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Active 32yo with Degenerated disc at L4\5 - what can I do to get my mobility back?

danceddance Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Lower Back Pain

I am a 32 year old male and I have had a lower back pain for around 2.5 years and it seems to be getting worse. I went for a MRI scan ~8 months ago and it showed I have a “degenerated disc at L4\5.” I have spent many hours in front of the computer whilst working in my 20s with bad posture. I also did weights and maybe used bad form. Since then I have been trying the following.

- Yoga
- Stretching most mornings (stretch back, hamstrings, glutes)
- Take care with posture
- Use lumbar support

However, every 2-3 months it “flares up” and my left side of my lower back goes into spasm which essentially stops me from doing anything. Normally my lower back feels very weak and I’m always worried I will “pull” it. Holding my 5 month old son for any length of time really makes my lower back ache (just above the bum).

I have been to see the chiropractor & osteopath but neither have helped. I do have deep tissue massages which seem to help.

Has anyone got any help\advice on how I can fix this or at least make things more bearable? Really appreciate any help!



  • HI,
    Once you have a "bad spot" in you spine, I don't think it ever goes away...however, if you were to do core exercises to strengthten your stomach muscles, then those muscles will help hold you up, and your back won't have to work so hard. You may still get flares from time to time....it seems to be the nature of the beast! Good luck!
  • I agree with Frannie, core strengthening. I had a fusion at L4/L5 and found that working on my hip flexibility also helped things. Correct posture and lifting. Once things start to go it seems like its hard to get them back. Good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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  • Hi,

    I have had chronic lower back pain for years and have also tried the things you mention.

    Acupuncture also gave me some relief but it was always quite short-lived. The yoga that I have found most beneficial is bikram yoga. If you really work hard at the back bending postures while sucking in your core, you will probably see some benefits.

    Another thing that oddly enough that I have recently found to be excellent is running. I read Born To Run by Christopher McDougal and it totally changed my views on running. The days I run barefoot I definitely feel a lot looser in the lower back. The book talks about a guy called barefoot ted who also fixed his back pain this way and is quite a pioneer in the barefoot movement. Anyway it is definitely worth a read as a rollicking adventure if nothing else.

    Good luck,

  • I agree that strengthening your core muscles would probably be helpful.
    I would try to find a good physiotherapist to make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly. One that specialises in backs would be best.

    I have been seeing a spine specialist physiotherapist since my lumbar fusion and he has really helped me to get back to doing things without pain. I would tell him of various activities I wanted to do that caused pain, (opening heavy doors, reaching up into cupboards etc) and he would tell me how to position myself and give me exercises to strengthen the muscles I needed to use.

    I think that walking regularly is also helpful.

    I hope you manage to deal with your pain this way. :-)

  • I recommend a book called, "The pain-free program" by Anthony B. Carey. This is great stuff to learn the proper bio-mechanics of the body in laymens terms. I have found the best improvments in my lower back pain since adding this beauty to my arsenal. Our symptoms sound fairly similar too.

    Try to find a good massage therapist that is knowledgable about posture that works on myofasia release. These can help combat the muscle imbalances, incorrect weight training has placed on your body.

    It sounds like your well on your way since you have added some good stretches, expecially the hamstring stretch (hugely important), and noticing the horrible posture.

    Good luck, shoot me an email and maybe we could keep in touch.

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