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Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:08 pm
Hi my name is Matt, I am 18 years old about 6-2 180 pounds. About five
months ago I hurt my lower back in a lifting injury, squatting with
improper form. Well I thought like any other injury I had, it would
quickly go away. It took about two months to figure out something was really wrong when the pain kept on returning. I got an X-ray and went to an othropedic surgeon. He said everything looked normal so I thought I will just wait some more. Another 2 months went by and the pain returned. I decided to get an MRI and a second opinion. Well the results were a 3-4mm disc bulge in my l-5. I am not in agonizing pain nor do I lose any sleep. It's more of a come and go pain. It can be aggravated by sitting for a long time then standing, sometimes taking a deep breath, sneezing only when my back is tight( like right after I wake up), and sometimes bending over. However it doesn't hurt everytime I do these things, only sometimes. (I am a full time student so I do alot of sitting in
Most of the time I can touch my toes without any pain at all. I have
stopped doing that though due to doctors orders.
I am currently doing physic therapy to increase core strength, but I
was wondering if there was any more I could do? I heard chiropractor may help. Also I have heard some chiropractors may do more damage more rather than help.
These last few months have been very discouraging. I used to be a very active person working out and playing basketball with my friends religiously. Is there anything else I can do to help this problem? When will I be able to return to my regular activities? I also heard a disc bulge can lead to a rupture. Is this true? How can I prevent this?
Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:29 pm
Matt-I'm glad you found this site; there are a bunch of people here who, I'm sure, will help you get through this. There are some good articles in the 'Articles' section regarding disc problems. If you haven't read these yet I suggest you do so.
In the 6 years I tried to get help for my back pain I went through 4 rounds of physical therapy. Each time I stuck with the program as prescribed and each time I ended up in worse shape then when I started. You are too young to be screwing around with this.
After reading Dr.Dean's book it occured to me that every therapist I saw was putting me through too much, too soon. The gradual approach outlined in his book puts you through a healing phase before the stretching and strengthening, whereas all the therapy I ever had went straight to the stretching/strengthening. Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but believe me, it is.
At the risk of sounding like a paid endorser, let me say that after 6 , oh crap it's actually 7 now, years of pain, 12 doctors, 3 chiropractors, countless 'miracle pills', 4 rounds of PT, a few serious talks with God, 2 MRI's, more x-rays than should be allowed by the law, many many beers (not complaining), 1 career change, the total elimination of sports from my life, 1 Tempur Pedic mattress, 1 inversion rack, and thousands of dollars of medical debt I have finally found relief with the Rebuild Your Back program.
Like I said before, you're young and I can guarantee you you want to take care of this now before it becomes a chronic problem and screws up your life.
Please keep us posted on your progress.
Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:07 pm
The very good news is that you will very likely be able to do all the things you used to do, again. Your body is working very hard to repair whatever injury you've sustained, and most folks recover 100% with a few, easy lifestyle changes, and daily stretching/exercising. Most of the info you need is in Dean's books, but a lot is sprinkled about in the forum.
Regarding disc bulges and disc herniations, read Dean's articles on these usually benign abnormalities. Like Seann posted, there's a lot of good stuff in Dean's articles (and e-books, too).
We're not very high on chiropractors here. Whatever help you might get from a competent DC, you can usually get in less risky, less expensive ways.
My sciatica-back troubles (herniated lumbar disc) also began in response to an improperly done leg squat, then were further aggravated by incompentent chiropractic manipulation. I have recovered full function at the age of 54: so I have to believe you've got a great chance to bounce back with RYB.
You've got the right idea to ask what sort of exercises you can do to rebuild your back, because healing requires moderate exercising and stretching. But you've also got to rest enought to allow the body to heal adequately initially the first few months. Do as much as you can, but don't try to push thru the pain (this isn't like weight training). There were times during my recovery I had to quit doing much of anything for a week or two (just too much pain); but the rest always did me good. You'll be able to push yourself again, gradually building up your strength and conditioning.
Wish I had the time to address your question on prevention. It's a good one, that deserves a good book.
Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:27 pm
Do the exercises in Dean's book "Rebuild Your Back". They will seem whimpy for someone who is accustomed to moving a lot more weight, but they are very effective.
You probably sustained a muscular pull or tear (this is not technically a muscle pull in the classic sense), and that particular muscle is in a guarded state; the muscle still feels threatened and has tightened - hence the pain.
Many times when this happens (and it sounds like it is present in your case), the muscle will not completely relax over weeks, months or even years. What is needed to remedy this condition is a form of exercise that will coax the muscle into relaxing. The light exercises and stretches in "Rebuild Your Back" will help. Yoga is also very effective at signaling the muscle that it is now OK to return to a resting state.
Matt, go to "Sacroiliac Strain" in this forum, and then pg one, and follow the exercise with the blood pressure cuff that I recommended to Karen. This exercise is also a test to tell how well your Transversus Abdominus (tva) is working. The tva is your body's natural weight belt, and therefore, it must be working properly if you want to eliminate low back pain. Once the muscle is conditioned properly (baring an accident), you will not have problems in the future.
There are about 10 exercise progressions that you need to follow to make the tva strong enough to prevent future reoccurences of your back episode.
Let me know when you can do the second of the two exercises. If the second BP cuff exercise is too frustrating, start with the first one I gave to Karen. I will then begin taking you through the 10 exercise progressions.
Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:49 pm
Here's the link to the thread (and exercise) Bill is referring to:
http://www.rebuildyourback.com/forum/vi ... .php?t=525
(Guests and new members can't post links, but we old timers can. Dean tells me it's an anti-spam thing.)
Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:28 pm
I am a 40 year old "girl" who has had to stop physical activity such as running on my treadmill and extra shopping in the malls. I have 2 bulging disks and do not know how I got them. I am in so much pain. I went swimming tonight in hopes that my back would allow me to do rigorous exercise but, after 30 minutes I had to stop. I am looking for answers. I want to know if I will ever find relief or will I have to live with this pain the rest of my life. Doctors tell me to find relief in Epidural Steroid injections. I've had one. The first symptom I experienced was numbness and a tingling sensation down to my toes (terrible). After about one month of numbness I finallay experienced relief. Then, it faded. I continue to experience pain. I have had to stop lifting heavy objects and sometimes just even holding my purse is overwhelming.
I've read Dean's article. I am going to pray that as Dean says my back will return to its normal state after an exercise program.
Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:09 pm
Go to "Steven' just above your post on March 27th and click on the topic in the body.
This was my reply to Karen for her SI joint (I'm Bill P). Do the exercise I described for her using the blood pressure cuff. If the 1st one is too easy (as it was for her), then look further down and do the 2nd one.
I know this sounds like a one size fits all exercise, but it is critical to have your transversus abdominus working correctly. The reason is that for all stabilizing mechanisms (i.e. muscles) of the back to work the transversus abdominus (tva) needs to fire or activate first. If it is weak or shut off, none of the other lower back or abdominal muscles will function correctly. When working properly, the core muscles will dissipate shock or load away from the spine. When they are working in concert with one another, load is dissipated away from the spine and discs. The transversus abdominus is like the head coach for a sports team; if he/she is not there, the team may win the game that week, and possibly in the coming weeks, but eventually the team will falter without the head coach. Muscles move joints, but more importantly, they also dissipate the load from the body and back into the ground.
A majority of back pain starts rather insidiously over many years (unless you are involved in an accident). The core musculature develops faulty recruitment patterns and generally becomes deconditioned. In addition, given the number of hours we sit it is no wonder there is so much back pain today.
Rita, stay off of your treadmill until your back is conditioned properly. When running or walking on a treadmill, the moving belt tugs on the lead leg as it makes contact with the belt, starting it rearward underneath your torso. If the core is not strong enough to stabilize and counter balance this force, there is an imperceptible jerk on your lower back (through the psoas muscle). This is not as pronounced when you walk/run on a solid surface (floor or the ground). I am only briefly touching upon what is a much more complex topic, but nevertheless, the treadmill is tougher on a deconditioned core than walking/running on a solid surface.
Try this simple test to tell how well your Transversus Abdominus is functioning. Place a small object like the remote control unit for your television on the floor about 8 to 10 inches directly in front of your toes. Tie a string around your waist so it's just barely staying up (it's in light contact with your skin at the belly button level). Bend over mostly from the waist, and pick up the remote while noting what happens to the string. If your stomach draws inward and the string becomes loose, your core musculature is working. Most likely though, the string will stay the same, or worse, your stomach will push outward on the string making it more taut. The last two situations would describe a "sleeping head coach".
Stay with Dean's exercises in RYB and try the blood pressure cuff exercises on th floor. Read the instructions that I gave to Karen as your guide to determining pain level and activity. Posts were under "Sacroiliac Strain page 1 dated Mar 4th, Mar 14th and Mar 19th.
Your back will tell you through your perceived grade of pain if what you are doing is helpful, so remember to listen to it. Find activities that make your back feel better, or at least do not increase your perceived pain level before you start the activity. Here are a few exercises that others have found helpful, but remember - while one may help you the other one may not - your back will inform you of which one's best. Bicycling, circuit training, elliptical trainers, pilates and yoga.
Keep me posted as to your progress. Due to limited time, it may take me several days to answer, but I will respond. Good Luck.