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about me and my back issues

Thanks for reading my first post. Here is a quick history about me. I am 29 years old very active in pursuit of becoming a bodybuilder. I first noticed my lumbar spine was different when i was 23 i lifted something inncorrectly and felt a pop seen some stars. I went to my doctor who recommend a spine specialist. I had my first MRI and they found stenosis and rapid disk degeneration. my first surgery was a minor diskectomy at the L5-S1 level it was quick and easy i was on my feet in no time. no long after that i was playing hockey and again felt a pop and seen stars but this time it was worst the onset was pretty nasty and pain,weakness,numbness ect kept getting worst. i was set for another MRI.

After this MRI they found that L3-L4 was severly prolapsed and the stenosis at this level was not helping my situation.The hospital and surgeon dragged their feet and kept me on steroids and pain meds and I gained 110lbs before they performed my second surgery L3-L4 diskectomy and Laminectomy. I had complications they ended up tearing a large hole in the dura and i developed a blood clot they had to reopen me fix the dura and remove a clot and install a drain.

after the recovery and PT i vowed to lose the weight and learn as much as i could about the spine. I ended up getting involved with weight lifting and I was hooked on it mainly because my doctors said i couldn't do anything physical. I was doing well up into August of 2012 i was performing heavy squats and it was like deja vu heard and felt a pop and almost stapled myself to the floor with 325lbs on my back. i lasted 3weeks with doing physical therapy at home i went to a different hospital a better one in Boston they did a MRI and found that L4-L5 had prolapsed pretty severely and i needed to make a choice on the spot. That friday i was in for surgery diskectomy, laminectomy at L4-L5. since i was in the best shape of my life i was out of the hospital same day back to work in a week and back to the gym in 4weeks.

I was doing well in the best shape of my life 5'11 215lbs and 10%body fat. I was working out at a very small gym made for people like myself and i was performing an exercise and the floor board shifted and i had a mass amount of weight pull me backwards again felt and heard a pop seen stars. I took a week off the gym rehabed the injury and i felt great up to the week of thanksgiving I started to have weird pressure sensations and weakness in my left hip to my foot didn't think anything kept trying the rehab work i already knew but the pain and pressure kept getting worst. On Dec 8th i was at the gym finished up a solid workout i was stretching my lower back and i did hanging traction felt a pop and then a warm sensation i looked down and I'm not afraid to say it wet my pants. i slowly let myself back to the ground stumbled to the shower cleaned up and got home. went to bed woke up covered in urine again went to the ER. they got me in for MRI where the found that S1 has slid forward and up into the spinal space it crushed the disk and completely collapsed it and L2-L3 had a massive prolapse aswell. they also found that all my lumbar disks are deteariorated and the lumbar region has mass amounts of stenosis.
Dec 9th i was admitted into the hospital they performed a L5-S1 TLIF with instrumentaion L2-L3 laminectomy and diskectomy.

I'm 7weeks out of the surgery and I'm still in a moderate amount of pain but really left wondering a few things, 1:how much sensation will come back since i have lost sensation in some of my foot and outter calf area and 2:with the amount of stenosis and disk disease i have down there how much longer till my next fusion. I keep my head high and plug through waiting to get back to the gym and prove to myself this will not get me down and i will bounce back yet again with hopes that the three other areas with out the lamina and previous prolapsed disks hold up and i can keep the dream of becoming a bodybuilder alive.
after every operation you must push on


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • The one huge question that I have for you, is if you were told NO physical activity, why on earth would you choose to start weight lifting, especially so close after having the first surgery, and then the second one??????? Did you clear this activity with your surgeon before starting it/resuming it? If not, that may in fact , have far more to do with why you keep finding yourself reinjuring and injuring new areas of your spine and winding up needing repeated surgeries.
    As to how long it will be before you need another one? Depends on when you decide to return to the gym and start lifting weights again......that should have been made very clear to you, that surgery successes and failures are in large part up to the patient doing exactly what they are told to do and NOT do post surgery.
  • Not to be rude, but you sound self-destructive. I'm afraid to lift my 15 pound dog 4 months after my fusion. Your back is more important than being a body builder! You might need to rethink your goals in life. Just sayin'.....
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • with after your first surgery, let alone after each successive one......and power lifting??? It sounds like you enjoy the endorphins and the rush that comes from all of the ultra heavy lifting, and are willing to risk your ability to walk, stand and do anything to continue to lift weights.....
    I strongly suggest you find a far less strenous hobby and not one that is going to continue to put your ability to stand on your own two feet at risk because sooner or later, you are going to loose that battle. Seems to me that you are already experiencing some serious nerve problems and they might just become permanent.
    Let me ask you, are you also using performance enhancing medications? Your spine should not be in the condition it is in unless you are using substances that are damaging to the bones in your spine, not at your age...While you may be getting a physical high now from doing what you are doing, you won't be in a few years, when you have caused so much damage or put yourself into a wheelchair and wish you had listened .

  • I used to run for the love of running. Running 5 and 10k were not enough. I started running marathons and wouldntlisten to what my body was telling me. The last marathon I ran was the Marine corps in 2003. I didn't listen when my back and neck screamed at me during my training runs. I went to a chiropractor weekly with the goal of completing the marathon which I did. When I saw my GPS for continued back and neck pain a month after coming back he ordered an MRI and he told me I either needed to stop running or do permanent damage to my back. I did stop running but unfortunately when you have done damage beyond a certain point your body can't heal though it tries. The end result is continuing degradation over time arthritis bone spurs and continuing pain.
    None of us here can give an answer on what will happen to you if you continue to pursue bodybuilding. We can provide recommendations and testimony of what happened to us. I am currently in the second week of recovery following a three level cervical fusion. I will be in a hard collar for 3 months. Think long and hard about what long term damage you are doing to your body. It's one thing to strengthen muscles to provide better support for your neck and back and lifting heavy weights that in the long term will or could due permanent damage
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • kroberts9kkroberts9 Posts: 8
    edited 02/03/2014 - 10:05 AM
    Thanks for the words and please let me clear the air, I haven't started back up i don't plan to until cleared either, I'm still under a 10lb weight restriction for another 8weeks. My spine health is more important then moving forward on the bodybuilding. I haven't and will not until cleared i also know that certain lifts can not be done with my condition. my goals in bodybuilding still drive my passion but powerlifting is out of the question.

    Many people don't understand the point of it and the different areas that it touches powerlifting and bodybuilding are two different things and have different goals. do many body builders use powerlifting routines from time to time?Yes but it is not the main focus. My goal is to build solid stable muscle to support my spine.

    I don't plan on being a powerlifter but i do want to still lift and enjoy the results of it as long as my surgeon says that i can. I don't want to end up fearing any and all physical activity because i had surgery I think that can be less productive on healing and can lead to other issues such as chronic pain,depression and so on.

    @sandi- That is a great question and one that has been asked to me before, the honest answer is no. I was shocked to see what my spine looked like even before i took the bodybuilding thing as serious as i do now. when i first injured my back i was more into physique and endurance then the larger defined muscle look. I have never used steroids in my life i also don't smoke,drink or part take in any other substances i had the great honor of watching my older brother make thoses mistakes. I have researched my genes and found that both my farther and his family have had issues with spinal conditions as well as my mothers side too. not sure if you can have these conditions in your dna structure but there is nothing i can find saying you can't .

    ADRjen-not rude at all everyone has an opinion and i do appreciate yours. i just don't want the so called victim mentality i want to be able to push myself safely and i do know that everything i do will be modified and i have excepted it.

    Davrunner- If running is something you love and they said you can't you under stand where im coming from it makes it hard to except but if running for time to beat another person is something you want to do why don't you move into a lower impact race like swimming? I know i can't perform certain lifts so i will never again do them, but i will however focus on ones that i can. I do appreciate your opinion and hope you find something since you have drive to compete like myself.

    Thank you all for the feedback I truly do appreciate it.
    after every operation you must push on
  • Helen3Helen3 Posts: 205
    edited 02/03/2014 - 1:41 PM
    You may not get up from the next one. And no telling long term effects of what you've already done.
  • doing something that endangers your ability to stay on your feet and total inactivity. Lifting weights, strength training, given your condition is probably not the best option considering your family history, and your own personal medical history when it comes to the spine at this point.
    No one in this thread is suggesting to you, that you sit around and do nothing physically, in fact, that's the last thing that I would suggest, but I would strongly suggest that you discuss your desire for physical activity/strengthening with a trainer or physical rehab trainer before continuing activity that seems to be exacerbating your already compromised spine.
  • moonrisemmoonrise Posts: 1
    edited 02/03/2014 - 3:48 PM
    I am completely new here. I actually searched the term "sciatica pain worse in the morning?" and it took me directly here, so I joined.
    I have been having sciatica pain for a couple of months now, and I've been to my physician for a once over and some advice. I don't have insurance so we didn't do any tests, but she did some physical examination, asked me questions and advised me from there. I hope to get insurance soon and will be rectifying the need for tests to see what is causing this.
    In the meantime, this looks like a lovely place to whine a little, ask questions and get good advice. Thank you each and everyone for being here.
    I have started an exercise program minimally, I've begun to lose some weight and am sitting less and walking more. That's the best I can do right now. When the pain is bad I take Aleve and use a heating pad and ice packs. It relieves it some and I'll continue to work this into my daily routine.

    I really don't have any questions other than the is it worse in the am thing so I'll scoot over to the sciatica area and read that thread. Thanks again!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    edited 02/03/2014 - 6:53 PM
    I hope that you re-think everything about weight lifting and body tone. Its great to have a healthy outlook on your body and then you want it to be the best it can be.

    But, you do need to recognize what impact and limitations your spine has done with all of that. Do too much, ignore any limitation and restriction and you might obtain something you never wanted.

    Listen to your body, understand it, but please do not abuse it.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilauro said:
    I hope that you re-think everything about weight lifting and body tone. Its great to have a healthy outlook on your body and then you want it to be the best it can be.

    But, you do need to recognize what impact and limitations your spine has done with all of that. Do too much, ignore any limitation and restriction and you might obtain something you never wanted.

    Listen to your body, understand it, but please do not abuse it.
    Thank you for the input and I will listen to the body and keep healthy. I realize i won't be arnold but if i can stay fit and build my erector spinae and all other muscle groups back there it may also lower the risk of needing another operation and help keep proper spine form.

    as for the working with a trainer, I have my personal trainning cert and working on a CSCS, understanding about how the body functions and how to train it is a passion. My story isn't ment to offend in anyway I hope I can inspire people to not give up on something they love even if odds are not in their favor. Team USA didn't give up in 1980 when everyone counted them out. Just because you have a condition doesn't mean you have to quit everything you love. As long as we get a green light from our doctors we can live with our fusions and we can still conqure goals.
    after every operation you must push on
  • Lift that 325 pounds again. Good grief! You are making your doctor a lot of money.!!!!

    You probably can't resist but learn about your spine! I wish I had healthy back. And when guys like you want to go right back to weight lifting I always wonder do they really understand?
  • I'm a weight lifter too. Before my last injury I benched 225 lbs for reps and my record was 315 lbs. I had a 385 lb squat and so on. Now I take it more cautiously and have eliminated a lot of lifts maybe for good. If it hurts, I don't do it. I pay attention to strict form and add more sets and reps rather than upping the ampunt of weight. My lifts are all in the 130-190 lb range and I'm doing fine. Less is more sometimes especially with a WL injury history like yours.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • There are many who have had surgery and still move forward,
    Ronnie coleman who i have had a fair amount of interaction had C4-C6 or 7 fused and he still lifts BIG! As long as my surgeron says you can lift just leave out the XYZ and listen to your body I really don't see a problem. my goal is sub8%bf and body weight of 210-225.

    LT- I think squats and deads for 1rm may be out for us but benchpress can still be done with out issues, also most every arm,and leg work outs too. i will even go as far as mid and upper back we just need to be extra careful on workouts that stress the lower spine.

    Again I don't and didn't mean to offend people who have had it worst then me, I just think you shouldn't give up on things you love.
    after every operation you must push on
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    I cant see how you offended anyone, but I do you like your mindset
    kroberts9 said:

    I just think you shouldn't give up on things you love.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks Ron, When i go to my appointments and just see and over hear people talking I can't help but to face palm because everyone seems to lose all hope in recovery. I know everyone is different and every situation is too, but with out a positve mind set how can things get better? I like to think that even though we have spine issues from and accident or from birth we can over come or disabilities and lead a happy productive lifestyle. I truly hope to inspire and help people on this site.
    after every operation you must push on
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