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  1. #1
    Registered User ENCBBQ's Avatar
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    degenerative disc disease?

    the short of it- pretty much new to lifting, did it for a good while 5-6 years ago but getting to a gym w/ family and work was too much after a while. So i bought a Covid home gym and am lifting and plan to continue. 13 years ago I ruptured a disc, it healed as well as it could but back pain has persisted since then. To alleviate the pain I just needed to be active. Running...anything... the more I was fit the less it hurt. But now not so much. Went to the Ortho, got an xray, and it shows pretty significant DDD. I start PT today. Doc has given me clearance to continue lifting, running, whatever I want to do.

    Im starting to wonder if going lower weight with more reps might be the way to go. Im squatting almost nothing right now and the weight isnt a problem with lifting, its when Im standing vertical and my back is loaded vertically. It hurts like a sombich.

    So, anyone lift with DDD?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    Due to an auto accident 5 years ago, I have "bulging" discs on the right side of both my C6 & C7 vertebra that have never fully healed.

    When those discs are swollen/inflamed, they can give me issues with spasms, pain, numbness and reduce the "mind/muscle" connection to my right tricep, forearm, hand, right lat, and right shoulder to the point of a loss of 50% or more of my effective lifting strength with those muscles.

    Ultimately I have learned how to gauge just how hard I can push myself when lifting and know what the warning signs are as to when I need to stop for the day or back off certain lifts like the OH press so as to avoid a flare-up but it took a lot of trial and error over the years to figure it out.

    Overall, it hasn't stopped me but it has slowed my progress a good bit, especially on building my shoulders and traps.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Not a doctor but what i would do first is see what your PT has to say and recommends.
    Back issues are things to take seriously.
    Thing that could help you and I'm only speculating are foam rolling and hanging for traction after you train.
    I use those straps for abs where the elbow go in so i don't have to worry about grip during the hang.
    The other thing you might consider are hip belt squats.
    A special belt where you can attach it to a weight pin or weight plates and squat.
    Very little to no back involvement and the legs/quads get some great work in.
    I use the "Ironmind hip belt"thats designed for these.
    You may need some small block if you want more range on your squat.
    You can also hold on to a post or rack to keep you fairly upright and stricter while squatting.
    Good luck.
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  4. #4
    Registered User ENCBBQ's Avatar
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    Im doing low bar squats and it only hurts when my spine is vertical during racking and walking out, as soon as it isn't vertical the pain disappears.

    And I am doing a lot of "maybe today I go easy" and why im still lifting light. Its a marathon, I dont really care about numbers TBH.

    And like I say, my ortho has OK'd what Im doing
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    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    I recommend reading "Back Mechanic", by Stuart McGill. It's the best book on back pain ever written.
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  6. #6
    Registered User ENCBBQ's Avatar
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    PT said its weak glutes and hams. going to focus on those and see if it helps.
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    Registered User Cantplankwell's Avatar
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    I have been dealing with it for a couple of years, no specific injury, just age. Sooner or later it will affect you if you live long enough. Some days it does not bother me at all.

    What you do outside the weight room the other 23 hours of the day might be doing more damage

    I probably have very poor core strength, need to work on that.

    I have had to look at sleeping postions, there are certain postions and props(pillows or a rolled up towel) you can use to support the natural curve of your back to take the load off and get relief.

    8-10 hours a day I sit at work, so getting up and walking around is helping, additionally I am switching to a standing desk

    Do you come home and plop into a soft deep cushy chair for the rest of the day craning over your laptop or watching TV?.this drives my back nuts, moving around is relief.

    Certain yoga stretches help...calf/cow, childs pose, cobra and others can help...look it up. Investigate how yoga might help you

    Get some physio,

    Dont stop training, just train differently, for example no more movements that put my back in a heavy shear (heavy rows), or swinging motion (kettle bells). You probably also dont want to spend 2 hours in the weight room, doing too much, I need to do the most simple full body execises and condense them down to get a simple effective workout, 3 days a week. Also you dont want to be overweight at all.

    I am still trying to figure it out, it becomes more about maintenance and trying new things.
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  8. #8
    Registered User zzfh's Avatar
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    I have bulging discs in l4 l5 l5 s1.... it's a constant ongoing thing. things iv had to get rid of that if i do i'll be spasm central tomorrow
    bent over rows
    any kind of squatting
    kbell swings
    deadlifts.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ENCBBQ's Avatar
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    I’m going to keep my squats light af and see if my PT exercises help
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  10. #10
    PermaBulker willybrokeback's Avatar
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    I have DDD. 13 disc bulges (I believe that was the last count), had T-spine surgery to fuse T8-9 and 10-11 and cut out a calcified ligament in my spinal column. Have arthritis in my spine as well. After surgery I really thought I would go back to normal and just pick up where I left off. Nope. I think the best advice I can give you is listen to your back. If it hurts in that bad way stop and find a different exercise. I do not back squat at all and the thought of putting a heavy bar on my back scares the crap out of me. I just started dead lifts after covid because I only had a bar, no rack and my options were limited. I started really light and have had some success there, but for a long time I did not squat, DL, or military press at all. Again, I am working back into MP and DL, but I did that slowly. I do not run at all. It just hurts. The impact makes it feel like someone is hammering on my spine. I do feel better when I am more active, but when I am too active I pay a heavy price. Standing too long hurts, so I am constantly changing positions. Anyway, my advice is to make sure your form is good, be careful loading your spine, and listen to your body. If your squatting light anyway, try Zercher (sp?)squats. They are a regular in my routine now. Doesn't sound like you are letting your ego kill you so that is good. Good luck and I feel your pain- literally.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ENCBBQ's Avatar
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    Mine is not nearly as bad as yours. It was explained by my PT that we will all have DDD, and most over 40-50 have it. He also said pain comes from 3 things, I forget what they are but mine was/is poor muscle mechanics in glutes and hamstrings.

    I found a woman’s “how to get a big bootie” kettlebell workout that I have been doing at the beginning of every workout and my pain is almost gone, finally getting confidence in squats
    Last edited by ENCBBQ; 07-04-2020 at 12:36 PM.
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