Page 1 of 1

New to the forum

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:05 pm
by EngineerDoug
Hello all,

As I am new to the forums, let me introduce myself. I am a 50 year old male in good health. I've lifted weights all my life, and have been jogging for a couple of years. So I am reasonably fit. About 6 weeks ago, I injured my low back and received a diagnosis as follows:

1. A small tear in a lumbar disc.
2. Another bulging disc.
3. General desiccation of several discs.
4. No disc thinning or herniations.

I am under the care of an SOAR doctor here in the SF bay area, and he has me undergoing physical therapy. I have improved by about 50% over this last 6 weeks, which is good news. At present I have intermittent pain in the area of the tear which usually comes on if I bend forward a certain way. The pressure from the bulge comes and goes. There is virtually no nerve involvement or referred pain down the legs. I can say that there is much of the time when there is no pain or discomfort. I am able to sleep and work without the aid of medication, except for perhaps twice a week. If I do need something it is usually a couple of Tylenol or a Celebrex. I find that my tolerance for sitting is good if I sit properly, and generally walking helps me feel fine.

I do have a couple of key questions that you could help me with. For one thing, I find that a day or two after physical therapy I am hurting. It seems to be more of a general low back/posterior fatigue or ache rather than from my specific problem areas. The therapy exercises are rather extensive - I do planks and birddogs and bridges and then a bit of side stretching on a fitness ball. Is the discomfort after therapy to be expected? I am hopeful that this just goes with the turf.

Also, I am wondering about stretching. On the one hand, it makes sense that until the damaged tissues have healed they will complain about any sort of stretching. But on the other hand I read that the scar tissue will be less cranky over the long run if it gets some stretching as it forms. The idea being that scar tissue is not as flexible as the original tissue.

Like most or all of you, I have found there is a lot of contradictory information out there. For example, my therapist advises against stretching in flexion or extension. But this runs counter to other sources that advocate gentle stretching to mobilize and hydrate the tissues.

I understand that there are many of you who have been fighting the battle of the back for much longer than I have, and under much more discomfort. Nevertheless, your words of encouragement and knowledge are much appreciated. It seems that I am in a plateau stage right now, but I still need to keep my hopes up that my condition will improve. The consensus seems to be that for a disc or a ligament or a nerve to heal it takes a good bit longer than 6 weeks. The good news is that I am willing and able to do the daily training to recover and maintain my spine.

Much of the challenge for me is reaching a point where I can trust my body. I am still in the phase where I don't know what I can do and what I can't. It is a mental battle. Thanks again for your advice, comments, encouragement. It is appreciated.

Doug