PDA

View Full Version : Bulging L5S1 = No more Crossfit?


Nathan Schnur
08-15-2012, 07:58 AM
Hey everyone, im having a hard time believing what my doc told me, so maybe someone can help me out.

Historyof injury: may 2012, back started hurting, paused training saw dr. The doc said I was probably ok, just needed to rest and scheduled an MRI. I got a call a week later that I had a 'very minor' bulge. My dr. Said to take a break from lifting (been doing bw stuff since).

August: ive been on anti inflammatories for 2 months, seen mild improvement of pain and discomfort. Yesterday doc said that I should quit crossfit and free weights altogether.he said I could use machines...........

Im wondering if my doc is right in saying no more crossfit or lifting? Has anyone come back to or done well with this type of injury? Thanks

Matt A. Windsor
08-15-2012, 10:36 AM
I have, but then again, I also had surgery to correct my L5/S1 hernia.

Stephanie Arseneault
08-16-2012, 03:08 PM
I would not ignore the pain and the doc's warning if I was in your place... I would make sure you are completely healed before resuming any heavy lifting. Disc injuries are very serious. I injured myself over 6 months ago, stopped for a short while and resumed CF and lifting after a couple of months, pain was down but not completely. After a few weeks of training with very little pain, it gradually came back and is now severe. Now I find myself 6 months later in the same state (if not worse) I was when I originally injured it, plus I found out yesterday I also have some degeneration in my spine (unsure if this was the case even pre-injury or is a result of the injury and going back too soon). I dont want to scare you - but I want you to know that disc injuries are very serious and it's not something you can simply ignore and push through the pain; it will only get worse and cause more damage. The great news is that your bulge is minor - take the necessary time to heal it correctly (might be a few to several months, but it's better than a lifetime of back problems). One book that has helped me develop a good exercice program is Stuart McGill's Low Back Disorders (http://www.backfitpro.com/books.php) WFS.

Good luck, PM me if you have some questions!

Terry A Carey
08-16-2012, 03:38 PM
I am in th same boat as Matt! I wouldn't stop moving. I would be careful of squatting, deadlifting and anything over head.Maybe some swimming to take the load off.Find a good book on low back excersises specific to disc problems.Let it heal for some time and when the pain is gone let it heal another month!

Hope this helps!

T

Brian Strump
08-16-2012, 07:33 PM
I would recommend finding a better doctor. Seriously, that is some very poor advice. This is what's most frustrating to a chiropractor. It's doctors like this that don't do anything positive for a patient....and if you asked them about the chiropractor they would say they wouldn't recommend it.

Did the doctor recommend any kind of rehab regime? PT? Chiro? Anything besides anti-inflammatories?

Did the doctor tell you that a few studies have shown that 65-70% of asymptomatic people have shown lumbar disc bulges on MRI. These people present with NO PAIN! Therefore...my advice, since you asked right? :)

Stop chasing your pain, and find out what's causing it. I'll give you clue number one, and two to help you on your way....
1. The pain meds your doctor gave you are not helping
2. You are not going to get to the point of improvement where you want to be while you are still treating with this doctor.

Here's a tidbit I just found from McGill's book as someone mentioned above. Ask your doctor their opinion of the following,
"he warns against the use of most machines available in commercial gyms, not just the "Roman chair," but also all kinds of "back flexing machines" or "back twisting machines," and "leg press-up machines. He objects to the permanent sitting required for these machines (more sitting, even in the gym!), thus losing the benefit of gravity, and to the fact that they constrain joint motion to a strict mechanical, artificial pattern, depriving all the tissues (vertebrae, cartilages, discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles) of their natural range of movement, while inhibiting the training of neural control that drives real movements."

Matthew Vesey
08-16-2012, 08:14 PM
After my L5/S1 Issue last August I had a Doctor say the same thing. I Ignored them, switched to a new M.O and continued to CrossFit and avoid exercises that caused discomfort (Mainly Backsquats and Deadlifts over a certain weight). I began getting Physio around the same time. I was a bit of a right off for Squats/Deadlifts between August 2011 to Mid-Late February 2012. Over the course of March to now, I still have the odd stiffness that needs to be warmed up pre-workouts but am essentially 100%. In case you are worried about being potentially permanently unable to CrossFit, listen to this for some quick motivation. Since March, I have PR'd My Squat by over 50 pounds, my Deadlift by 60ish pounds, my Snatch by 60 Pounds and my clean by 35 pounds. Do not ever let one opinion hold you back. Always seek second, third, forth opinions. A positive attitude aids in recovery.

That being said, if you are Hurt, DO NOT WORK THROUGH THE PAIN. That is what caused my issues to get worse early on. I took a week off felt good, went back 100% and magnified the issue considerably. Take it slow, seek Physio and remain active with exercises that you can do without discomfort on your L5/S1. If you have access to a Reverse Hyper, I highly recommend them for Rehabbing your back.

-Matt

Matt A. Windsor
08-17-2012, 06:47 AM
Agree 100% with Matt (the other Matt, not myself lol). Since 2005, I have had:

- L5/S1 surgery (May 2005)
- right and left carpal tunnel release (October 2006)
- left first dorsal tendon release (October 2006)
- left shoulder acromioplasty/scar tissue removal (October 2007)
- right shoulder acromioplasty/scar tissue removal (October 2008)
- left ankle surgery (broke lateral malleolus, had part removed, tendons reattached) (December 2010)
- 2nd shoulder acromioplasty/scar tissue removal (May of this year)

Suffice to say that while there are SOME things that I'll never do well (such as pullups, especially kipping pullups), other than that, I'm 100%. My current PRs are:

- bench - 255
- deadlift - 405
- C&J - 155
- push jerk - 185
- squat - 315

Of special note are the bench presses and overhead movements - all of which have been done AFTER my May shoulder surgery. So yes, long as you follow the sage advice given above, you'll be fine in the long run. :)

Nathan Schnur
08-17-2012, 07:10 AM
Wow! thanks guys for all the help! i'll definitely air on the side of caution for a while. I plan on doing BW and bodybuilder type workouts for a while (at least a few months)

I also dropped the meds the doc gave me:
A) the dose was way too high
B) after 3 days off them I feel no difference.

Ill look into some books, I was doing hypers and reverse hypers for a while, I will definitely resume those.
Thanks for the advice and inspiration guys! ill start logging again, and see what happens.

Stephanie Arseneault
08-17-2012, 07:29 AM
Wow! thanks guys for all the help! i'll definitely air on the side of caution for a while. I plan on doing BW and bodybuilder type workouts for a while (at least a few months)

I also dropped the meds the doc gave me:
A) the dose was way too high
B) after 3 days off them I feel no difference.

Ill look into some books, I was doing hypers and reverse hypers for a while, I will definitely resume those.
Thanks for the advice and inspiration guys! ill start logging again, and see what happens.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you never push through the pain...as far as the back is concerned, that is never a good thing... controlled movements that do not aggravate your pain is the way to go for a while. Again, McGill's book is an excellent resource for this, as it documents the loads put on the lower back for various movements (ie. pushups, planks, etc.). You can use this as a guide to determine which movements will be easier on your back for now... Good luck.

Tom Nguyen
08-17-2012, 09:01 AM
As a Radiologist who has read thousands of lumbar spine MRI, "minor" disc bulges are extremely common and often unrelated to the patient's real cause of pain. Your doctor is choosing the path of least liability. You should ask to see a sports medicine physician or PMR doc who is more familiar with disc pathology

Rob D Smith
08-17-2012, 09:34 AM
Nathan,

I'm not a doctor or a chiropractor but have had some L5 issues while trying to ramp up with CrossFit (old injuries, old body).

My trainer (and the co-owner of the 2012 Affiliate Cup Champions Ute CrossFit) Bobbie Hackenbruck has actually written a few blog posts, put together an amazing back rehabilitation regimen and really fought through some serious back issues of her own over the years with no surgery, some chiropractic involvement and no meds. While not a doctor or a PT herself, she has some real-life experience, quite a few success stories in our local box and a ton of knowledge on the topic.

I, for one, have been using her regimen pretty religiously and have noticed huge improvements.

You may want to reach out to her to talk through your situation and see if what she has learned through her struggles and rehabilitation might help.

Her main post on the topic:
http://utecrossfit.com/blog/2011/12/28/bobbies-low-back-rehab-program-and-injury-but-more-so-a-lesson/

Email me directly and I'll hook you up with her contact info (rob.smith05@gmail.com)

Patrick Rushbrook
08-17-2012, 11:14 AM
My co-worker has two bulging and one herniated (car accident I think) and he's a competitive bodybuilder in heavyweight classes. He squats and deadlifts heavy. From what i've been taught, a stronger back only helps alleviate the symptoms of disc problems. Just gotta be smart about how you approach it.

Brian Strump
08-17-2012, 02:15 PM
While a nice story. The study of 1 shouldn't change the OP next move.

When I hear these anecdotes, it makes me think how strange it would be if I walked into the eye doctors office, and he gave each patient the same pair of prescription glasses.


Nathan,

I'm not a doctor or a chiropractor but have had some L5 issues while trying to ramp up with CrossFit (old injuries, old body).

My trainer (and the co-owner of the 2012 Affiliate Cup Champions Ute CrossFit) Bobbie Hackenbruck has actually written a few blog posts, put together an amazing back rehabilitation regimen and really fought through some serious back issues of her own over the years with no surgery, some chiropractic involvement and no meds. While not a doctor or a PT herself, she has some real-life experience, quite a few success stories in our local box and a ton of knowledge on the topic.

I, for one, have been using her regimen pretty religiously and have noticed huge improvements.

You may want to reach out to her to talk through your situation and see if what she has learned through her struggles and rehabilitation might help.

Her main post on the topic:
http://utecrossfit.com/blog/2011/12/28/bobbies-low-back-rehab-program-and-injury-but-more-so-a-lesson/

Email me directly and I'll hook you up with her contact info (rob.smith05@gmail.com)

Brian Strump
08-17-2012, 02:19 PM
Just because someone lifts anything heavy, doesn't mean that's either good, or safe for each individual.

While what you were taught, was once taught; much more research on the subject shows improving hip mobility, correct neural sequencing of the deep core, and strong hips will help decrease your risk of low back injury.

In terms of the the low back, endurance is a much better preventor(I know that's not a word) of low back injury, than strength(of the low back musculature).


My co-worker has two bulging and one herniated (car accident I think) and he's a competitive bodybuilder in heavyweight classes. He squats and deadlifts heavy. From what i've been taught, a stronger back only helps alleviate the symptoms of disc problems. Just gotta be smart about how you approach it.

Nathan Schnur
08-17-2012, 07:16 PM
Thanks guys for all the help. Right now I really am just trying to get the right information.

Rob ill shoot you an email.

My back has always been strong (so i thought), my max deadlift is 450ish with good form too. Endurance is definitely needed.

Could this be affected or caused by undevelopement or under utilization Of my glutes? Lower body strength has always been a weakness.