Ruptured Disk - What CAN I do?

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    Ruptured Disk - What CAN I do?


    Well, I played 5 years of football in college at the D-1 level. Recently, I was diagnosed with a herniated disk after pain resulting from nothing in particular. I am depressed as I feel like I'm in great shape otherwise. I am 200 lbs down from 245 playing weight. At 25 I hate to give up my active lifestyle. Anyone have simialar injury?? Would be interested to know what exercises, programs, conditioning you have found that are effective as workout tools and do not aggrivate the problem.....I would appreciate any response.

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    I have a similar injury resulting from a car wreck at age 19. I am 31 today.

    I assume that you have gone to an orthopedist about this right? Dumb question, how else would you have the diagnosis. But I am surprised that he did't talk to you about what this means for your long term back health.

    I have no idea how badly you are injured, but let me share my experience with you. Following my injury, I had sever back/leg pain and hobbled around for 6-9 months before agreeing to treatment. Then the DR treated me with physical therapy for about 6 months, helped but not a lot. Then we tried chiropractor 4-6 months - biggest waste of time in my life. My options then were surgery or local pain killers. I chose the local steroid/pain killer route. That seemed to do the trick for me. It took me about 2 years from injury to shots to get to the point were we found a viable treatment. This time could have been less if I would have been more motivated, but I was depressed about the whole thing, and depressed people aren't so effective when it comes to taking care of themselves.

    Today, for the most part, I am back to normal. Every year or two, I have very bad back pain. I go to the doctor and he gives me a steroid/pain killer injection at the site of the injury and within 24 hours the pain is gone. The injections do hurt quite a lot in my opinion, but the pain lasts only a couple hours followed by soreness and then they are magic - pain goes away.

    So, the biggest concern for me today is keeping my back strong. I am very careful with the way that I bend, ever single time. It's just instinctive now. And when I work my back, I pay lots of attention to my form, making sure that I don't get sloppy.

    That said, you sound a little depressed, and understandably so - I have been there. Make sure you take care of yourself, and if you need to see a therapist do it. It's you that you are taking care of, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't get yourself the best treatment you can afford.
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    Sorry, regarding activity.

    You really need to get an honest answer from your doctor regading the progress of your injury. Is this injury fresh, or has it be lingering for some time? Are you having pain right now? Numbness? Do any particluar activities aggrevate the symptoms? What is your range of motion, stiffness?

    He is going to want all of these evaluated before he releases you for activity. Physical therapy is probably going to be a must. He is going to perscribe lots of back exercises, which on ocassion I still do.

    Once everything is 90-100% normal, he will probably say, "Okay, do what ever you feel comfortable doing. Don't do anything that conflicts with what you learned in physical therapy."

    But until then if I were in your shoes, I would do what the doctor says, because he can probably get you back into top shape if you follow his advice.

    One last bit of advice, see if you can go see a sports orthopedist. I lived in San Antonio at the time, and I went to see the Spurs team doctor who happened to be an orthopedist. Had I followed his instructions more carefully, I bet my recovery would have been much faster. After all, these doctors take athletes with major injuries and get them back into playing form very quickly.
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    Thanks Chris


    I appreciate the response. My injury is not fresh. I dealt with the buldging disk through my junior and senior years through treatments from our orthopedist. Needless to say, I did have a lot of trauma in those two years but played through with pain killers and treatments....after graduaation I have always had slight back pain most of the time so I decided to drop 40 lbs thinking this would relieve my problems. I went almost a year being able to do anything I wanted from squating to sprinting etc. Then about two months ago I started with a new strange pain in my butt area that got increasingly worse over two months. Anyway, long story short I've now been diagnosed with the herniation. Doctor says rest, avoid things that agrivate....got some excercises to do that I was doing while in school that help minimally. So I rested, then try to get back into activity slowly....however, most things agrivate my problem so I rest. All in all I feel like a sloth. I am depressed as I love being active even if only to run with my dogs, or kayak, fish, etc....not to mention wanting to get back into training.

    I guess based on you comments, I should talk to my doctor about the shots option. Again, thanks for the response its good to know someone has overcome something similar. I am assuming that you no longer squat, leg press, or DL? I would be interested in your response. Right now it hurts to sit, stand, walk, etc. I do have fairly good range of motion both flexion and extension.....I guess thats a positive.

    Thanks again
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    Hey PolarBear,

    Your condition sounds so similar. I also dropped lot of weight thinking that carrying around less fat, etc would ease up some of the back pain. That helped me for a short time too, but still didn’t solve the problem.

    You talked about stretching exercises. Did you do physical therapy; is that how you came across those exercises? I think that the doctor is a great source for identifying the injury and prescribing the treatment, but not necessarily the best at providing the treatment. If he gave you a sheet of paper with this stretches and sent you out the door, I would look for better treatment. If you haven’t done therapy yet, try to find a sports medicine rehab, and get your DR to write you a script for a couple weeks therapy.

    That said, after I recovered decent ROM and built up some strength in my back, shots are finally what did it for me. The shots enabled me to go several months at a time without significant pain, and during those time periods, I recovered strength in my back from a more active life style.

    10 years ago, there were days that I could hardly get out of bed. If you would have told me then that I would be living a totally normal life in 10 years, I would have angrily dismissed you. Keep your spirits up. You may have a year or two before full recovery ahead of you, but it will come if you persist.

    Regarding training, there is no exercise that I am uncomfortable doing. I do squats, leg press, DL, leg press and I fell comfortable lifting heavy too. But, it has been a long road getting here. My wife is amazed at my progress and she frequently says things like, “if you would have tried that 8 years ago, I would scraping you off the floor right now.?

    Discuss your goals with your doctors, have hope, do what your doctor says and you will recover.

    I’ll be praying for you.
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    Thanks again!! God Bless!
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    All of you guys need to pick up "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue. He knows his **** and you don't have to be living with these kinds of problems. MUSCLES caused the disc herniation, and muscles can STOP it as well. You're not operating in the correct functional anatomical state.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser
    MUSCLES caused the disc herniation, and muscles can STOP it as well.
    First, I forgive you because I am assuming that you did not read this thread carefully. Muscles did not cause my injury. A car traveling 70 MPH slamming into my stopped car caused my injury. My car looked like it was hit by a nuclear bomb. I used to have pictures of it, I can't believe I survived the accident.

    PolarBear said that his injury may have been caused by playing college football. That certainly has a potential to be caused by high speed impact with the ground or another player.

    How did muscles cause our injuries?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser
    All of you guys need to pick up "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue. He knows his **** and you don't have to be living with these kinds of problems.
    Second, I read this guys first chapter on Amazon, and your right he seems like he knows what he is talking about.

    Infact his first chapter states that movement is the first step and most important step in treatment and recovery, which is exactly what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by CCTEZ
    after I recovered decent ROM and built up some strength in my back, shots are finally what did it for me. The shots enabled me to go several months at a time without significant pain, and during those time periods, I recovered strength in my back from a more active life style.
    After I recovered ROM I was able to get temporary relief from pain killer/steroid shots so that I could train my back and strengthen it. Today I function with total ROM and my back is 100% healthy so far as I know.

    These methods are tried and true. What is it that you have against physical therapy, weight training and exercise?
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