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Scott M Henderson
01-05-2010, 09:18 PM
In December 2007 I injured my neck doing some striking drills. I believe it happened while my head was tilted back (chin up). At first I was just sore but over time it really knotted up at my C6-C7. I took some time off of weight training but then decided to “power through” it and will doing clean and jerks further injured it. It felt like something was torn around the C-6 /C-7.

So I took more time off but it never went away completely. It seems as if the best it gets is a dull ache in that spot. And then I will start to train again and it gets re-aggravated. The exercise that really aggravates it is if I press weight over head with both hands (keg presses, militaries, etc..). I have even tried really light weights (25 lb db’s) but that still fires it up.

I don't have any tingling down my arms but the pain does spread out towards my shoulders on the traps. But for the most part it is centralized right at the C-6. If I press on the C-6 it is painful.

I have tried massage, acupuncture, PT (although my PT was really lame), chiropractic, and traction. Ice, Ibuprofen, and not working out with weights are the only thing that seems to keep it manageable.


I just had a MRI and got the following from my DR: "MRI revealed: 'At C5-6 and C6-7 there are mild disk degenerative changes (including a tiny central disk protrusion at C6-7). No nerve root compression or impingement detected."

The impression the DR left me with was that was all that could be done. I feel my “condition” is unacceptable and there has to be an answer.

Has anyone else had something similar? Any suggestions? What about a steroid injection in that area?

Some quick background that might help. I am a 41 year old male with a long drug free bodybuilding, powerlifting, Crossfitting history. 5'10 / 185.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Steven Low
01-05-2010, 10:04 PM
You need a PT who is very good with manual therapy.

If there's not structural changes it is muscular.

Lots and lots of massage, and lots and lots of heat.

And rest. Lots of rest. STOP AGGRAVATING IT.

Helen Lawson
06-18-2010, 06:45 AM
You need a PT who is very good with manual therapy.

If there's not structural changes it is muscular.

Lots and lots of massage, and lots and lots of heat.

And rest. Lots of rest. STOP AGGRAVATING IT.

I have a similar situation: I've had severe neck pain (with accompanied shoulder, chest & arm pain & numbness) for 12 weeks with no known cause. Physical therapy for 4 weeks (not much massage), 1 massage ~ weekly, chiropractor weekly. X-Rays showed minor straightening (which i've known from an x-ray 10 years ago.) MRI shows very minor 'age related degeneration' (I'm 41 - very old!)

Pain is ~ 50% improved since it started but still bothersome almost every minute of every day. Better while working out, applying heat or getting massage but comes back within 1 hour after.

The physical therapist i went to said 'Never do overhead press or handstands' and 'Only do pull-ups with 100+ lbs assistance' (I weigh ~130). So, she is not a very good source of information.

I have been doing very limited & light weight deadlifts, push-ups, bench press, dips, american kb swing & pull-ups for ~ the past 2 weeks. I tried overhead press once and was very weak. I have not done any tuck sits, ohs, cleans, snatches, sdlhp, handstands, etc... since the pain started.

My questions are: At what point should i start adding upper body work back into my workouts? Do i wait until the pain is totally gone?

Thanks for any input.

Brad Davis
06-18-2010, 09:00 PM
I'll be very interested to see how your situation turns out and what you learn because I have a very similar problem. Years ago, I had four concussions playing HS sports and I have a degenerating cervical disc. Mine's almost always a dull ache and I get tingling on my left hand and arm if I hold my neck certain ways for very long.

I saw an orthopedic surgeon back in March and he told me I am now retired from anything that loads that disc. Deadlifts, squats, cleans, snatches, overhead press, etc. He said that it will get worse. It's just a matter of how fast. If I speed up the wear and tear, I'll be very sorry according to him.

Now that's what the first MD said. I have located who I think is the most "lifter friendly" orthopedic surgeon in our city and am going to see him next month to see if his opinion is the same.

As an aside, I also have a degenerative eye nerve problem stemming from those concussions. Causes occasional double vision. My eye MD told me that I have a better than 50/50 chance at permanent double vision at some point. No way I'm letting any of my kids play any sport that has a decent chance of concussion. These problems are just too serious and permanent. Not like pulling a hammy LOL. They also show up years later, so just because so-and-so boxer or whatever has been KOed a few times and looks fine means nothing. My ophthalmologist said he sees problems like mine on a regular basis.

Steven Low
06-18-2010, 10:53 PM
I have a similar situation: I've had severe neck pain (with accompanied shoulder, chest & arm pain & numbness) for 12 weeks with no known cause. Physical therapy for 4 weeks (not much massage), 1 massage ~ weekly, chiropractor weekly. X-Rays showed minor straightening (which i've known from an x-ray 10 years ago.) MRI shows very minor 'age related degeneration' (I'm 41 - very old!)

Pain is ~ 50% improved since it started but still bothersome almost every minute of every day. Better while working out, applying heat or getting massage but comes back within 1 hour after.

The physical therapist i went to said 'Never do overhead press or handstands' and 'Only do pull-ups with 100+ lbs assistance' (I weigh ~130). So, she is not a very good source of information.

I have been doing very limited & light weight deadlifts, push-ups, bench press, dips, american kb swing & pull-ups for ~ the past 2 weeks. I tried overhead press once and was very weak. I have not done any tuck sits, ohs, cleans, snatches, sdlhp, handstands, etc... since the pain started.

My questions are: At what point should i start adding upper body work back into my workouts? Do i wait until the pain is totally gone?

Thanks for any input.
Find a new physical therapist.

Yours sounds poor.

Brad Davis
06-19-2010, 05:50 AM
I have a similar situation: I've had severe neck pain (with accompanied shoulder, chest & arm pain & numbness) for 12 weeks with no known cause. Physical therapy for 4 weeks (not much massage), 1 massage ~ weekly, chiropractor weekly. X-Rays showed minor straightening (which i've known from an x-ray 10 years ago.) MRI shows very minor 'age related degeneration' (I'm 41 - very old!)
....
I'm a little confused. Does the MD think the degeneration is causing the pain? I thought Step 1 was to get a solid handle on exactly what's causing the problem and then come up with a plan. At least that's been the process for the 4-5 injuries I've had in the last few years. From your description, it seems like they don't really know what's up and just went into PT. I'm no PT expert, but to come up with a good plan, don't they have to first know exactly what's wrong?

Helen Lawson
06-19-2010, 08:07 AM
Find a new physical therapist.

Yours sounds poor.

Yeah I agree...however.... at $35 a visit to all these doctors & $80 for massage, i've spent well over $2,000 and still have pain and no answers. I'm taking a break from giving people free $ for a while...my pockets are empty!

I'm a little confused. Does the MD think the degeneration is causing the pain? I thought Step 1 was to get a solid handle on exactly what's causing the problem and then come up with a plan. At least that's been the process for the 4-5 injuries I've had in the last few years. From your description, it seems like they don't really know what's up and just went into PT. I'm no PT expert, but to come up with a good plan, don't they have to first know exactly what's wrong?

Yup, your right, nobody has told me whats causing it. The only diagnosis i've gotten is 'cervical radiculopathy' (sp?) which from what i've read means 'neck pain'.

I have located who I think is the most "lifter friendly" orthopedic surgeon in our city and am going to see him next month to see if his opinion is the same.


I'd like to know what he says about 'loading the disk'. My theory is usually that if you can strengthen the muslcles around the area it can only help.

Steven Low
06-19-2010, 01:18 PM
If your chiro and PT both aren't doing much.... and it's really the massage that are helping you really need to find a new health professionals to work with.

The fact that the massage helps, at least temporarily, shows there is a problem that can be fixed for the most part. You just need a professional who can DO that. Also, the fact that your MRI shows only a little age related degeneration means it likely is a soft tissue problem that CAN be fixed.

I don't know how much your exercise is playing a role in actually helping or hurting, but it may be a good idea to take a break from that for a while and see if it improves. At least, get your form checked or something as well. Improper head positioning in a lot of exercises like squats/DL/pullups/etc. can mess with your spinal nerves and/or muscles.

As I said, if your professionals SUCK then get new ones. No need to keep busting your butt going to people who aren't helping you. Hell, if I was your therapist and I wasn't able to help you effectively I'd try to refer you to someone else who can.

Brad Davis
06-19-2010, 02:12 PM
...I'd like to know what he says about 'loading the disk'. My theory is usually that if you can strengthen the muslcles around the area it can only help.
I'll report back when I know more.

I think your theory is right about the lower back. For the back, strengthening the muscles helps to hold the spine in a more favorable position under load, so the disc doesn't get hammered as much during those lifts and during everyday life. I think the neck is different. Deadlifts, squats, etc. don't strengthen the neck very much. Even if the neck muscles are strengthened, so what? It doesn't take a lot of neck strength to hold it in the best position to resist load. Also, even if the neck is held in its best position, the disc is still taking a lot of axial stress--whatever load is being supported by the traps divided by the area which is pretty small.

From what I've read about these problems, I'm not very optimistic about what I'll be told at my second opinion. However, I've lifted weights for many years, including competitive powerlifting, and I don't give up without knowing there's no other way. Sometimes, an activity really is over. That's life. (crossing my fingers that's not the case for anybody here, or for me)

Brad Davis
06-19-2010, 02:39 PM
I forgot to type something else that might be helpful or informative at least. I asked Mark Rippetoe about this after my first MD appt. He recommended to keep lifting and use chiropractic care to try and help keep the disc as happy as possible. However, he did say that discs don't get better and it is likely that the disc will go downhill and require fusion at some point even with chiropractic care. Rip had a fusion at 43 for this exact kind of situation. I haven't decided if it's the right thing for me personally go ahead and lift whatever I want, basically planning a fusion at some point. Whether that's smart is up to debate. I'm sure the first MD would want to stamp "idiot" on my forehead if I went that route. Fusion is pretty major stuff, not like many of the other surgeries people talk about having commonly--knees, shoulders, etc. We're talking about the cervical spine...

David Reynolds
06-21-2010, 12:12 AM
Hey, i experience minor to moderate neck pain at least a few days a week. I do lots of ohs, deads, and snatches. The pain is dull and radiates towards my shoulders. Feels like inflammation. Especially after a heavy dead or snatch day. I love these movements, iam 32 and hope i will be able to continue to do them. I have tried massage thereapy, trigger point, shoulder stretches, foam rolling, yeh this stuff feels good, aids in healing but pain seems to come on back. When i turn my head or roll it from side to side i have crunchy sounds only audible to my ears, kinda weird

Helen Lawson
06-21-2010, 08:05 AM
If your chiro and PT both aren't doing much.... and it's really the massage that are helping you really need to find a new health professionals to work with.

The fact that the massage helps, at least temporarily, shows there is a problem that can be fixed for the most part. You just need a professional who can DO that. Also, the fact that your MRI shows only a little age related degeneration means it likely is a soft tissue problem that CAN be fixed.

I don't know how much your exercise is playing a role in actually helping or hurting, but it may be a good idea to take a break from that for a while and see if it improves. At least, get your form checked or something as well. Improper head positioning in a lot of exercises like squats/DL/pullups/etc. can mess with your spinal nerves and/or muscles.

As I said, if your professionals SUCK then get new ones. No need to keep busting your butt going to people who aren't helping you. Hell, if I was your therapist and I wasn't able to help you effectively I'd try to refer you to someone else who can.

Thanks Steven. I took about 3 weeks almost totally off from exercise when it started. Hopefully that was enough rest. For now I'll stick with massage as it seems to be getting better and i have LMTs I trust. If it doesn't get better soon then i'll go searching for better Ortho & PTs.

Sometimes, an activity really is over. That's life. (crossing my fingers that's not the case for anybody here, or for me)
oh god! I certainly hope not...not for any of us!

I forgot to type something else that might be helpful or informative at least. I asked Mark Rippetoe about this after my first MD appt. He recommended to keep lifting and use chiropractic care to try and help keep the disc as happy as possible. However, he did say that discs don't get better and it is likely that the disc will go downhill and require fusion at some point even with chiropractic care.

However, I'm with you on this....I don't think i would continue if this were the case.

Hey, i experience minor to moderate neck pain at least a few days a week. I do lots of ohs, deads, and snatches. The pain is dull and radiates towards my shoulders. Feels like inflammation. Especially after a heavy dead or snatch day. I love these movements, iam 32 and hope i will be able to continue to do them. I have tried massage thereapy, trigger point, shoulder stretches, foam rolling, yeh this stuff feels good, aids in healing but pain seems to come on back. When i turn my head or roll it from side to side i have crunchy sounds only audible to my ears, kinda weird
Have you tried all the neck & trap stretches several times daily? At first I also had those weird crunchy noises, but they are gone now for the most part....I've been spending about a total of 20-30 minutes a day (spread out) stretching neck & traps. Took about 2 weeks of this stretching for the pain to start to subside...I'm still waiting for it to totally go away.

Lisa Nelson
06-21-2010, 02:01 PM
I would also love to get some input from folks with similar injuries. My background is in rock climbing...for 20+years. I'm 44 and have been doing crossfit for about two years, although I haven't done a non modified work out in 6 months. Last Feb, during ice climbing season I started to experience what I thought were rotator cuff injury/impingement syndrom symptoms. They got progressively worse and now I have really bad elbow tendinitis. I have done Astem, Accupuncture and Rolfing work....lots of massage, ice and rest. ALso, mega good quality fish oil and Zyflamend. Nothing was helping. About a week ago, at the request of my practitioner I got an ex-ray on my neck. The disc between C5 and C6 appears to be gone and there are many bone spurs between the two disks. The Dr. said it was bone on bone. I had chiro done for the first time last week and felt immediate relief, but it only lasted a day or so. If I understand it correctly, the nerves that attach to those vert. are really inflamed, that causes the muscle imbalance and has a trickle down affect to the rest of my arm.
I'm trying to figure out what aggravates it, as it sometimes hurts hours or days later. I know that belaying (when i have to crane my neck upward to look at my partner) is bad. I also think biking hurts it. I'm have no idea what type of crossfit stuff hurts it. I can live w/o CF, but climbing is my life.
I think at this point, I'm going to try more chiro and traction. Massage to release the tight muscles. Maybe NSAIDS...but I was trying to stay away from those.
Also, I'm wondering will the bone eventually fuse itself at some point?
Thanks, Lisa

Helen Lawson
06-22-2010, 11:48 AM
I would also love to get some input from folks with similar injuries. My background is in rock climbing...for 20+years. I'm 44 and have been doing crossfit for about two years, although I haven't done a non modified work out in 6 months. Last Feb, during ice climbing season I started to experience what I thought were rotator cuff injury/impingement syndrom symptoms. They got progressively worse and now I have really bad elbow tendinitis. I have done Astem, Accupuncture and Rolfing work....lots of massage, ice and rest. ALso, mega good quality fish oil and Zyflamend. Nothing was helping. About a week ago, at the request of my practitioner I got an ex-ray on my neck. The disc between C5 and C6 appears to be gone and there are many bone spurs between the two disks. The Dr. said it was bone on bone. I had chiro done for the first time last week and felt immediate relief, but it only lasted a day or so. If I understand it correctly, the nerves that attach to those vert. are really inflamed, that causes the muscle imbalance and has a trickle down affect to the rest of my arm.
I'm trying to figure out what aggravates it, as it sometimes hurts hours or days later. I know that belaying (when i have to crane my neck upward to look at my partner) is bad. I also think biking hurts it. I'm have no idea what type of crossfit stuff hurts it. I can live w/o CF, but climbing is my life.
I think at this point, I'm going to try more chiro and traction. Massage to release the tight muscles. Maybe NSAIDS...but I was trying to stay away from those.
Also, I'm wondering will the bone eventually fuse itself at some point?
Thanks, Lisa

Lisa, What did your doctor tell you to do about it? Did they suggest physical therapy? Or surgery?

Lisa Nelson
06-22-2010, 12:36 PM
I found out the day before I was moving out of town....so I didn't have a lot of time to visit with my Dr. Anyway, he suggested traction and chiro...not surgery, but he's a alternative Dr. and probably would only recommend surgery as a last option.
I wonder if icing my neck would help and possibly wearing a collar. I'm going to try traction as well. I just don't really understand what aggravates it because the pain is delayed and is probably from the muscles being irritated and overused, not actual neck pain.

Brad Davis
06-22-2010, 08:46 PM
...Also, I'm wondering will the bone eventually fuse itself at some point?...
Don't think so. Seems more likely that bone spurs and disc material will press on nerves and cause numbness and maybe pain radiating all the way down to the fingers.

I'm a little suspicious of the idea that the disc is "gone." That doesn't sound right. I think I'd get someone else to look at it also. Was your guy an orthopedic surgeon? How can yours have gotten to the point of being bone-on-bone without some very serious discomfort from the disc being squished out all over the place and hitting lots of nerves? Also seems like you would've gotten shorter by a noticeable amount, LOL.

I actually have a story about this kind of thing. Back in HS, I had some x-rays done on my back. The general practitioner said that one of my lumbar discs was about 1/4 the thickness of the others and chalked it up to a birth defect. I was at an orthopedic surgeon about 4-5 months ago and he said that was bullcrap and the first guy just didn't interpret the images correctly. That disc is the same as the others.

BTW, my guess is that you have a decent chance at climbing. The problem movements seem to be ones that load the arms which load the traps and puts cervical discs in direct compression, and a lot of it. Stuff like deadifts and overhead press. During climbing, it seems like you're pulling the other direction. If you're cranking your neck, then maybe that will cause some issues, but it seems like that might be overcome, unlike in the case of DLs where I think it's probably checkmate or major surgery. (in which case it's probably still checkmate because the other discs nearby might be close behind and one can't just fuse all of them)

Steven Low
06-23-2010, 10:44 PM
If it's bone on bone you would not want to move your neck at all. Any movement hurts when it's like that.

I'd see a different doc... seems like good docs are harder to find nowadays heh

Lisa Nelson
06-25-2010, 08:14 AM
Ya. I kind of wondered how the disc could be gone....also wondered if an x-ray was a reliable way to diagnose. maybe it just didn't show up on the x-ray. he said there were lot of bone spurs. i'm sure an mri or cat scan would be better. i'm sending for my med records and going to look for someone in flagstaff.

Lisa Nelson
06-25-2010, 09:02 AM
Also, if I knew what movements to avoid in CF and life...that would be really helpful.

Lawrence "Bo" Boland III
06-25-2010, 09:28 AM
Lisa, def see a chiro or PT. I've been seeing a PT for 2 weeks now. He's certain that my neck pain is caused by poor thoracic mobility, combined with poor posture (I sit at a desk all day and tend to crane my neck forward. You should be tucking your chin back).

I've been working with him on strengthening specific back/neck muscles, as well as having him massage the sore points. I'm not 100%, but it definitely seems like the right track.

Just my 2 cents

Brad Davis
06-25-2010, 10:24 AM
Also, if I knew what movements to avoid in CF and life...that would be really helpful.
You should definitely talk to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in necks. I will tell you what my first one said, but it's not good.

Avoid any exercise that loads the disc or cranks the neck: squats, DL, cleans, snatches, OHS, overhead presses, neck bridges, mobililty drills, etc. Depending on severity, running and jumping also because of the inertial force from the head acceleration.

Good news is that downward pulling exercises seem OK: pullups, climbing.

Bench press is also OK assuming you don't push your head into the bench.

There are other exercises out there besides the ones that CF uses all the time: bulgarian split squats, reverse hypers, etc. etc. that accomplish a lot of the same things.

Steven Low
06-26-2010, 09:26 PM
Lisa, def see a chiro or PT. I've been seeing a PT for 2 weeks now. He's certain that my neck pain is caused by poor thoracic mobility, combined with poor posture (I sit at a desk all day and tend to crane my neck forward. You should be tucking your chin back).

I've been working with him on strengthening specific back/neck muscles, as well as having him massage the sore points. I'm not 100%, but it definitely seems like the right track.

Just my 2 cents

I coulda told you that one. ;)

Lisa Nelson
06-27-2010, 07:23 AM
Thanks guys. It seems like my work may be bothering it as well...really strange, but i'm sore the day after a lot of time spent at the computer. Going to look into how I can improve that.

Helen Lawson
06-28-2010, 08:57 AM
You should definitely talk to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in necks. I will tell you what my first one said, but it's not good.

Avoid any exercise that loads the disc or cranks the neck: squats, DL, cleans, snatches, OHS, overhead presses, neck bridges, mobililty drills, etc. Depending on severity, running and jumping also because of the inertial force from the head acceleration.
Good news is that downward pulling exercises seem OK: pullups, climbing.

Bench press is also OK assuming you don't push your head into the bench.
There are other exercises out there besides the ones that CF uses all the time: bulgarian split squats, reverse hypers, etc. etc. that accomplish a lot of the same things.


So funny.... when i went to PT for my neck my PT told me that squats, deadlifts, mobility drills, running & jumping were all fine. And that bench press & pull-ups were not! But then when i went back after doing my first deadlift workout after my neck started hurting she asked how much i lifted and I told her 80 lbs (sets of 10 just to test it out and see how it felt) and she said something like "Oh my GOD! 80 lbs is way too much! You should never lift that much! What are you doing that for?" :rofl: That was when i knew I wouldn't be going back.

Thanks guys. It seems like my work may be bothering it as well...really strange, but i'm sore the day after a lot of time spent at the computer. Going to look into how I can improve that.

Sitting at a computer is by far one of the worst things you can do to your body! Find someone that can assess your posture (standing and sitting) and give you exercises & stretches to improve it! good luck!

Greg Major
07-06-2010, 06:25 PM
I had two discs removed about a year ago. Best thing I ever did. I did therapy, chiropractic, massage, and injections. Nothing worked and I was in constant pain. I was running in a few days after the surgery and hitting WODs near 100% not too far after. I was able to compete at the regionals in Denver for the Masters with no problems. If everything else isn't working, check into your surgical options, as a last resort of course. I knew I had to do something.

Brad Davis
07-07-2010, 05:27 AM
Greg, that is very cool. I'd love to read more details. Were these cervical discs? Which ones? What exact kind of surgery? If they're both cervical, then how's your neck ROM now with a good chunk of the cervical discs fused? Is there concern that adjacent remaining ones will be hit harder now because they have to provide all of the ROM?

Very interested. I have a congenital fusion at C3-C4 and if I had my messed up C5-C6 fused, that would be like yours if you had two cervical discs fused.

Greg Major
07-07-2010, 09:00 AM
Brad, I had the two discs between C5 and C7 removed and some bone spurs that were irritating the nerves removed. The discs were replaced with slices of tibia bone from a cadaver. Then it was all tightened down with a titanium plate and a couple screws. I've lost very little ROM. A little forward and lateral flexion but hardly noticeable. Pain is completely gone and numbness in my thumb, index finger, and wrist is almost back to normal. The down side is I'm noticing other unrelated little aches and pains so much more now. But overall I feel great. For me it was my only choice. I couldn't give up having a fit healthy lifestyle that includes lifting heavy stuff overhead, kipping pull-ups, muscle-ups, running, rowing, throwing, jumping, etc, etc...

Brad Davis
07-11-2010, 11:54 AM
Greg, thanks for the info. I have another question, though. Did the MD say anything about there being additional concern for the adjacent discs now that you have (I assume, from your description): C5-C6 and C6-C7 fused? I have C3-C4 congentically fused and C5-C6 is probably degenerated according to my last ortho. I'm wondering what would happen if I had C5-C6 fused, leaving a LOT of the ROM to be taken up by C4-C5. Any ideas? I'm heading in for a second opinion at a supposedly friendlier ortho this week. My last guy, I believe, was pretty hostile toward lifters and basically thinks we're all stupid for lifting stuff LOL.

Brad Davis
07-15-2010, 12:07 PM
As promised, this is a report of my orthopedic surgeon second opinion. WOW, what a difference between MDs! So different that I'm really confused now. Posting this in case it's helpful for anybody.

Quick summary of the first visit: Went in because lower back was aching a little and I've had chronic neck pain for years. I had just graduated from SS:BBT to 5/3/1. 39 year old male with four concussions 25 years ago in HS and a former (15 years ago) competitive PLing background. The orthopedic surgeon said that my C5-C6 disc looked worn out much more than expected at 39, probably due to the concussions and subsequent PLing. His opinion was that if I was smart, I would forget any thought of lifting anything heavy ever again. He said that I also had an irregularity (like a little wedge of vertebrae broken off and sitting there on the anterior side) in my lower back that was probably caused by a basketball injury at 17 and that the disc above that vertebrae was in trouble also. Drop DLs and BSs forever and do everything else at high reps, preferably >16. No burpees. No running. No jumping. No anything that loads the discs. Make friends with an elliptical machine and throw away my weightlifting shoes. Not joking or using hyperbole.

Second ortho visit: Same info going in, completely different opinion. He said that disc degeneration is a normal process and that its speed is >90% genetic and that issues like smoker vs nonsmoker make a ton more difference than choice of activity. He said these ideas are fairly new, like the last 10 years or so. He said that it would get worse, but there is no way to determine the speed nor if any particular activities would speed it up. I actually asked him if I had two lifetimes and in one I never lifted anything and got all of my exercise on an elliptical machine and in the other, I was a competitive PLer, which would cause faster degeneration. He said there was no way to know and that it probably wouldn't matter. His hunch is that higher reps will wear it out faster than doing smaller rep sets with heavy weight, but he said there was no way to know this either. As for the lower back, he said it looked completely normal and that the little irregularity is something he sees very commonly and shouldn't make me think there will be a problem. He said that it was likely there at birth and had nothing to do with an injury. As for repairs, he also said that fusion is still the gold standard if the situation goes downhill far enough, but that disc replacements have been around a little while now and the results appear good. He said that fusion does sometimes cause adjacent discs to degenerate faster, but there's no way to know if that'll happen or how fast. I asked him about traction, chiro, etc., and he said I could do those if it made me feel better (emotionally), but they wouldn't do anything. "Do anything" as in improve the discs or predictably change the rate of degeneration.

The bottom line from his perspective is that I need to get back to work doing whatever I want to do. If there is some kind of injury or faster degeneration, then go from there. He is a bit down on deadlifts, and said that perfect form DLs are fine, but that most lifters don't do them well enough *every time* for them to be worth it. It's absolutely 100% critical that they be done with near perfect form or else they are a much higher liability than benefit over the long haul. I tend to agree for lifters who tend to round out, but my experience is that if one is a stickler for keeping an absolute perfect lumbar curve, and holds off going for absolute max attempts, then DL are safer than squats. They're definitely a more natural movement. (Try to find a BS-like movement in nature...)

Now that I have two guys with >15 years of school and 10 years experience in this exact area telling me completely different opinions, I'm back to just doing whatever I feel like doing... LOL

Anthony Ricci
07-15-2010, 01:21 PM
Disc degeneration -a normal aging process. Why are only the damaged segments affected ( a genetic timebomb maybe LOL) . I will give you a biased opinion from a DC and a good friend (Neurosurgeon) -don't get surgery unless you have tried everything and have nerve damage developing (weakness) . I have had 2 herniations and rehabbed both C5-6 and L5-S1 . No surgery and I CF and golf and work on many patients a day. Just sayin.

Brad Davis
07-15-2010, 01:45 PM
Disc degeneration -a normal aging process. Why are only the damaged segments affected ( a genetic timebomb maybe LOL) .
There are several that show wear and tear. It's just that C5-C6 is somewhat worse. No good explanation as to the reason. First ortho said it was clearly from concussions 25 years ago. Second ortho said there was no way to validly speculate about something like that.

I will give you a biased opinion from a DC and a good friend (Neurosurgeon) -don't get surgery unless you have tried everything and have nerve damage developing (weakness) .
Seems reasonable. I asked him about surgery options to get a handle on the fallback plan if things do start going downhill.

Helen Lawson
08-08-2010, 01:57 PM
Well, i certainly don't think my issues are as bad as Brad, Greg or some of the other posters here. A brief summary: Neck 'stiffness' started 6 months ago. Pain started 5 months ago. X-ray & MRI showed mild straightening only and ortho said "mild age related degeneration". PT said 'never' do anything overhead...LOL!

The pain is about 70% of what is was a few months ago... so it is much better. I've returned to most, but not all overhead work at extremely light weights.

The pain now seems to have settled mostly in my right SCM. It spreads to my traps, pecs, arms, down to wrists whenever I try to do anything heavy upper body. My right armpit still turns numb when i do too much as well. I have been massaging the SCM and it is SCREAMING sore :yikes: (even after 1 week totally off from exercise recently). And, I feel extremely weak...my push-up, pull-up, press, bench, etc... numbers are way down from where they were before all this started. Push-ups seem the be the worst! Bench & Press are coming along very slowly. I was never very strong...but before this i was able to do 5 military push-ups...now my neck starts screaming after 5 knee push-ups!

Any suggestions on what i can do to get that SCM to calm down?

Steven Low
08-10-2010, 10:20 AM
Go to a good ART person...

SCM can be variable... if there's problems there there's also likely other problems with other muscles in your neck too.

Steven Low
08-10-2010, 10:21 AM
Go to a good ART person.

If there's problems in your SCM it's likely that there's other hotspots in toher mucsles in your neck too. Especially your scalenes which is probably why you're getting numbness in brachial plexus area.

Helen Lawson
08-21-2010, 05:29 AM
Go to a good ART person.

If there's problems in your SCM it's likely that there's other hotspots in toher mucsles in your neck too. Especially your scalenes which is probably why you're getting numbness in brachial plexus area.


Thanks Steven.

I've tried traditional methods of chiropractic, massage, Physical Therapy, orthopedic, X-rays, MRI and even the full 10 sessions of Rolfing. To no avail (or at least all of very little help). I finally went to the 1 and only Active Release Technique (ART) provider in the area (45 minutes from me). The session was quite painful (as i would expect) and left me more sore today but hopefully it will be the right thing long term.

He agreed with my assessment that the entire thing started with a knot under 1 of my shoulder blades that nobody has been able to get out. He said it is mostly the erectors & levator scapulae that are wicked tight & knotted up. Of course they are pulling on the scm, scalenes & traps (on both sides)....and affecting the brachial plexus all the way down to my fingers on the same side.

I'll give you all my assessment of the Active Release Technique (ART) after a few more sessions.

Helen

Steven Low
08-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Sounds good to me...