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Michael Hazboun
10-11-2009, 10:30 PM
I am 20 years old and recently suffered a cervical disc herniation during a weight room accident. I was in relatively good shape before hand but haven't exercised at all really since the incident (5 months now). I have been cleared to start working out again very cautiously. I am limited in what I can do though. Mainly light weight exercises such as dumbell curls, pushups, pullups, rows, bodyweight squats, lunges, dips, and other light lifting as well as various machine work. No running but I can use the stationary bike and elliptical. I want to get back in the gym but I just don't really know what to do. I know for one that I need to get strength back in my arms, mostly in my forearms and wrist extensors since that is really where I have suffered the most atrophy due to the location of the disc (c5/c6).

This is, I should add, in addition to flexibility and rehabilitation work I am doing to regain thoracic mobility and ensure I am not making the situation worse.

Anyone have any suggestions as to where I can start and what kind of workouts I can do. I am a little lost since mostly all of my previous programs had been big lift strength programs, olympic lifts, sprinting, and crossfit.

Any help is appreciated.

Mike Mallory
10-12-2009, 08:59 AM
I am 20 years old and recently suffered a cervical disc herniation during a weight room accident. I was in relatively good shape before hand but haven't exercised at all really since the incident (5 months now). I have been cleared to start working out again very cautiously. I am limited in what I can do though. Mainly light weight exercises such as dumbell curls, pushups, pullups, rows, bodyweight squats, lunges, dips, and other light lifting as well as various machine work. No running but I can use the stationary bike and elliptical. I want to get back in the gym but I just don't really know what to do. I know for one that I need to get strength back in my arms, mostly in my forearms and wrist extensors since that is really where I have suffered the most atrophy due to the location of the disc (c5/c6).

This is, I should add, in addition to flexibility and rehabilitation work I am doing to regain thoracic mobility and ensure I am not making the situation worse.

Anyone have any suggestions as to where I can start and what kind of workouts I can do. I am a little lost since mostly all of my previous programs had been big lift strength programs, olympic lifts, sprinting, and crossfit.

Any help is appreciated.

You really need the help of a professional on this one to remain safe. It is totally do-able, but not the kind of advice you want to get over the internet.

It must be very individually based for quite a while, then you can hop into the anything-and-everything of crossfit

Elliot Royce
10-18-2009, 05:23 PM
Agree completely with Mike. Did you not go through physical therapy?

I had/have 2 cervical disk herniations (search here and I think you'll find some info) at C5/6 and C6/7. You need to figure out whether you are still getting interference with the nerves through a specific test that your ortho can administer. Assuming that's fine, then the main thing is to avoid provoking inflammation or any further extrusion. Basically anything over the head is going to be a potential problem as it can aggravate both the extrusion and the impingement on the nerve. Twisting motions can also do that. Trap shrugs and anything that tightens the neck and therefore puts more pressure on the disks are equally a problem.

HOWEVER, this doesn't mean you can't exercise if your doctor has determined that your neck is stable and you are not getting nerve interference. Just find work arounds.... For squats, for instance, get a squat belt from Iron Mind instead of loading a heavy bar around your neck.

But make sure your neck is stable and you are cleared for heavier exercise as you don't want to take chances. As I'm sure you experienced, herniations can be extremely painful and turn you into a different person.

Good news....I started O lifting about 4 years after the first symptoms of the herniation and rarely had any problems. And now, about 6 years after the herniations, I'm pretty much assymptomatic although I still watch out for telltale signs of neck pain and then back off whatever I'm doing.

Not sure whether you realize, but millions of people have cervical herniations without pain so it's quite possible to return. You just need to be careful.