PDA

View Full Version : Back Rehab (please read if you have herniated disc experience)


Júlíus G. Magnússon
10-29-2008, 09:17 PM
Some of you might remember this incident (http://performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2735).

If not, don't worry. Since then, I've gone to a doctor. Had some kind of scan and had determined that I had a pretty fucked up herniated L5-S1. Not enough to warrant surgery, though, thankfully.

Getting an appointment with the doctor took a while, then getting the results from the scan and getting a physical therapist.

I think I got a physical therapist who's not completely clueless. Been seeing him once or twice a week now for about a month and I'm tons better than when I started with him (although not too close to where I want to be yet). He's suggested I swim alot, which gave me an excuse to dig up Total Immersion and actually read it and I think the swimming has actually helped.

Last week or two I feel like I've kind of plateued as far as progress goes and my PT has suggested I start to strengthen the lower back.

He told me to stay away from hip and back extensions and suggested supermans (you know, lift your arms and legs up while lying on your front). I think he's being too conservative and would like some opinions.

Anyone with herniated disc experiences have any exercises they recommend?

I'm not too comfortable with the rounded good mornings of Bill Starr's rehab method, this being a disc injury and I'm also not sure if Rippetoe's muscle-belly injury rehab (http://www.strengthmill.net/forum/showthread.php?t=700) is what I should be looking at?

Any insight?

Steven Low
10-30-2008, 06:12 AM
I'd start very slow -- supermans are a good idea IMO.

Basically, if it starts bulging/pressing on the spinal cord again it's very hard to get any of the swelling to go down in that area and could set you back for a bit.

Emily Mattes
10-30-2008, 08:25 AM
Well, it's not really a muscle-belly issue. I've heard herniated disks can be terrifically hard to come back from, so maybe it's good if you start conservatively. It sucks, but it would ensure you don't re-injure yourself.

Garrett Smith
10-30-2008, 10:42 AM
Read Stuart McGill's stuff and utilize it.

Front, back, side planks.

Isometric holds, standing position, preventing a horizontally-oriented cable from twisting you sideways. The basic idea is maintaining a standing neutral spine against a rotary force--this can be done with bands as well.

Mild, easy, simple yoga.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
11-02-2008, 02:38 PM
Thanks, guys (and girl). I really should make it my priority to not re-injure myself, I guess...

Garrett, thanks for the recommendation. According to the library database a library here in Iceland actually has "Low back disorders : evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation" by Stuart McGill. I'll have to order it, though, and it'll probably take a few days, but looking around the guy looks pretty solid.

Planks are a good idea as well, I'll definitely be implementing them.

About the isometric holds... do you mean like in a cable machine, standing, holding the cable to my side and not letting it twist me?

Garrett Smith
11-03-2008, 06:28 AM
About the isometric holds... do you mean like in a cable machine, standing, holding the cable to my side and not letting it twist me?

Exactly. Same general concept of the plank, as in holding the body rigid against resistance, only this is working against a rotary/twisting force versus simply gravity. While you are rehabbing, you would be best off to have someone hand you the cable in your "working position" rather than you having to twist to get it into position. This is not a max effort exercise.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
11-03-2008, 11:53 AM
Got it. Thanks a lot, Garrett.

Garrett Smith
11-03-2008, 12:41 PM
One last clarification...arms are held straight out to the front, elbows locked, holding the same cable handle, the actual cable is at the level of the arms/shoulders.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
11-03-2008, 04:53 PM
Oh. Damn. I just did these earlier... 3x30s each arm, holding the cable with only one hand with my arm on my side bent 90° so that my forearm was vertical. Really didn't feel it doing much for me.

So, arms horizontal at shoulder height, both hands holding the same cable handle straight in front of me?

I'll give that a try before my swim tomorrow. Thanks.

Garrett Smith
11-04-2008, 04:58 AM
Julius,
These are more of an intro rehab exercise--most decently "functionally fit" people find rehab exercises pretty easy.

What you did earlier sounds like it would put the tension on your rotator cuff much more than your torso...

Kris Reeves
11-05-2008, 01:35 PM
According to the library database a library here in Iceland actually has "Low back disorders : evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation" by Stuart McGill.

Júlíus -

I just bought this book and received it a few days ago. Solid information, but for me...most of it was too clinical. There is a section specifically for rehab, but most of the book reads like a medical textbook (I knew this buying it). The rehab section (while chock full of info) is geared more for a practitioner on how to begin back rehab for a patient with chronic pain.

If I were to do it over again I would probably buy his other book. "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance". This looks to be more sport performance based.

All in all it's got good information.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
11-05-2008, 02:35 PM
Thanks for the heads up, Kris. It sounds like a solid read. I'm thinking I should wait until my exams are over until reading it, though... I've got tons more than enough to read for the next month and a half already.