Disc injury rehabilitation, back and spine

Since injuring my back a lot of people i’ve spoken to have told me they’ve had similar issues ..and tbh i got tired of repeating myself, so i sat down to write a guide on how i’m rehabilitating the ruptured disc in my lower back, in the hope it might help someone.


how (stupid)?

All my life i’ve had an inflexibility in my lower spine, which i looked after well so it never really caused me any issues in life or sport. I’d just started feeling 100% healthy after the nightmare neck injury. Started Thai Boxing and Gymnastics again and was beginning to feel confident and content in the gift of good health that’d not experienced for around 7 years.

My 1st ever time doing Acroyoga was on our 1st Road Trip. I got over excited, i wasnt able to put my back flat on the floor, my hips wouldn’t touch it, but i had been working on correcting it for a few months and suddenly realised that doing this often would probably fix that immobility i’d carried my whole life, by forcing my lower back to bend fully. I may well have been correct but taking the role of the base for a few hours trying to do it all in one day. of course. was not! All of their body weight was being carried by me, but i couldnt feel any tiredness or strain as the majority of it was supported horizontally by my lower spine.

The unpleasant adventure: I want to go back and slap myself as it was soo obvious, but what’s done is done.. a few days later i was leaning forwards and something happened to my back.. something bad. i managed to get myself into bed to try sleeping it off, but woke at 3am completely unable to move my legs! it took me an hour to inch myself across the bed and call an ambulance, who arrived with the police and pushed my van into the middle of the street to lift me out (luckily i’d had the foresight to open the door as i was turning around).

Anyway i spent the night in the Spanish hospital, where they pumped me full of strong anti-inflammatory’s until eventually i was able to stand up and shuffle around. seeing me shuffle at old person with a zimmerframe pace the docs decided i could (and should) go home ..while i was barely able to walk, was miles away from my van and wearing only my boxer shorts. After a brief discussion it was clear i wasnt going to get any more help, so i stole a bed sheet to make a toga and shuffled off into the city.

There was no possibility of walking the 10 or so miles home so i shuffled into the metro to get a train. the guy in the ticket office only put up small resistance before realising that i was in a hopeless situation and letting me on the tube. as a side note i found a stolen purse with 3 Polish passports in it in one of the elevators on the metro. had to go up and down 3 times before i was able to reach low enough pick it up but i was pleased to hand it in (and that the shiny silver purse made my ridiculous outfit look more complete).

 

rehabilitation:
My spine will never be as strong as before, but it is possible to make the surrounding muscles stronger than before to balance out the injury. i bought a pipe (plumbing style) and some rope and i hang it from a tree and spend 30mins a day upside down like a bat reading, if you have a disc injury that’s a great way to do your own traction to help the healing.

Below is a video of an excise to strengthen the specific muscles needed to protect the lower back, i waited a few weeks before starting the exercises.

Rener Gracie is a elite level athlete doing a sport that is very intensive on your spine, and i understand he had much worse injury than my herniated disc. Besides that you need to be very careful with it for the next 9 months as re-injuring it in that time will make your long term health far worse; exercise is good for the healing, but nothing that puts pressure on it (I swim every morning). Oh and posture is important, get on youtube and improve your posture which will keep it moreoften in a healthy range of motion.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but so far its pretty good …9 months of being careful is not going to be easy though!

Update: 2 years in and it’s fabulous. I can do anything i want to so long as i stay alert for any changes in my back, which seem to come occasionally if it gets into an unnatural position. Then i stop immediately and go take it easy. no problems just a few early baths.

Oh, and i got that lower back moving eventually. The human body is amazingly adaptive if you just do something constructive every day for long enough.

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