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  1. #1
    Registered User Hannahcanter's Avatar
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    Degenerative disc disease please help

    Hi everyone, would really appreciate some advice on this topic, would be really grateful if you could take the time to read…

    So I’m 22 and had been training for around 2 years, bodybuilding and the gym had become my life and is what I lived for every day. I’m currently studying to become a personal trainer and can’t imagine my life without training. I lift relatively heavy and had built my dream physique following a program I had created for myself which took a lot of trial and error.

    Basically, around 5 months ago I was overhead pressing too heavy and with bad form and felt soreness in my lower back, nothing major, I still continued with my session. Ever since then I have had a burning pain and stiffness in my lower back which hasn’t gone away.
    As it had been so long and with no help from multiple physio I decided to see an orthopaedic and got an MRI done of my lumbar.
    I am only 22 years old and the MRI shows moderate degenerative disc disease in l3/4 l4/5 and l5/S1 as well as disc bulges and a small protrusion and tear however there is no nerve root compression which is good. After the follow up with my orthopaedic he told me I can never lift weights again. I remember breaking down crying and thinking my life is over and since then my depression and anxiety has got extremely bad.

    He said that if I continued to lift I could end up deteriorating further and even end up with cauda equina syndrome. He said I could continue with weights and there is a chance that this could never happen however it is a risk with me being so young and having degeneration on multiple levels.

    I then proceeded to show my physio the report and he said what the orthopaedic said is bull**** and that degeneration and disc bulging are normal findings on an MRI. After doing my own research I am aware that degeneration is a natural part of the ageing process. I am also aware that this and the disc bulges may not be my cause of pain as I’ve never previously suffered with any back issues and have been able to lift heavy having probably had this disc degeneration throughout my life.

    Sorry for such a long post but I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on this and if there is any one else who has been able to continue pursing bodybuilding with multiple degenerative discs as my fear is being so young, if I continue to do so what condition my back will be in in the future.

    Since then I have been doing a tone of core exercises and some cardio, also stretching 3 times a day which helps with the current burning sensation I’m still getting and still have no idea what is causing this.

    My physio has told me to go to the gym and do light weights that don’t cause my any pain and so far have been able to do some machine work and light dumbbell stuff for upper body which actually takes the pain away as it is worse when sitting or lying down.

    I am aware that it is still possible to gain size and strength from machine only work however, being a female wanting to pursue bodybuilding my goal is to also grow my glutes which I have been extremely successful with following an amazing programme for glute hypertrophy with exercises such as sumo deadlift, barbell squat, rdls, good mornings, hip thrusts etc which I am aware are all taxing on the lower back.

    I have lost ALOT of muscle and gained some fat from stress eating etc and I just want to be strong and muscular again! I know I’ll never be able to test my 1RM etc but if I start sumo deadlifting and squatting starting with no weight and perfecting my form is this possible?

    If you took the time to read this I really appreciate it and look forward to hearing some feedback from you all being a newbie to the forum.

    Thanks, Hannah.
    Last edited by Hannahcanter; 12-27-2021 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Adding images
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  2. #2
    Registered User userMHFSXBH6ALH's Avatar
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    Please someone help

    Please someone with knowledge please help, sorry for my bad english
    Please help iam in same situation, been diagnosed degenerative disc and doctor say its better to not lift weight anymore, iam so sad because iam love weightlifting so much, anyone can help please???
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  3. #3
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I don't know much about it but I would be very very careful about doing anything against the orders of a qualified doctor. People on this forum might mean well but could give you advice that leads to worsening of your condition.

    Perhaps talk to your doctor and clarify what you want to do - perhaps they are just giving out general advice - but maybe a specialist might be able to help you with what kinds of training might be OK for your condition.
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