Degenerative Disc Disease and lifting

Discussion in 'Training Forum' started by musclemedicine, May 14, 2020.

  1. Curious if any members have a DDD diagnosis and still tear it up in the gym. I am a pretty young guy and suspect this might be something going on with my back. I would love to hear from anyone who deals with this.
     
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  2. Mac11wildcat

    Mac11wildcat Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    I can’t speak for myself, but I watched my father struggle with this for two decades after a car accident. Not to be fucked with. I hope some more people chime in, but I will say this: IF you think there’s a serious problem like that GO GET IT LOOKED AT NOW.

    The earlier these chronic issues are diagnosed and treated the better the outcomes.

    As far as training itself, just from an experience point of view, there’s usually a way to train around an injury. Usually a matter of will.
     
  3. gkpman

    gkpman Junior Member

    I was diagnosed with ddd when I was 30. I had nerve pain bad, for like 20 some days. Do told me to take up swimming. I used to squat in the 500s and pull the same in deadlifts. I started squatting again approx 6 months after my diagnosis. I don't squat more than 405 now, and don't do deadlifts over 315 anymore. I do 8-10 rep sets of everything now. No more super heavy, trash my legs or back, workouts. I'm 44 years old now, and have no pain at all. I don't push it, because I don't feel the need to at my age. Hope this give you some hope. Also, I have never used a belt, and continue to lift without any of these aids. Best of luck to you!
     
  4. I’ve had it for about 15 years. I’ve had two lumbar surgeries—both discectomies, no fusion yet. I also had a fusion in C5-C7 a couple of years ago. So, I’m only 41 and have had three spine surgeries already. Each time, the doctors tell me I’m not done yet. I still train, but don’t max out with any frequency on deads or squats. I squat with a safety squat bar and pull with a trap bar. Switching to bars like this has allowed me to keep progressing. You just have to be smart and truly pay attention to your body. Also, I highly recommend regular visits to a chiropractor. I go every 1-2 weeks and I believe this has helped me tremendously. But find a good chiropractor—not just a chiro that cracks a couple of things and sends you on your way. Finding the right chiro can take time, but, IMO, it’s extremely valuable. My DDD is something I live with and work around. In a way, it’s like another challenge. How can I continue to grow and push myself while not causing injury. You have to get creative and approach training a little differently, but totally doable.
    Hope this helps n
     
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  5. Worf

    Worf Member

    Herniated S5/L5 at least a dozen times. Pretty much trashed that disk. Bad nerve pain, could hardly walk saw a pt. I trained around it for a while. Got away from lifting heavy and did other sports. Got back into powerlifting a few years later and just worked diligently on form. I now use a proper belt and brace my core when pulling heavy. I also see a chiropractor and use a massage gun to help with blood flow to the tissue. It hurts from time to time but doesn’t stop me. I pull in the mid 5’s, squat low 5’s
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  6. MindlessWork

    MindlessWork Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    I have moderate scoliosis as well as early DDD in my lower back which was diagnosed this year. I have little to no pain so far but as I am taking no chances I keep weight low and doing more reps per set. As I just turned 56 I still want to keep fit yet stay as pain free as possible for as long as I can.
     
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  7. Joe Morgan

    Joe Morgan Member

    I have it and as a result I have two rods, 20 screws, two cages and a spacer. I have zero back pain now. I’m just a little stiff because my spine doesn’t flex anymore because it’s all fused together. The most important thing is to find a good doctor my doctor is obsessed with spines.

    IMG_6525.jpg
    IMG_6524.jpg
     
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  8. Heynow

    Heynow Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    No offense, but fuck that man. That’s a lot of steel.

    Doc looks obsessed with money too.
     
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  9. Joe Morgan

    Joe Morgan Member

    I have more in my hip too lol


    Adjustments.jpg
     
  10. MindlessWork

    MindlessWork Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    Damn, that's quite a lot of steel in you @Joe Morgan. Sure you don't have any bone disorders?
     
  11. Joe Morgan

    Joe Morgan Member



    no not that I know of. i have degenerative disc and spine disease and spinal stenosis in my neck.
     
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  12. MindlessWork

    MindlessWork Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    That shit sucks totally and props to making the best of what you have now.
     
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  13. Worf

    Worf Member

    6 million dollar man
     
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  14. Heynow

    Heynow Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    damn man, that looks like it could hurt when the weather turns bad. I hope you live in warmer weather.

    Glad you are pain free. I also have the DDD in my upper forties, I just deal with the pain. My Doc basically says there’s not much you can do, just try to work around it.
     
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  15. Glocker

    Glocker Member

    Every single person on this board has "degenerative disc disease." Every adult in the world has "DDD." It's the aging process. Discs are largely made up of water as we age they lose water shrink and the vertebral bodies get closer together and we lose height (gramma used to be 4'8" now she only 4' 3.5".) On an MRI the healthy disc is white as it loses water with age it turns grey then black. I had a black disc at age 25 and herniated it at that time now years later its disintegrated from wear and tear. Not normal but it happens. That's usually a 70 year old. As the vertebral bodies get closer together the space where the nerve roots leave the spinal cord become smaller and some nerve compression can take place causing leg pain mostly. Most people age with zero symptoms. If you are active and bouncing steele around you have a greater chance of experiencing symptoms. It might just be back pain like a toothache which is harmless but can be debilitating or it might be nerve compression / motor nerve impingement requiring surgery at some point. Interestingly squatting never effected me ( I can feel my lower spine compress when unracking though) but deadlifts would cause the back hip and leg to light-up. This is a non issue unless you have nerve compression or the pain becomes debilitating otherwise live your life and forget it there is no cure and no way to slow it down and just avoid exercises that cause pain which is probably only 10% of the exercises like maybe leg presses terrible for the lower back. Fk what everyone tells you including the docs. Swimming is not for everyone they tell you that because of the buoyancy takes pressure off the joints. i don't want my muscles to become weaker I want them stronger to support the spine and take pressure off the disc. ( I swam 7 days per week for 20 years and it did nothing to help my back pain.) But swimming is great cardio. One take away - as discs degenerate they are more unstable and more susceptible to injury -herniation / rupture - and a seriously degenerated disc causes problems with the discs above and below over time because it throws everything out for alignment. Be smart ignore it and live your life.
     
  16. Rival

    Rival Member

    I got diagnosed with it about 2years back. Ended up using it as an excuse and got up to ~25% BF which made it a lot worse IMO. Did 3 months of physical therapy, lost the weight and have gotten back to some good respectable #’s in the gym. I now use a safety squat bar to better target my lower back and strengthen, along with reverse hypers after taking a serious load on my spine. Breaking my old PRs on my deadlifts using sumo instead of conventional and my back has never felt better. Don’t let it hold you back, make adjustments to form that flair you up, and train responsibly. Deloads for recovery etc..
     
  17. S317

    S317 Member

    I have 3 herniated discs and severe epidural lipomatosis. Even standing too long will give me back pain. I still train heavy and intense but I avoid anything lower back related except reverse hypers. I train abs very heavy often. Luckily my gym has tons of different equipment geared toward powerlifters, strong man, and bodybuilders. I love the elite fts belt squat. There’s also a unique bench made for barbell rows and a chest supported dumbbell row piece. I also can’t stress how important it is to stretch.
    Another thing I’ve noticed is everything gets worse when my diet is shit. I have to be very conscious of foods that give me an inflammatory response.
     
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  18. MindlessWork

    MindlessWork Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    You do deadlifts sumo style? I've been doing that myself since my diagnosis. A game changer for me.
     
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  19. S317

    S317 Member

    No. I don’t do any kind of deadlifts I honestly don’t think deadlifts or barbell squats are necessary unless you’re a strongman or power lifter. Even when I used to do them I would get stronger at the movements but didn’t notice much of anything except for a bigger ass. Maybe My mechanics sucked for them though. I was doing trap bar deadlifts and machine rdls but they destroy me now.
     
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  20. MindlessWork

    MindlessWork Member AnabolicLab.com Supporter

    My gym has this machine that is like a leg press but the motion is like that of a squat, and it really did help.

    Not everyone has the forte for deads and squats, and I am one of those as well.