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What can I do in the gym?


I have a pars defect between L4 and L5. I am 34, I was playing American Football for the passed few years (we play it late in life where I am from :) ) and last year I was in a car crash which brought my Pars Defect to my attention. I had never known of it before. It got worse and worse and before long I had trouble standing and I walked with a limp.

I had an epidural about 3 months ago and while it is a good deal better, my back still gets very sore from walking or just doing anything mildly strenuous. The problem is that I am putting on weight. I am a big guy at 6'7 and I am about 270lbs. I need to lose some weight so I need to find something I can do.

My Pars is not as bad as some others, I am a stage 1 apparently but I still find it hard to walk for a long period without pain. Apart from swimming, (which is difficult for me to get to) what can I do in the gym? I need to lose weight - getting married in a few months!

Background: Played football the passed 2 years, did a lot of running before then when I was lighter (3 marathons under my belt) and I worked out a lot. Sport is a big part of who I am so I need to reclaim some sort of sporting routine.

Any advice would be appreciated. I completely understand that any advice should be brought to my doctor etc.



  • None of us are Drs here and my problems are different from yours but I am very athletic (I am finding that many of us here are (or were.) Long story short my cervical spine was one hot mess and I had my surgery 2 weeks ago. I could not find anything about what I could do pre op as far as the gym goes. I decided to go ahead and did cardio, treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical and my head didn't fall off. My NS has strictly cautioned me not to lift weights (pre and post op) and I have seen many here say that's why they are here (because of weights)... dead lifts being particularly "deadly." Hope this helps.
  • Or physical therapist regarding excercise that are safe for your condition. What might Bo okay for one, may be disastrous to you.

  • My physical therapists favorite 'soap box' subjects are 'Vanity Exercising' & 'High (addictive) exercise', his names not mine. As a patient I've heard many of his lectures to others. He gets his little models of the human body & illustrates what we put ourselves through with extreme exercise (marathons being his most loathed!).
    All I know is chronic pain has hugely impacted every aspect of my life. Mines a life sentence! There's not much I wouldn't give to be 'normal' & do all of those little things that people take for granted. I understand how important, consuming, exercise & body image is to many. Just know the cost...is it worth the reward? I wish I had a time-machine!!
    I'd advise anyone with spinal weakness or damage to consult with a good physical therapist. Know what forms of exercise are good & what carry serious risks.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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