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recovering from back injuries

8:48:29 PM
Dear Chockstoners

After a weekend at the gramps, I picked waaayyy to much wet laundry and now have a couple of slipped/buldging disks (L3 and L4 i think), plus they discoved 7mm pars defect/spondolythesis slip in my L5. 6 weeks later, I'm still struggling to sit at my desk for the full day, let alone ride, climb, walk particularly far or do anything entertaining, and am always a bit uncomfortable unless lying down.

Soooo.....other experiences? Recovery strategies? Mine is based around time, pilates, other exercises and massage, never doing laundry again and trying to keep hours sitting at a desk to a minimum (as this is the real killer).

Appreciate your stories and if anyone has any miracle cures they want to share.

9:25:46 PM
Back injuries suck. I have one now, a recurring one I have had for years and thought I had under control by doing lots of pilates and core exercises. I am usually super active and on a mostly climbing trip to Vietnam, it flared up again, and I was in a lot of pain for a couple of weeks. I have found myself a good physio who I am working with to try and get to the root cause. I am also trying to let it settle down by following his advice and taking it easy - walking, swimming and some streching is all I am allowed to do - it's killing me but I am hoping it will be worth it. I suspect mine is related to a weak hamstring due to a full ACL reco 6 years ago, and a super tight glute which pinches a nerve leaving me unable to stand up straight without excrutiating pain. Not a scientific explanation but I am no medic!

So my advice would be to rest your back and body, try and get a good physio or osteopath and work with them to work out why and then how to strengthen and rectify. Bad backs are so common and often so hard to understand and fix. Voltaren also helps get through the really painful parts of the day - the cream and the pills.

10:22:43 PM
Hey Ado!
You're screwed!

No, I'm sure it'll be fine.
I've got Spondilolithisis of my L5/S1, with a slip as well as an unhealed fracture (pars defect)
It started playing up for me when I got to the UK. Heck! I moved there to get good! Not to gain 15kgs and find it difficult to stand up/lay down (and like you, I cannot sit up right. I've taken to the sitting in bed pose quite well though.) Not bad for a 21year old :D

It's taken me almost a year and a half to get my core strength back to almost as good as it was, and pain has decreased(with about 10kgs lost), but I also have impinged hips, both left and right. My left hasn't stopped paining, so now with my OZ physician, she suspects a tear in my hip ligament (which wasn't investigated in the UK)

I've been told by a Physio, Osteopath and Orthopeadic Surgeon, I can never afford to become 'unfit' - Sh*t.

I find it incredibly difficult to climb anything steep/overhanging, and because I can't trust my legs, slopy things - which I must say regretably, I didn't get on very well with grit :(

The best relief for me is deep tissue massage and gentle resistant and training a good stretch! I'm thinking of doing pilates now I'm more stable.

Haha, It's good to know I'm not the only one suffering.

So I am also very interested if anyone has any tips or strategies!
10:46:53 PM
This one comes up periodically. You folks are not alone. Do what the physio says to heal through the acute stuff. Then get on your pilates or yoga. I prefer the pilates as old Joseph was an original hard man. The maintenance of your back through pilates or yoga must become part of your daily routine. So analogy to 12 step programs and forever being in recovery would be appropriate.

People being what people are it will probably take you 2 or 3 serious relapses before you realize that even if your back felt good yesterday and has felt good for the last year, doesn't mean you can skip out on the pilates today.

Two back surgeries down the line I am wishing I learned quicker.

Good luck to the both of ya.

Oh and NSAIDs. Ibuprofin being my choice. For the acute stuff, they are pure gold. But for your kidney's sake only use them for a couple a days after a relapse. Beyond that, learn to breath through that pain.

11:02:30 PM
Does anyone know of any good pilates programs?
12:10:36 AM
Beer. Codine. ,Swiss balll. weights using a bench. beer. codine. Ice. Hot ,water bottles. Radox bath. beer, codine. stretch. Take dog for walk and tell the world they are cnts. beer. codine, stretch. stretch. beer codine. repeat.
2:30:51 AM
I've gone from barely able to get off the couch to a feeling of I now have this beat with my secret recovery formula.
I bought a surf ski, best physio/rehab I have ever done.
After 13months I am now tentative steps beginning running again.

Swimming was hell for me. Walking was good, as was riding my bike.
Pain killers did nothing.

I have one bulged disc and one medial tear on another.
Good luck.
Mine certainly responds to rest and appropriate exercise.
7:17:32 AM
I would hope that a good physio is the best source of advice for how to manage the injury right now. When I did my back 12 years ago, the physio i saw was pretty useless but I saw Meg Sleeman after I moved to Nati and she gave me very specific exercises for the core muscles you need to get working again. I suspect that at this stage general pilates and yoga are both too full on for the state of the injury and not specific enough to get the right muscles turned on again. I'd get the basics sorted now (have you seen Naomi Gibbs BTW? Meg isn't practising anymore} and put P and Y on the long term maintanence plan. Actually, I do neither, but whatever floats your boat.

Equally important are the long term lifestyle changes. Sitting at a desk all day is bad for everyone, and really really bad for a back injury. I wouldn't expect you to be able to do it at 6 weeks. Adjust your workday to do as little as possible. Get a knee chair or the like that makes sitting at your desk slightly better. Work shorter days. Dictate from a horizontal position. Move your keyboard onto the floor and lie down. Sitting all day is going to be majorly impeding your recovery. I shamelessly lay on the floor on my stomach in all sorts of public places, (you know those back exercises that start with laying down on a firm surface?) because it was the best position for pain relief. Sitting in cars is equally awful. And lifting things. It's amazing what a back injury will do for your realising the benefits of good lifting technique (although some people need to learn it a few times ...) Even if it's only light, don't bend down! Try and avoid anything that involves working in a bent forward position, protect your back by squatting and turning on your core muscles.

On the good news side, i haven't had a relapse over 10 years, apparently being young and fit is a good start for full recovery. I have no dramas with climbing, walking, riding, skiing. The only thing that occasionally causes pain is extended sitting (desks, driving) and I think almost everyone gets that, because it really is bad for you. Maintain good posture, moving around and streching tend to fix it. I'd expect that by the time we get to decent weather, you'd be able to do some gentle climbing, just get someone else to carry all the heavy gear. The ruck sack and the driving will be the killer, not the climbing! Cruisy climbing is going to be way less stressful than most of what you do everyday. Maybe hold off on the powerful underclings for a while though.

11:37:40 AM
"My name is Ado, and I've f---ed my back."

I really appreciate hearing all your stories. I don't know many people who've had this problem, so it's good to hear I'm not the only one struggling with it. Stories of full recovery are inspiring.

"Sitting all day is going to be majorly impeding your recovery" Right on.

11:55:22 AM
Did anyone see a chiro?
11:58:46 AM
I've heard active recovery is the most effective method. Lots of long, remote, adventurous climbs in far flung wilderness areas.

Actually I know a guy organising a trip to Tassie soon.....

12:03:40 PM
I did something to my back by taking a strange twisted fall while climbing. I couldnt sit at a desk for more than an hour.

I found that if you stretch for at least 30 mins first thing in the morning, and then do 5-10 minutes of stretching per couple of hours at the desk then it makes life bearable.

Thankfully I'm pretty much healed now
12:19:47 PM
On 18/10/2010 ado_m wrote:
>Did anyone see a chiro?

Granted this my be a flame; however I do feel strongly on this point.

Stay the fcuk away from chiropractors. You won't ever be able to separate the legitimate science from the quackery. Go to a good physio and do exactly what they say. Naomi Gibbs would be a good first point of contact if you need one.

12:47:52 PM
I fractured my back twice in one year and the only solace I found (outside of the physio) was Yoga... Lots of it for a long time! I spent 1.5 hrs a day stretching, for almost 2 years to get it feeling solid again. Now I'm slack and spend maybe 15 min a day stretching...

12:51:44 PM
On 17/10/2010 ado_m wrote:
>Soooo.....other experiences? Recovery strategies? Mine is based around
>time, pilates, other exercises and massage, never doing laundry again and
>trying to keep hours sitting at a desk to a minimum (as this is the real
>Appreciate your stories and if anyone has any miracle cures they want
>to share.

Those are the miracle cures, you have listed them already. Forget whatever they tell you on Today Tonight and A Current Affair.

Talk to your physio about swimming and jogging in the pool.

One of my colleagues has a programme on her computer that shuts it down for 5 minutes every half hour so she may as well get up and stretch. I usually turn off the computer and take a walk in the park mid afternoon.
12:53:45 PM
Ditto to that. You've got an acute disc problem that first needs to heal. You don't want someone who thinks that vigorous manipulation is the answer.
12:56:46 PM
On 18/10/2010 billk wrote:

>One of my colleagues has a programme on her computer that shuts it down
>for 5 minutes every half hour so she may as well get up and stretch. I
>usually turn off the computer and take a wlak in the park mid afternoon.

Workrave is the program. It will lock you out of your screen for 30 seconds ever 5 minutes or any other frequency and duration you would like. You stand up and walk around or stretch in that time. Helps me.

12:58:05 PM
On 18/10/2010 billk wrote:
>One of my colleagues has a programme on her computer that shuts it down for 5 minutes every half hour so she may as well get up and stretch. I usually turn off the computer and take a wlak in the park mid afternoon.

I use a free program called workrave for this. Defaults to a 30 second break every 3 minutes and a 10 minute break every hour and a daily limit of 4 hours at the PC per day.

2:11:19 PM
welcome to the club :-)
I've got the same injury (slipped disc in L4 and L5) but was just recently diagnosed with it but probably had it recurring for years. Recently re-injured it by deep-water soloing and jumping off stupidly and landing on my butt/lower back - and i went on a big water slide the day before.
so, first lesson: don't act like a 13 year old anymore and don't let your ego get the better of you, doing things that may aggravate your back.
- I've got a desk where i can adjust the height and standing is really good (sitting is really the worst).
- Yoga is good but you need a good teacher to advise you. A good exercise to lie on your tummy in cobra pose and slowly start lifting your upper body (stop if you have pain) - you'll notice that it gets better with time and soon you can start putting your hands next to your upper body and push up into an arch (again, stop if there is pain). Also, warrior pose is good once you are over the acute phase.
- Rest? mmh, maybe, if you can stretch your glutes (they are the ones that will cramp out) and walk thats better than risking having your muscles degenerate and your core strength declining.
- finally, don't get depressed! seriously, it is easy to slip into total desperation and over-medicate with beer and feeling-sorry-for-yourself. It will heal!!! really!
- and if you havent noticed by now: YOU ARE NOT ALONE :-)

2:57:08 PM
Maybe they just like now diagnosing people with big words that are hard to pronounce, It's all the rave currently. The Chiro I used to see before I saw a physio and and had the MRI, told me it was just a trapped sciatic nerve.

Oh, and I agree with you rightarmbad, Swimming is BAD. I went swimming and the next day I was in so much agony, I couldn't even get relief from laying down.

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There are 36 messages in this topic.


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