View Full Version : Herniated Disc

Alex Kus
04-09-2004, 09:30 AM
Hey, during wednesdays WOD I herniated a disc in my lower back while doing the deadlifts. Really stupid on my part, I should have known to be more aware of my form, especially with high rep heavy deadlifts. About halfway up on one of my reps I got a shooting pain, kind of like someone stabbing me in between my vertebrae, that shot out across my back. I stoppped working out and went straight to the doctor. She said that it is probably a herniated disc, between L5 and S1. She ordered x-rays, gave me naproxen, and a physio-therapy request. The thing that got me is the nurse asked how it happened, and I told her doing deadlifts, and she asked if I was wearing a belt, and I told her that I was not, and she said "Well, I guess you deserve it then." She looked like she had not exercised in her entire life. People are so misinformed. I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through anything similar and what worked or did not work for them. Thank you and sorry for the long post.


Brian Hand
04-09-2004, 09:57 AM
Alex, don't get paniced about the injury. For one thing, without an MRI, the diagnosis is somewhat speculative. Second, things happen. Almost nobody has perfect discs, it is very likely whatever is going on in there will heal and you'll be fine before long. That nurse is a disgrace, not just for shooting off her mouth about something she knows nothing about, but for kicking a patient in the *** when they are down.

I have gone through this many times myself, and it isn't the end of the world. Here are some suggestions. Note that I am just sharing here, it would be really foolish for someone to try to give out medical advise on an internet forum.

It really pays to get the best care you can; this might be a very good chiropractor, or a very good MD, whatever, just find someone good. I am partial to chiropractic, because the physical therapy is very convenient and they don't sell surgery. However, the good ones are few and far between and hard to find.

I get relief from naproxen and ice. I keep an instant ice pack and a bottle of Alleve in my gym bag. If I think I've hurt myself I apply both immediately. Immediate treatment is a big help.

I let pain be the paramount guide in returning to activity. If it hurts, I am making it worse.

Number one secret rehab weapon: Reverse Back Extentions on the Swiss Ball! If I'm really hurting, sometimes a folded hand towel between the lower abdomen and the ball will help. Just above the "boys." This reduces the pressure on the discs even more. The reverse back extention gets the sacrum and vertebrae moving, and supports the spine in the whole range of movement.

Hanging knee ups are good too, but only when I'm walking around pain free.

I try to stretch the hamstrings. Tight hams often cause this injury, and the injury often causes them to tighten up even worse.

Hang in there, be patient, good luck.

Matt Toupalik
04-09-2004, 10:01 AM
Alex-I've been there a few times and am just getting over a low back injury.
What has helped me a lot has been to ice my low back several times throughout the day, especially after a low back workout.Initially, Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling.Avoiding sitting for long periods of times as well as working on my low back/hamstring flexibility has been very valuable.
Reverse hypers have helped quite a bit as well, though I would consult with a therapist first.
Hope your back heals soon.

Alex Kus
04-09-2004, 02:16 PM
Thanks for the words of encouragement and advice. Right now I pretty much have no choice but to rest it. I can barely bend at the waist, and can only sit for short periods of time. I will go to the physiotherapist on saturday or monday. They are good, I went there two years ago for my torn rotator cuff. My school is big on the sports medecine and they know what they are doing. The doctor said it would get worse in the first 24-48 hours, she wasn't wrong, and the naproxen has not seemed to do much. She also said I should see improvement in the first week, so we will see how it goes. Thanks again.


Patrick Johnston
04-14-2004, 04:53 PM
I have a significantly herniated disc at L4-L5. I have had this condition for about 10 years. I have to be careful with deadlifts and squats, but it has not stopped me from doing CrossFit, BJJ, boxing, etc.

In addition, my father is a spine surgeon who happens to do CrossFit, and BJJ as well. He too has had a herniated disc or two in his time.

My back really acts up about 2-3 times per year. During those times, I have great difficulty sitting, sleeping, etc. I have found the best thing for it actually is activity! BJJ really seems to help. My father always suggests working out to loosen things up and release endorphins. I also will take some anti-inflammatories (aspirin, etc.). Yoga seems to help as well.

On the downside, it always is causing me discomfort to some degree. I have just learned to live with it and work around it. We all have our cross to bear so to speak.

If I can be of any more assistance, or if you have additional questions, let me know.

Brad Hirakawa
04-15-2004, 11:42 AM

I cracked a vertebrae (L3) a few years back, with all the accompanying tissue damage. Crossfit has done wonders for rehab. Be patient, rest, listen to your body, and let us know if we can help!


Alex Kus
04-15-2004, 08:20 PM
Thanks for all of the positive support, it really is appreciated. I went to the physiothrapist on wednesday and they said it doesn't look too bad. The pain is centralized in the lower back and doesn't spread to the legs at all and they said that that is a good sign. It has improved slowly during the week and I've been doing some light stretching. I was thinking of doing some dips and pullups next week to stay active. I'm starting to get a bit restless after a week of inactivity, but I know I shouldn't push my luck. Thanks again for all of the input.


Andrew Brunson
04-22-2004, 01:25 PM

You might also find some help from the book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue. There's a separate chapter for pain on various body locations and what sort of whole body physical rehab to do to help. The low back routine takes about a half an hour, and it had me moving again immediately. It's phenomenal, and cheap. I used it with great success for a similar problem.


Lincoln Brigham
04-22-2004, 02:00 PM
"probably a herniated disc, between L5 and S1. She ordered x-rays"

Did you get that diagnosis of a herniated disc confirmed? Or is the diagnosis still in the "probable" stage?

Alex Kus
04-24-2004, 03:58 PM
The x-rays came back and they said my spinal alignment is good and there is no evidence of a large herniation, but they couldn't rule it out. Since the pain isn't radiating and it is improving they didn't order an MRI, which they need for a positive diagnosis.

I've been doing physiotherapy for a week and a half now, and my back is definitely getting better. It is still pretty stiff and sitting up and bending over is still painful. They are having me work on my lower abs a lot and putting those electrodes that contract your muscles on my lower back. I will probably go back to the gym and do some light work in a week or two, after I'm done exams.