• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

    Styleforum is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Prolapsed (slipped) L3 disc, what's my best exercise?

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
500
Reaction score
22
Hello all,

About four years ago I suffered a slipped L3 disc which caused a lot of pain down the front of my left leg, to the point where the muscles pretty much disappeared. I eventually had an MRI and subsequently an injection into the nerve to calm inflammation, which resulted in a lot less pain.

Since then my back has been stiff and sore (not painful) almost every day and I'm getting fed up with it. The MRI shows that there is very little "soft" disc left and if I overdo anything related to my back it gets extremely sore.

I used to play a lot of tennis competitively until I was 32 (I'm now 37) and was pretty fit but the usual stuff (a job with a lot of travelling, kids, getting older, etc.) means I'm now very unfit and have put on a lot of weight (around 50 pounds).

Before it gets too late, I'm determined to get to grips with this and get myself back into shape. I've improved my eating habits and have dropped 15 pounds but want to get back down to about 195 which means I need to lose another 35 or so. My knowledge on diet is good enough to eat healthily and lose the rest of the weight but I need a simple exercise routine that doesn't take a huge amount of time and is relatively flexible (i.e. the times and days can vary if necessary). Clear explanations/links to particular exercises would be great.

In the old days I would simply run and get on the mountain bike but both give me serious back pain at the moment and the last thing I want to do is more damage. I'm hoping this pain is because I'm carrying a bit of extra weight and that some exercises to strengthen my back plus some more weight loss will see me able to do them again.

I've done a search both on here and Google but there's very little specific info about exercise for my particular injury. In essence, I'm after some good back-friendly general fitness exercises (bearing in mind my fitness level is starting at a low point), plus any specific exercises to take the pressure off my my back and build the strength to be able to do other more intense exercise.

Sorry for the long post, any suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Cheers,

TB
 

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
500
Reaction score
22
No. I'm in the UK and live in a fairly rural area so regular visits would be difficult. A one-off consultation might be doable though - I've got very little experience with this, until the back problem I've always been fit and healthy.

Do they have "design a programme" type options? (Sorry if this is a dumb question).

Edit - I just called a couple of local(ish) physiotherapy clinics and in order to use them I have to be referred by my Doctor and their cost is £35-40 per 30 minutes. If I was in a lot of pain and struggling to move I would do this but I'm just a bit uncomfortable and looking to build up my strength and fitness without doing any damage. Plus the treatment could get very expensive very quickly....
 

Gradstudent78

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
2,255
Reaction score
18
Originally Posted by Tidybeard
No. I'm in the UK and live in a fairly rural area so regular visits would be difficult. A one-off consultation might be doable though - I've got very little experience with this, until the back problem I've always been fit and healthy.

Do they have "design a programme" type options? (Sorry if this is a dumb question).

Edit - I just called a couple of local(ish) physiotherapy clinics and in order to use them I have to be referred by my Doctor and their cost is £35-40 per 30 minutes. If I was in a lot of pain and struggling to move I would do this but I'm just a bit uncomfortable and looking to build up my strength and fitness without doing any damage. Plus the treatment could get very expensive very quickly....


Look at it this way: if you work out and mess it up further then you might get to a point where you are in alot of pain and struggling to move. Wouldn't it be better (and probably more cost effective) to get a session or two up front to help lower the chance of something like that happening. The key would be to get the most out of your visits. Be up front with the physical therapist of what you want and how many visits your willing to put in.
 

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
500
Reaction score
22
Good point. I guess I'm going to have to stump up for a proper consultation.

This seems very un-SF-like. I thought everybody had an opinion, they were all contrary and none of them came anywhere near to common sense?
smile.gif


Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,505
Reaction score
367
I would not see a physical therapist about this because they're generally idiots when it comes to exercise. They can help a 60 year-old man recover from a hip replacement but generally are unable to help former athletes and such recover.

Try a cycle ergometer or just walking. I know it sounds wussy but anyone with sciatica severe enough to cause isolated muscle atrophy absolutely needs to find out what works for them since sciatica is very fickle.
 

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
500
Reaction score
22
Originally Posted by why
I would not see a physical therapist about this because they're generally idiots when it comes to exercise. They can help a 60 year-old man recover from a hip replacement but generally are unable to help former athletes and such recover.

Try a cycle ergometer or just walking. I know it sounds wussy but anyone with sciatica severe enough to cause isolated muscle atrophy absolutely needs to find out what works for them since sciatica is very fickle.


Thanks - I assume isolated muscle atrophy is what happened when my leg muscles disappeared?

I have had swimming suggested as a low impact exercise. I've never been much of a swimmer (although I can swim) - any reason why I shouldn't give this a go mixed in with walking/gentle cycling?
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,505
Reaction score
367
Originally Posted by Tidybeard
Thanks - I assume isolated muscle atrophy is what happened when my leg muscles disappeared?

I have had swimming suggested as a low impact exercise. I've never been much of a swimmer (although I can swim) - any reason why I shouldn't give this a go mixed in with walking/gentle cycling?


If it hurts don't do it. The pain is caused by inflammation and anything that causes inflammation will never alleviate the pain no matter how much someone tells you it'll 'strengthen your core' or any other harebrained idea.

Other than that, give it a try.
 

thekunk07

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Apr 27, 2007
Messages
18,117
Reaction score
3,247
i tend to agree but i'm lucky in that mine is a competetive bodybuilder and knows there is no way i am doing external rotations with 4lb dumbells or staying out of the gym.


Originally Posted by why
I would not see a physical therapist about this because they're generally idiots when it comes to exercise. They can help a 60 year-old man recover from a hip replacement but generally are unable to help former athletes and such recover.

Try a cycle ergometer or just walking. I know it sounds wussy but anyone with sciatica severe enough to cause isolated muscle atrophy absolutely needs to find out what works for them since sciatica is very fickle.
 

hamm23

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
414
Reaction score
1
I would recommend you see someone for the condition you are experiencing. Due to the decreased structural integrity of that L3/4 joint the muscles and other joints in the low back will be straining to stabilize that region. Exercises may just exacerbate your symptoms unless the exact needed movements are performed. Simple supine double knee to chest and "cat" stretches would be a good and remedial start to correcting the problem. Also make sure to stretch the hamstrings, glutes, quads, and piriformis because they are all closely related to low back mobility.
 

why

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,505
Reaction score
367
Originally Posted by hamm23
I would recommend you see someone for the condition you are experiencing. Due to the decreased structural integrity of that L3/4 joint the muscles and other joints in the low back will be straining to stabilize that region. Exercises may just exacerbate your symptoms unless the exact needed movements are performed. Simple supine double knee to chest and "cat" stretches would be a good and remedial start to correcting the problem. Also make sure to stretch the hamstrings, glutes, quads, and piriformis because they are all closely related to low back mobility.

Ignore this entire post because like I said here most people think lower back pain is all caused by the same stuff. If you have a slipped disc and severe sciatica strengthening muscles in the region will likely just intensify the problem. Do what you can and stop as soon as the pain starts.
 

bmulford

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
2,994
Reaction score
29
having torn several disc's (along with cracking a vertbra) I know what you're going through. PT can be useful to help balance your body that gets out of whack from coping with the sciatica pain.

However, if you have a degenerative problem you're likely going to continue to get worse over time. Find out as much as you can about microdiscectomy because you'll probably need it.

In the meantime, lose as much weight as possible. extra fat/size throws off your body mechanics badly, and will exasperate the issue greatly.

Aleve or other NASIDS help a lot of folks, as does Celebrex + Nuerontin.

Also - buy yourself a posturpedic back pillow. They are amazingly useful for those who have lower disc issues and sit a good part of the day. Amazon has them for approx $100.
 

Tck13

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
5,296
Reaction score
62
Originally Posted by bmulford
having torn several disc's (along with cracking a vertbra) I know what you're going through. PT can be useful to help balance your body that gets out of whack from coping with the sciatica pain. However, if you have a degenerative problem you're likely going to continue to get worse over time. Find out as much as you can about microdiscectomy because you'll probably need it. In the meantime, lose as much weight as possible. extra fat/size throws off your body mechanics badly, and will exasperate the issue greatly. Aleve or other NASIDS help a lot of folks, as does Celebrex + Nuerontin. Also - buy yourself a posturpedic back pillow. They are amazingly useful for those who have lower disc issues and sit a good part of the day. Amazon has them for approx $100.
I'll add that one must take it consistently to get the anti inflammatory benefits...
 

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
500
Reaction score
22
Thanks for the advice guys. I think to be on the safe side I will do as much walking/swimming as I can before it starts to hurt, stretch as well as I can and regularly review. If I get to the point where my weight is right and I feel reasonably fit but the back is still bad, then I'll probably have to get some medical treatment.

I just want to make sure I have done all the right things within my own sphere of influence before I have to start looking at medical intervention (particularly the microdiscectomy - ouch!). At 37 with two small children, I don't want to have surgery unless there's absolutely no other option.

Thanks again,

TB
 

Gradstudent78

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
2,255
Reaction score
18
Originally Posted by Tidybeard
Thanks for the advice guys. I think to be on the safe side I will do as much walking/swimming as I can before it starts to hurt, stretch as well as I can and regularly review. If I get to the point where my weight is right and I feel reasonably fit but the back is still bad, then I'll probably have to get some medical treatment.

I just want to make sure I have done all the right things within my own sphere of influence before I have to start looking at medical intervention (particularly the microdiscectomy - ouch!). At 37 with two small children, I don't want to have surgery unless there's absolutely no other option.

Thanks again,

TB


Good luck on the weight loss and I hope it does give some relief to the back problems. I've had nagging back problems before and I know how much it can suck.
 

Featured Sponsor

What is your preferred frame style for men's sunglasses?

  • Aviator

  • Wayfarer

  • Clubmaster

  • Round

  • Wrap-around


Results are only viewable after voting.

Forum statistics

Threads
488,346
Messages
10,371,143
Members
218,152
Latest member
Naguib
Top