cases, it sticks out either forward, backward, right, or left (or some combination). This means you may find certain movements painful whereas others may be totally fine. Creating more space by decompressing your spine is often the first thing to do (yoga, PT, or just good ol hanging can help you with this; ***please make sure the person you are working with understands the nature of your injury***).

Once you have reduced the amount of pressure on the disc, learning to properly axially load your spine (meaning bear weight) and brace against it ***WITH AN APPROPRIATE LOAD*** will help prevent the pinching that causes discomfort. This may not be a linear process and may take you awhile to figure out exactly the best way to do this. a qualified PT who understands exercise can probably help you with this. At the end of the day, your spine is (among other things) a series of bones. Bones go where muscles direct them. You may not be able to completely "undo" the herniation, but you may be able to severely mitigate it bothering you.
 
Arsenio Billingham
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Total Posts: 125
08-30-21 08:43 AM - Post#912916    



Let me qualify my statement about deadlifts - for me, as an idiot who has a tendency to go "that didn't hurt, why don't I add another plate" until I eventually hurt myself, is there a need to do heavy conventional deadlifts? Pre-pandemic, my workout was:

3x5 Goblet Squat
3x5 Dips
3x5 Pull-ups
3x5 Deadlifts at bodyweight (175lb)
Loaded Carry

That I could do for the rest of my life. Heavy (for me) trap bar deadlifts are also usually fine. But, I know myself well enough to know that if I start trying to chase a number in the deadlift I'll start getting sloppy and stupid.
 
Jordan D
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Total Posts: 543
Re: Herniated Disk
08-30-21 01:12 PM - Post#912923    



  • AAnnunz Said:
  • Jordan D Said:
Heavy deadlifts are exactly what fixed my back after two decades of herniated disks and ruptured facet joint ligaments. A half dozen doctors told me I shouldn’t lift weights. Three times a year I’d blow it out and spend a day or two in bed. Physios prescribed birddogs and other cute stuff.

Deadlifts fixed it. Completely.

Probably the single greatest impact training has had on my life.


You've mentioned this before, and it still blows my mind. Is there anything else to the story? For example, did you work your way up to the heavy loads over a period of time, using something akin to Bill Starr's hair rehab routine, where you start with an empty bar x 25 x 3, add ten pounds and repeat the next day, etc., while slowly decreasing reps?



100% correct!

The last time I hurt my back was 2016 I think, typical facet joint pop and crippling spasms. Had 185lbs on the bar for a warmup set of deadlifts. Had to be carried out of the gym. Read the Bill Starr article and started with the empty bar about 4-5 days later.

That, focusing on perfect form, and a year of Easy Strength changed everything. At some point I started growing real spinal erectors and stopped having that sixth sense of fear every time I bent over. It took at least a year, maybe two. But it’s like my brain eventually realized “oh, we’re not weak there anymore.”

That said, I still avoid anything that risks excessive flexion like RDLs (shudder) or deficit deadlifts, my “heavy” isn’t other people’s heavy, I walk and do OS resets everyday, and I only pull double overhand. I’d rather my grip fail before my back any day.

But it’s convinced me that a lot of back spasms are just the brain remembering old injuries, being overly protectuve, and that we can override that process by carefully adding slabs of new tissue.

As always, YMMV, but for me now my back only hurts when I STOP deadlifting. It’s funny.
 
SinisterAlex
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Total Posts: 323
08-30-21 02:35 PM - Post#912927    



I also had great success doing Easy Strength and only deadlifts for the 40days.

Seems that the deadlift stiffens the collagen to such a degree that the lowerback stiffens.
 
AAnnunz
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Total Posts: 23948
Re: Herniated Disk
08-30-21 08:11 PM - Post#912932    



  • Jordan D Said:
  • AAnnunz Said:
  • Jordan D Said:
Heavy deadlifts are exactly what fixed my back after two decades of herniated disks and ruptured facet joint ligaments. A half dozen doctors told me I shouldn’t lift weights. Three times a year I’d blow it out and spend a day or two in bed. Physios prescribed birddogs and other cute stuff.

Deadlifts fixed it. Completely.

Probably the single greatest impact training has had on my life.


You've mentioned this before, and it still blows my mind. Is there anything else to the story? For example, did you work your way up to the heavy loads over a period of time, using something akin to Bill Starr's hair rehab routine, where you start with an empty bar x 25 x 3, add ten pounds and repeat the next day, etc., while slowly decreasing reps?



100% correct!

The last time I hurt my back was 2016 I think, typical facet joint pop and crippling spasms. Had 185lbs on the bar for a warmup set of deadlifts. Had to be carried out of the gym. Read the Bill Starr article and started with the empty bar about 4-5 days later.

That, focusing on perfect form, and a year of Easy Strength changed everything. At some point I started growing real spinal erectors and stopped having that sixth sense of fear every time I bent over. It took at least a year, maybe two. But it’s like my brain eventually realized “oh, we’re not weak there anymore.”

That said, I still avoid anything that risks excessive flexion like RDLs (shudder) or deficit deadlifts, my “heavy” isn’t other people’s heavy, I walk and do OS resets everyday, and I only pull double overhand. I’d rather my grip fail before my back any day.

But it’s convinced me that a lot of back spasms are just the brain remembering old injuries, being overly protectuve, and that we can override that process by carefully adding slabs of new tissue.

As always, YMMV, but for me now my back only hurts when I STOP deadlifting. It’s funny.



Thanks, Jordan! For anyone who is not familiar with the Starr rehab protocol, check this out:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/rehab-muscle -strains-tears/
Be strong. Be in shape. Be a man among men, regardless of your age or circumstances.


 
Jordan D
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Total Posts: 543
Re: Herniated Disk
08-31-21 12:04 PM - Post#912951    



  • AAnnunz Said:

Thanks, Jordan! For anyone who is not familiar with the Starr rehab protocol, check this out:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/rehab-muscle -strains-tears/



My pleasure!

Also, this video from Alan Thrall and the Barbell Medicine guys does a perfect job of explaining how and why the Starr protocol works, and how Thrall started using it within minutes of a back injury:

https://youtu.be/riq-DfDDimc
 
Arsenio Billingham
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Total Posts: 125
09-03-21 09:01 AM - Post#913053    



Gave myself a week off from lifting anything and just focused on stretches and some push-ups, air squats, etc. to keep loose.

Monday I went to the garage and did 20 minutes of alternating swings and presses. Later in the day I noticed that for the first time since the initial injury I didn't feel any tightness in my back. Wednesday I did 20 minutes of alternating clean and squats with my 24kg with pull-ups, and so far so good. If/when I return to the gym I think I'll stick to either Trap Bar or easy strength style deadlifts, but working hip hinge pattern is definitely an important tool here. I have also been keeping up with the McGill Big 3 as part of my warm-up.
 
Jim James
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Total Posts: 88
Herniated Disk
09-19-21 06:55 AM - Post#913409    



I've had undiagnosed herniated discs that flare up off and on, sometime after or during a deadlift session. Sometimes out of nowhere.

The Foundation Training original 12 minute routine makes my back 'feel' bulletproof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BOTvaRaDjI

In fact, it worked so well I stopped doing it.

Doing the McGill Big 3 never seemed to do much. Just didn't seem to be working the back/core. Probably me not doing it right.

---

I'll say this. Everyone, myself included, seems to have a trick for eliminating backpain.

Both of my kids had eczema as infants. Mothers would come up to me in the park and tell me what concoction of over-the-counter moisturizers and creams had finally cured their own infants' eczema.

Most infants outgrow eczema, as mine both did at the 9 month mark. I don't remember what mixture of moisturizer we were using at the time.

I feel like that's an analogy to a lot of 'cures.' Sometimes the body heals with time, but you'll swear that whatever you were doing at the time fixed it.





Edited by Jim James on 09-19-21 06:56 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
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