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Degenerative Disc Disease - Help!
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skimmy_jimmy
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 564

hey fellas, i recently found out i have degenerative disc disease in my lumbar area. i was told that i should probably eliminate squats, deadlifts, and all ab work. the ab work im not too upset about, but deads and squats i fucking LOVE doing. should i maybe find alternative exercises for these, or do them just using lighter weights, higher reps?

i just started CW's TBT, heres what mine looks like, if you could give me some help on what to adjust, id greatly appreciate it!

day 1 3x5
flat bb bench
rows
squats
deads
hammer curls
standing calf raises

day 2 3x8
incline db bench
db upright rows
front squats
good mornings
preacher curls
dips

day 3 2x15
decline bb bench
chin ups
db lunges
deads
seated calf raises
skull crushers

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undeadlift
Level

Join date: Jun 2007
Location:
Posts: 2144

Oh man, degenerative disc disease... What exactly is it and what does it do?

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Spud
Level

Join date: Aug 2005
Location: England
Posts: 31

Why were you told you had a disc problem, and who told you and what symptoms do you have. You in pain either low back down legs etc.
cheers Spud

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bushidobadboy
Level 3

Join date: Nov 2004
Location: Wales
Posts: 15565

DDD is not the lifting 'death sentence' some would have you believe.

Have a look at Eric Cressey's Back pain log in the authors locker room as there is some very relevant info.

You can choose to stop your favorite exercises and fade away, OR you can see a pro who understands rehabbing of backs, OR you can strive to educate yourself using the tools available here, there and everywhere.

Seeing a pro can cost plenteee muneee, but Eric lists a couple of books available on amazon, to help you on your way to self awareness.


Good luck,
Bushy

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skimmy_jimmy
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 564

well basically i was told that 2 of my discs are somwhat bulging and that i have DDD. he did make it sound pretty grim and that my lifting days were over, and they pretty much kicked me to the curb after that. basically my pain is pretty severe and constant, pains shooting from my lower back down my legs, sometimes my legs tingle if its bad enough.

im definitely going to see another doctor for another opinion because this doc told me all i could do was find a way to live with the pain, which i think is bullshit. they couldnt do surgery on me so they didnt really give a shit in my opinion. i have done alot of reading, but basically what ive read told me the same thing he told me.

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skimmy_jimmy
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 564

if i could get my MRI pictures to scan up properly i would show them

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Higher Game
Level 2

Join date: Dec 2006
Location:
Posts: 200

That's scary as hell. Did lifting injure your back or something? I don't want this to happen to me and have to stop squatting and pulling.

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katzenjammer
Level 5

Join date: Jun 2007
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 2298

Jimmy, that really sucks dude.

I don't know if this helps at all, but maybe you could still do single leg stuff, like pistols, somewhere down the line, if in fact you cannot get back under iron?

I'd follow Bushy's advice to start though.

One thing is unerrringly true: until you're in the grave there's always a way.

Cheers & good luck to you. ~Katz

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Spud
Level

Join date: Aug 2005
Location: England
Posts: 31

lots of people will have disc bulges, they only become a problem when they "insult" a nerve that's when you get the loss of power pain and tingling. First do no further damage, read read and then read some more. Find someone that is prepared to work with you i.e. a good Chiro and massuer that know what they are doing.

Adapt your training to suit your present situation, try different squats and deads, this is a time for innovation in your training it's not all negative by a long stretch.

I ruputured a disc and was laid up for 3 months was told I would never work for more than 3 days a week, but I'm back to work full time I learnt alot about the body and training during my rehab and avoided the "op" I was told i would need. Take care and heal fast. Cheers Spud

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gswork
Level

Join date: Jul 2007
Location:
Posts: 646

i'm sure the doc is trying to get you away from compression and bending or twisting, as that may aggrevate things. it doesnt leave you lots of options but until you've had the second opinion and really get ontop of the condition i would stay away from bending/compressing training - thats squats and deadlifts out.

Might want to check a chiropracter too.

theres a site called spine-health.com that may be useful to you

there may be a time later on when reppier sets of some kind of pull, like a sumo deadlift, would be possible but your back needs to come first.

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chriscarani
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2006
Location:
Posts: 203

Hey man sorry to hear about your problem. Have you ever heard of spinal decompression? This type of therapy goes under many names, Vax D, http://www.vax-d.com/ is one of them. I have a number of clients who have had complete elimination of pain for long periods of time with this therapy. The most important thing once you get this done is to still continue with the preventative care.

A Chiropractor and a massage therapist who practices Trigger Point Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy can keep most soft tissue problems as bay. Posture specific stretching and proper training cycling will go a long way too.I have clients who still train hard with former disc injuries using these methods.That may have been all your doctor could do, but it is NOT all that you can do. Good luck man.

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skimmy_jimmy
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 564

thank you guys for the input. im not sure how this happened really, but about 4 years ago i broke my t-9 in an auto accident. never had lower back pains until about 6 months after once i was healed, it literally came out of nowhere one night and has came and gone since. it really flared up about in january when i finally got over my fears and threw deads and squats into my lifting routine because my legs have been so weak since the accident.

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bushidobadboy
Level 3

Join date: Nov 2004
Location: Wales
Posts: 15565

A bulging disc is actually at the milder end of the disc herniation spectrum - there is still protrusion, extrusion and sequestration to go...

It sounds as though you may have a slightly narrowed spinal canal, which is why you experience radicular pain from 'just a bulge' when a high proportion of the population actually have bulging discs yet are asymptomatic.

Anyway, some tips for you:

Flexion-distraction may help aleviate the symptoms. Basically lie forwards over a small diameter swiss ball. This flexes the lumbar spine which takes the strain off the posterior motion segment. It also provides a mild amount of 'traction', reducing the pressure on the disc itself.

Hold this for time, to allow the disc to 'reform' slightly, possibly reducing the extent of the bulge.

Secondly, try to ensure that you spend as little time as possible in a flexed and compressed spinal position.

So, always try to maintain your normal lumbar curvature - in the car, at work, and at home. NO MORE SLOUCHING! lol, as the combination of flexion and compression forces the nucleus pulposus (NP) (the jelly center of the disc) towards the back, making the bulge worse.

Try hyperextending the spine in a prone position, for time, as this has been shown to allow the NP to return to its normal, 'pre-injury' position.

Do this especially before lifting, and monitor your lordosis whilst training.

A mistake I made was to be over-zealous in trying to maintain lordosis, and I ended up with facet pain caused by hyperlordisis when lifting.

Try to perform a lot of single leg work, such as suats off a box, and deadlifts, etc.

Lunges and other glute-activating exercises should also be of benefit to you, although without actually being there, my 'advice' is pretty much useless.

See a good chiro, and follow that up by seeing a rehab specialist, and actually comply with what they tell you.


Best of luck,
Bushy.

PS - it's not unheard of for active individuals to come back from something like a disc bulge or herniation stronger and better than ever before, so don't get down about this. It can be fixed.

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skimmy_jimmy
Level 4

Join date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 564

thanx alot bushy, i really appreciate the words of advice and positive attitude given. its pretty sad when i get better advice from a total stranger on the internet than from a doctor im paying out the ass for. i will definitely do what you say, and trust me ive been doing a LOT of reading since posting this. i will definitely post back periodically to update my condition. thank you very much guys

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