herniated disk in back - should I go back to muay thai or weights training?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by thebluewhale, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. thebluewhale

    thebluewhale White Belt

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    Hi guys,

    I suffered a herinated disk (L5) in my back late September 2015. It was incredibly painful and also resulted in nerve from the calve downwards in my right leg. I was put on 45mg oxycodone a day as well as lyrica.

    I am currently going cold turkey with the oxy due to feeling that my back was much better. Since stopping the pain killers (well only 4 days ago), there has been in an increase in the pain my back but it isn't bad and I think much of it may be from withdrawal.

    Anyway, I want to get back into training. A specialist (neurosurgeon) who I saw recommended returning to muay thai. She cited that it would be great for strengthening my core and back which will help reduce pain. However, my GP has reservations about this saying there would be too much twisting. Alternatively, I think I could do boxing instead (a bit less twisting of the torso).

    Also, I would like to start lifting weights again. I am going to be steering well clear of squats and deadlifts altogether, and probably lower body work full stop for a little while. I was thinking of just easing in with some cardio and a few basic upper body lifts and go from there.

    Do you guys think the above is a good idea? Anyone here with herniated disks in their back still train and have any advice to give?

    Otherwise, what is some form of exercise I can do to slowly get into that won't put undue stress on my back?
     
  2. rocketskates

    rocketskates Black Belt

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    I was incorrect looks like most cases resolve themselves without surgery. Good luck to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  3. Parzival

    Parzival White Belt

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    If you can do muay thai, you can lift some light weight.
    Although I'm no physical therapist, it's not a coincidence that most therapies involve stressing the injury ever so lightly in order to rehabilitate it.
     
  4. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    Herniated discs end a lot of Muay Thai careers. So much twisting while you kick. I'd work on getting strong first then get back to your kick boxing.
     
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  5. genecop

    genecop Red Belt

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    Had herniated disks...rough couple of months, used to train Karate, bit older now, Yoga few days a week, have not had any pain going in three years now..it's all about the core, strong core takes a lot of load off back, start some Yoga and physical therapy, light boxing, ,start slow..
     
  6. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    This, so much. With lifting, you can control what movements you do, and carefully progress as you recover. With kickboxing, that's just not possible.

    With regards to yoga, or any flexibility work - increasing mobility at the hips is associated with reduced back pain and injury risk. Increasing mobility/flexibility of the spine is associated with increased risk of back pain an injury. So yoga could either help or hinder, depending on the movements done.
     
  7. genecop

    genecop Red Belt

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    Great point, people have caused more problems for themselves , getting the right Yoga instructor and even the correct type of Yoga is critical. Iyengar Yoga utilizes props, Iyengar also has a rigorous certification schedule in order to become a teacher..I have been impressed often with my teachers working knowledge of anatomy and the body in general.
     
  8. ZroC

    ZroC Silver Belt

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    Did you actually fix the problem? As in did it heal, did you get a cortisone shot to make it go away or get surgery. You want to make sure the problem didn't just go into hibernation and waiting for a good reason to come back.

    If the problem is cured and you're feeling fine I say go for it. I did it. I've done boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA as well as all kinds of exercise since I had my surgery and I'm only getting stronger.

    I had something similar for 5 years, could barely lie in bed for 30 mins, then I couldn't get out of bed and when I did I would have to lie back down again after 30 mins. A lot of the time I walked with a arched back and needed to eat 8 solphadeine, four 150mg Lyrica, and four Aspirin just to stand up straight with slightly less pain. In the end I got surgery. I let it heal naturally for about 8 months to get over surgery then got back into exercise gradually. I wouldn't jump straight into something like a combat sport or even the regular gym until you're comfortable to do a somewhat heavy exercise in your own home. I didn't even risk lower leg stretches or kicks again until about a year and half after my surgery.
     
  9. SteveX

    SteveX Nobody F*cks Wit Da Jesus

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    Getting back to lifting is definitely a good idea. The thing I find with most people with acute and chronic low back pain is they have weak glutes, have trouble bracing their core under load, and don't know how to breathe properly. Lifting will help with all 3 of these things.

    Step one is learning to breathe. Focus on diaphragmatic breathing. There are plenty of videos on youtube with how to work on this and all the different progressions. This will feed into the bracing issue since in order to brace and create the necessary intra-abdominal pressure for lifting safely you need to breathe properly.

    Obviously you want to ease back into the gym, but I would say avoiding squats and deadlifts all together isn't the answer. Start super light, even if that means just the empty bar or a PVC pipe and work you technique. Focus on your breathing, bracing your core and firing your glutes. Again there are plenty of videos out there with different techniques and progressions (Juggernaut, Chris Duffin, Supertraining, etc).

    All that being said there is no replacement for a good coach/physio who knows what they're doing, what they're looking at, and how to work around prior injuries and get you back to pre-injury levels. I understand that isn't an option for some people, but it's definitely something to consider.
     
  10. 71Fish

    71Fish Orange Belt

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    The leg pain you have is called sciatica. Sciatic nerve pain is basically the #1 sign of an L5 herniated disk. I had a series of injections that cleared up the pain.

    Agree with SteveX about the weak glutes. You'll never see a person with a strong back/core and weak glutes.
     

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