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Old 10-29-2008, 09:17 PM   #1
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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Default Back Rehab (please read if you have herniated disc experience)

Some of you might remember this incident.

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 is what I should be looking at?

Any insight?
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:12 AM   #2
Steven Low
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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.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:25 AM   #3
Emily Mattes
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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.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:42 AM   #4
Garrett Smith
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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.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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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?
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
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.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:53 AM   #7
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Got it. Thanks a lot, Garrett.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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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.
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:58 AM   #10
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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...
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