Degenerative Disk Disease

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Soma, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Soma

    Soma Breathe the body deep

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    Hey all,

    I fucked up my my back last year while squatting heavy weight and since then haven't been able to train. I was recently diagnosed with DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) in my lower back and started physical therapy today. I'm a little skeptical about the PT, as I feel I was ripped off by Chiropractors in the past and PT reminds me of that.

    So two questions for those of you who have gone through this.

    1) Will the PT really help? I want to heal and get back to how my life use to be. I don't want to have go to PT for the rest of my life. Right now I feel like a fucking gimp.

    2) If you have DDD, were you able to fully recover and get back to training? More than anything I miss boxing and MT classes. Right now I can't do either because the twisting and bending motions from boxing and MT fucking kill my lower back.

    Just thinking about this...I get so frustrated and feel so helpless I just wanna smash shit.

    Ugh.

    :icon_neut
     
  2. deluxeMT

    deluxeMT Orange Belt

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    The absolute KEY to rehabilitation of any physical injury is a good rehabilitation program designed by a professional. There is not wonder drug, super sugery, or magic bullet that will fix something like this. It is necessary to listen to a skilled professional, and follow their advice. You may need to do things in PT that will feel useless, ridiculous, or stupid. Just trust that they are for a reason. It is not a speedy process. It is a process of baby-steps. PT is often an incredibly low-tech seeming process - but if you give it time, it often has a chance to yield good results.
     
  3. AdamL

    AdamL Green Belt

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    I have DDD also, and I train all the time. Don't let it fool you. If you talked to your doctor I'm sure he stressed that "degenerative" does not equate "progressive." Typically the disk(s) only degenerate a certain percentage and not any further. It sounds a lot worse than it is. I herniated a disk a few years ago while doing standing curls with way too much weight, which lead to this diagnosis. It took a long time to recover from the herniated disk, and I got into a routine that included next to no physical activity. As a result I suffered from lower back pain frequently. Getting out of bed, putting on shoes, moving around in a chair. It was ridiculous. I started to box, and bought a heavy bag to practice, and slowly ramped up the intensity. I've joined a gym recently, and train 3 times a week there, on top of training at home. I have next to no back pain (muscle soreness from training doesn't count) and feel great. Depending on how severe your case is, I'd see what your doctor says about continuing to train, because it has worked extremely well for me.
     
  4. ahheadlock

    ahheadlock God**** Sexual Tyrannosaurus

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    ^ i'm in the same boat.

    Degenerative disc disease sounds worse than it really is. Everyone's discs degenerate with age. Inactivity will actually be worse than staying active. The disc acts like a sponge, as it degenerates it loses it's ability to absorb fluid - the best bet to keeping it going is to keep it mobile. Of course this should be done responsibly and within the limits of your injury, and this is where a PT comes into the equation. The rehab may seem stupid but it is for your own good. Eventually you will be able to increase your activity level until you are back in a place you can be happy with. Be careful not to get impatient and overdo it - because you may well end up right back at step 1, and that is frustrating as hell.

    ps. I dont want to get you down any more but i had to quit throwing Kicks and Knees. No more MT for me. Boxing is apparently ok though. If you do it right the first time and don't be impatient about it like i was back when this all started you might be ok with MT. Just take your time and consult your PT before trying anything.
     
  5. FIGHT FAN

    FIGHT FAN Brown Belt

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    try YOGA. i have pain associated with my scoliosis, and this stuff works for me. iv'e worked in physiotherapy before, and it is very hit and miss. alot of phsyio treatments are BS.
     
  6. Reloaded

    Reloaded Yellow Belt

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    First, nice quote from White Zombie... took me a while to get it.

    Second, DDD can have a wide degree of symptoms depending on how much the disc has degenerated and at what level is affected. Being a Massage Therapist I've treated a few people over the years with DDD, and typically the situation doesn't progress any worse then the initial phase since most people never repeat the aggravating movements again.

    What I would suggest is first to listen to your body, if an exercise or movement hurts the affected area stop at once and try something else. A tell tale sign is if the muscle on both sides of your spine in the affected area are as solid as a rock then it's no-go for sure.

    Next, drink plenty of water and make sure you are properly hydrated at all times. You discs are comprised of around 80% + water so staying hydrated is super important to maintain joint health.

    Another good exercise is spinal tractions... that meaning creating a pull on your spine that separates your vertebrae. In essence when you do that you create a vacuum in the disc, causing them to expand. By expanding and contracting them you are working them out, causing them to stay supple and not fibrous (harden) from disuse or poor bio-mechanics. Easy way to do a traction is to get someone to pull your legs while you hold onto a bed frame, let them pull and release a few times... just enough to feel firm in your back. Again any pain stop. Inversion tables work too but watch the head rush from turning upside down.

    Again, just be aware. The problem won't correct itself but with some work it can be controlled and stabilized. Good luck.
     
  7. Soma

    Soma Breathe the body deep

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    Thanks for replies. I've stopped twisting motions and have been doing the PT each day. So far my back has been feeling a bit better. That is encouraging considering it never seemed to get better until just recently when I started this.

    Oh yeah, hah, the White Zombie lyric is in my custom text. Good catch. Most people don't realize what it's from.
     
  8. Dan's Knuckles

    Dan's Knuckles Blue Belt

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    Look, I'm a certified athletic trainer, I work in a PT clinic. Let me say that anytime anyone goes to a chiropracter, especially for real injury, it makes me angry because a chiropractor can't help you if you are actually injured. Having your spine manipulated for any and every reason is stupid.

    That said, by age 30 about half the population will show signs of disk bulges on an MRI, that doesn't mean that they are symptomatic in all those who have them, or even if people are experiencing back pain that the bulges are the cause of it. The older we get the less likely that we will have disk bulges becuase our disks become dehydrated.

    The most important thing to remember is that you need to improve your core stability, strengthen your core muscles and improve your trunk biomechanics during motion. A GOOD Physical Therapist can do that for you, a shitty one will not, and there are shitty PTs out there.
     
  9. Reloaded

    Reloaded Yellow Belt

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    Not to start a flame, but there are times when spinal manipulations can be useful. I will agree that most traditional chiropractors however are too quick to use manipulations since that is their primary tool. I myself have encountered poor-quality and high-quality chiropractors, just like any field you have different qualities.

    We would never get disc bulges from dehydration as far as I know or have heard... however I still stand behind being properly hydrated for joint health among the other vast reasons to drink plenty of water.

    I agree 100% with core strength and stability training. Nice and easy wins the race in this department.
     
  10. ROwens1182

    ROwens1182 Guest

    First of let me just say I am very sorry to hear about the problems with your back. As someone who recovered from a herniated disc 7 years ago I can understand the pain you are going through. I had to have surgery for my back because it got so bad I couldn't sleep laying flat on my back so I was forced to sleep in a chair for over a year. I have fully recovered though and my back rarely acts up. I am able to keep it in check with monthly visits to a chiropractor. Seems like it's a hit and miss deal on whether you will find a good one or not. I say go for the PT and if you feel that it is not working find another option. I have learned your body will tell you if something is right or wrong and 99% I do better if I listen to what my body is telling me. Good luck with the recovery!
     
  11. Dan's Knuckles

    Dan's Knuckles Blue Belt

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    I appear to be misunderstood; I know when joint mobilizations are beneficial, however those times are few and far between, and someone who pays their rent by manipulating the spine will often take a liberal view of when it is appropriate, often times doing so when it won't help people at all.

    Also, I did not say that we herniate discs becuse of dehydration. The part of the disc which herniates is the nucleus pulposus, which is a jelly-like substance. As we age, the nucleus pulposus becomes dehydrated, and becomes more rubber-like, and less jelly-like. This change makes it less likely that the nucleus pulposus will extrude (or squeeze out the back and compress on a nerve). You are most likely to have a bulging and extruded disc that is symptomatic when you are a young adult, the elderly have spinal problems for other reasons, mostly non-discogenic.
     

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