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View Full Version : Exercises that do not stress the lower back?


Sergey Vidic
08-13-2010, 07:57 AM
I went to the Dr. and he said that I have some problems with the L4-L5, L5-S1 vertebrae. I do not exactly the term, but basically he said that the distance between L4 and L5 is too big and as a result the nerve is pinched. He told me to stay away from physical exercises for a while. I have just started doing stretching and toning exercises for my core with the aid of a physical therapist. He said that they should tone my back muscles, as I need them in order to support the spine. I enjoy it because I see it as a cardio workout. I will not start going to the gym yet, I will wait for one month or so.

What exercises can I do in the gym which do not put pressure on the lower back? Deadlifts and squats are off, I am not certain if I will ever be able to do them again. What do you think, should I go jogging, or should I wait some more? Thank you very much.

Steven Low
08-13-2010, 08:11 AM
Whatever doesn't hurt tends to be a good indication.

If there is any discomfort during anything just backoff.

Katherine Derbyshire
08-13-2010, 09:34 AM
You'll want to maintain a careful line between avoiding stuff that hurts and avoiding helpful exercise altogether.

For example, your doctor says more core strength will help. Deadlifts and squats are *excellent* exercises for the core stabilizer muscles. Going for a new deadlift PR with a bad back would clearly be a bad idea, but the same exercise with relatively low weight might be just what you need.

If it hurts, don't do it, but don't assume that an exercise is bad unless you've actually tried it.

Katherine

Sergey Vidic
08-13-2010, 09:41 AM
You'll want to maintain a careful line between avoiding stuff that hurts and avoiding helpful exercise altogether.

For example, your doctor says more core strength will help. Deadlifts and squats are *excellent* exercises for the core stabilizer muscles. Going for a new deadlift PR with a bad back would clearly be a bad idea, but the same exercise with relatively low weight might be just what you need.

If it hurts, don't do it, but don't assume that an exercise is bad unless you've actually tried it.

Katherine

Yes, but he is against lifting weights in general. He stated that the only useful physical exercise is swimming. Anyway I still feel discomfort in the area once in a while and I can tell that the area is not fully healed, or that it is still numb and weak. If I try to lift something with my back being rounded I can immediately feel it. I hope it will heal. Do you know, can these things heal on their own? I'm 23 BTW

Katherine Derbyshire
08-13-2010, 09:51 AM
Yes, but he is against lifting weights in general. He stated that the only useful physical exercise is swimming. Anyway I still feel discomfort in the area once in a while and I can tell that the area is not fully healed, or that it is still numb and weak. If I try to lift something with my back being rounded I can immediately feel it. I hope it will heal. Do you know, can these things heal on their own? I'm 23 BTW

Might be time to find a different doctor. Telling a 23 year-old to never lift anything heavy ever again is simply not realistic: presumably you will go grocery shopping, maintain a home, or have children once or twice in the next 40-60 years...

Katherine

Sergey Vidic
08-13-2010, 10:01 AM
Might be time to find a different doctor. Telling a 23 year-old to never lift anything heavy ever again is simply not realistic: presumably you will go grocery shopping, maintain a home, or have children once or twice in the next 40-60 years...

Katherine

He isn't against lifting heavy weights, but against going to the gym. Even that sounds absurd to me, I mean at this age not to be able to go to the gym ever again... :shrug:

Brian Strump
08-13-2010, 10:07 AM
I can lift heavy sh*t in my garage. Knowing exactly what's wrong with your back would be very helpful. "Too much space, pinching nerves" not helpful. However, if you doctor really said he's not against lifting heavy weights, but against going to the gym...the first think I'd do is find a new doctor.



He isn't against lifting heavy weights, but against going to the gym. Even that sounds absurd to me, I mean at this age not to be able to go to the gym ever again... :shrug:

Anthony Ricci
08-13-2010, 11:45 AM
Must be an US HMO doc LOL. Get with one with some kinesiological background.

John Stone
08-13-2010, 11:45 AM
Yes, but he is against lifting weights in general. He stated that the only useful physical exercise is swimming. I'm 23 BTW

Swimming is actually a great exercise. Maybe not "the only useful physical exercise" level of great, but great nonetheless.

POSE running, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, et cetera. There are a lot of "back friendly" exercises.

James Napier
08-13-2010, 01:18 PM
heavy sled drag - stack a couple plates on a small used tire, tie a chain around the tire and drag from your hips

pistols - single leg squats

are you allowed to do high box jumps?

Sergey Vidic
08-14-2010, 08:27 AM
I can lift heavy sh*t in my garage. Knowing exactly what's wrong with your back would be very helpful. "Too much space, pinching nerves" not helpful. However, if you doctor really said he's not against lifting heavy weights, but against going to the gym...the first think I'd do is find a new doctor.

I'll try to take a picture of the X-ray and post it here, maybe you will see what the problem is.

Swimming is actually a great exercise. Maybe not "the only useful physical exercise" level of great, but great nonetheless.

POSE running, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, et cetera. There are a lot of "back friendly" exercises.

Thanks for the exercises you mentioned. I tried doing pull-ups, push-up, chin-ups, dips a week after I injured my back and I couldn't do them because I felt pressure in my back soon afterward. Thanks for the answers, I'll keep doing the stretching exercises for two more weeks, and then I am going to try doing some light exercises

Sergey Vidic
08-15-2010, 11:55 PM
Can you please tell me if this can heal on itself, or if the vertebrae will remain on the same position forever? I know it is difficult to answer since I can not exactly tell you what I have. Thanks.

Christine Theodore Amicucci
08-16-2010, 11:59 AM
When I was about 22 I had some major issues with my L4 and L5 area. The Dr. that looked at my MRI didn't understand how I functioned without pain killers and frankly I don't know how I did either ( I'm highly sensitive to them, think that projectile vomiting scene in the Exorcist)

I suffered for months. I finally decided to go to a physical therapist and after a month was back to about 95%. I went from being unable to move and breaking out into tears while sitting in class (sitting was PAINFUL) to being able to do most everything I did before I hurt my back.

I am very top heavy for my size which was part of the problem. I remember doing a lot of work to help strengthen my core to be able to support my upper body. I also did a fair amount of stretching.

The "miracle drug" for me was something the PT did to my back though. He would push on my lower back and kind of slide his hands in opposite directions up my spine. I don't know exactly what it was he did but I could have been in pain all day long and as soon has he did that the pain would go away.

Now, at 27 I have very little problems with my back although I was told it would never be 100% again. Since I've started crossfit I sometimes end up with a sore lower back after some workouts (deadlifts being the main ones) in the area I remember the pain being when I injured my back. But the soreness has decreased as my form improves and my core gets stronger.

I think the summary of all of this text is this: fine a PT who can help you and guide you in the correct direction in terms of exercises and physical manipulations. And don't listen when they say you will never be able to lift again.

Sergey Vidic
08-16-2010, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the reply. Could you please tell me some exercises for improving the core? I do about 15 different exercises for my back, and they seem to help me.

Jamie J. Skibicki
08-16-2010, 03:26 PM
"I do about 15 different exercises for my back"

Holy crap.

Reverse hypers, hypers, glute ham raise, squats, deadlifts, snatches, cleans, jerks, standing overhead press, saxon bends, good mornings, rdl/sldl, bent over rows.

Steven Low
08-16-2010, 07:48 PM
Some stuff in here may help wfs
http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2010/02/so-you-hurt-your-lower-back/

Also, here's another vid on some decent stuff to do wfs
http://hubbardtrainingsystems.blogspot.com/2010/08/flexibility-training-after-low-back.html

Sergey Vidic
08-16-2010, 11:36 PM
"I do about 15 different exercises for my back"

Holy crap.

Reverse hypers, hypers, glute ham raise, squats, deadlifts, snatches, cleans, jerks, standing overhead press, saxon bends, good mornings, rdl/sldl, bent over rows.

Don't worry, all of them are stretching exercises. I do not do prone bridges yet as I can feel it in the back.

Some stuff in here may help wfs
http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2010/02/so-you-hurt-your-lower-back/

Also, here's another vid on some decent stuff to do wfs
http://hubbardtrainingsystems.blogspot.com/2010/08/flexibility-training-after-low-back.html

Thank you very much

Sergey Vidic
08-18-2010, 06:16 AM
I found this. What do you think?
http://www.drbookspan.com/DiscArticle.html

Thomas Green
08-18-2010, 10:28 AM
Sums it up pretty well. Now you see why they teach you to deadlift and squat with a straight back lol

Sergey Vidic
08-19-2010, 07:33 AM
Yes, but it says there that I should not do certain exercises which round my back, and the physical therapist told me to do them, such as crunches, knees to chest, and so on. Damn it. Do you think that the discs can heal so fast as it says there? Sorry to bother you all with all these questions :)

Thomas Green
08-19-2010, 09:22 AM
Yes, but it says there that I should not do certain exercises which round my back, and the physical therapist told me to do them, such as crunches, knees to chest, and so on. Damn it. Do you think that the discs can heal so fast as it says there? Sorry to bother you all with all these questions :)

Are you sure he told you to do crunches, or a variation of them where you only lift your shoulders off the ground?

For all those exercises your spines should be neutral, excessive flexion is the last thing you want if you have disc problems.

For the vast majority of us, no they don't heal that fast, but they do heal eventually.

Sergey Vidic
08-19-2010, 10:52 PM
Well one of them was pulling my knees to the chest, but bending from the upper body as well. The knees and the chest would meet at the middle, if you understand what I mean, and IMO that is a crunch exercise. There were three different such exercises, and all of them were similar to crunches. What exercises did you do for your back?

Sergey Vidic
08-22-2010, 02:51 AM
Here are the x-rays, I think those are the problems. Do you know exactly what the problem is? Is it a disc bulging? I hope the pics are clear

Mike Mallory
08-22-2010, 06:18 PM
this thread is silly

discs don't show up on x-ray

Sergey Vidic
08-23-2010, 01:57 AM
No, but the vertebrae show up don't they?

Mike Mallory
08-23-2010, 11:27 AM
The doctor that gave you that info should be working at a laundromat.......

Find a new therapist and go from there, otherwise you're really shootin' in the dark here trying to get answers on the forum with an extremely vague and unhelpful diagnosis......It's good to reach out for help here, but in this case there's not a lot of good advice to give unless you have a better understanding of whats actually going on.

David Tybor
09-03-2010, 05:51 PM
He stated that the only useful physical exercise is swimming.

HAHAHAHAHA, good one.