Herniated Disc - What to do or not do?

0 votes
asked Aug 14, 2017 by jwillia53 Convert (120 points)
Hi All,

Just got the MRI Results:

Degenerative changes at L5/S1 where there is advanced inferior left lateral recess stenosis predominantly due to a left lateral disk herniation most likely impinging the left S1 nerve root.

I'm going to do a consult with the surgeon. Any recommendations on what to do for recovery? Should I stop training all together or stick to some light upper body?

Currently I'm doing PT which involves stretching, stim, and the cold tub.

1 Answer

+1 vote
answered Aug 19, 2017 by maximus (4,970 points)
Before I did anything I would consult with your surgeon or with a higher level sports physio

commented Oct 9, 2017 by michael Convert (100 points)
Clearly follow bobby's advice first :) make sure you have a consultation with a sports medicine specialist, not just a back doctor.

I had a serious L5/S1 herniation about 10 years ago. On one hand, I made a complete recovery; my PT told me she didn't think I would ever run again, and definitely not deadlift, but I made my deadlift PR about seven years after the herniation (400, not anything super impressive). On the other hand, it took about two years of work to get back to full-on training.

If your PT is only having you do stretching and stimulation, I'd look for a different PT. What worked for me was a long period of intense work on strengthening the deep muscles of the lower back. Stuart McGill is the god of back injuries and back therapy (http://www.backfitpro.com/) Read his books. Most of the work my PT did with me was based on his guidance; primarily lower back stability and strength exercises, reverse back bends, nerve flossing (I was never 100% sure about this one), along with stretching and massage.

When you do find a good PT, do the work. My surgeon told me about 18 months into my recovery that he wished all his patients were as diligent in their recovery work because it would prove that conservative treatments actually work.

I also found Pilates very helpful in the later part of my recovery.
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