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Karolyn Smith
10-05-2009, 12:28 PM
I am a Sgt in the US Army. A quick background to help understand my question. At 14 I joined the Elite ranks of Velodrome cycling, winning State/National titles and going for my shot at the Olympics at a US Olympic Trial, placing 3rd. I was asked to move to Australia to work under the guidance of the Australia Institute of Sport. In 2001, when the NY Towers fell, I gave up my cycling career and certain path to the Olympics and at 29, enlisted in the Army, as an Active Duty Combat Military Police officer. As a Combat MP I had several assignments. Conduct Law and Order missions while in Germany (Garrison) and when my unit deployed for OIF2, I went up into the Gun as the .50 and SAW machine gunner. I was also the second man in the stack on my RAID team as well as QRF and the Alpha member of the Personnel Security Detachment Team. Suffice to say, quite an accomplishment for a woman.

I have over 300 Combat missions in Baghdad, and many enemy engagements. 12 Roadside bombs and 1 carbomb later we come to the last day in sector in Iraq. My team was hit by a large IED, I was in the Gun and while not blown out of the turrant, I was blown backwards enough to cause some massive pain in my back. My unit was done with its year long combat tour and went back to our duty station, Germany.

It was discovered that my L4 s1, and L5 s1 are both slipped. Pain was almost intolerable. I have had 6 epi-Cortisone injections, physical therapy etc. I am now in a Reserve unit in San Diego. My Special Forces friends recommended CrossFit to me. Coming from an extensive Athlete background I do my best to stretch and walk daily but if I do more, suffer the next day. I do not want to get surgery on my back, which is the last current option with the VA,with whom im being treated by. As a Velodrome cyclist every gym move was a Power move, and quite honestly thats all I know.I have suffered atrophy in my legs which for a woman, is kind of a ego bummer. If I can find a way to get my core strength back, I can take some of this pain away, but unfortunally civilian therapists only get you back to a normal, civilian status..ie..walking. Can you give me some guidance as to what or whom I can talk to , so I can get my Soldiering back. I need to be close to 100% not for the safety of me, but for the safety of my Soldiers.

Steven Low
10-05-2009, 04:33 PM
It depends how bad the spondylolisthesis is really.

What can you do or what have you tried to do that give you pain and what doesn't give you pain?

Probably gonna have to really strengthen the core to stabilize the area, and it's possible heavy lifting is out unfortunately, heh.

Have you talked to any of the physical therapists about how to improve strengthening beyond walking?

Karolyn Smith
10-05-2009, 05:25 PM
thanks so much for posting spondylolisthesis . quite honestly I have been coddling my injury so long Im in atrophy which makes it worse. I walk almost every day but that really does nothing for my fitness, but it makes my mind feel better. Can you, or anyone suggest some cardio (I dont like to swim) that will help with core strength and spine mobility?

Steven Low
10-05-2009, 06:43 PM
You may want to start liking swimming..

What can you do without pain? Like what exercises? Squats? Anything?

It may be a good idea to check out some of the other back pain threads here as there's varying degrees of problems. If you can't do stuff like bodyweight squats you're gonna have to hit up the core work, and probably some open chain exercises to stave off atrophy.

Scott Borre
10-08-2009, 10:58 AM
Might want to think holistically. Perhaps see a holistic doctor (not sure if VA would cover this). Steve Ilg took a nasty fall when climbing and did most of his recovery with yoga.