Anvil or Hammer

So far

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on May 30, 2008

So, how’m I doing?

Physically, good, well, pretty good. The last few days I have awoken with little pain in the morning. I have debated whether I should or should not go for the ibuprofen (I take 2 four times a day). I always did just to stay on a schedule and because I had to sit at work all day. Yesterday I actually awoke with no pain, for the first time in months. At work I am doing decent. I take ice packs and rotate them 30 – 45 minutes on then the same off. It manages the discomfort. I’m sitting on the couch but it a semi reclined position most evenings. It’s not “normal” but it beats lying on my side on the floor like I was for weeks.

When I first heard the suggestion that it was a herniated disc I pretty much dismissed it. I figured “I’ll let her do the MRI and we won’t find the disc but maybe we’ll find some other problem we can fix.” Boy was I wrong. Then when I saw what was clearly a herniated disc on my MRI I was really disappointed, depressed really.

For the last 48 hours I have been googling every combination of herniated disc I could think of. There were a lot of people who made it sound like they checked out of life after that. That was depressing me further and kind of ticking me off. I’ve come too far to just go and quit. I’ve always said that living life was more important that training but, what I haven’t said is, some training was also important in living my life. The idea of not being able to move my own furniture or carry a suitcase is an awful one.

I did get a couple pick-me-ups though. First, talking to my PT, someone who has seen her fair share of ruptured discs, seemed to feel that with some patience and time, I should not feel like I can’t enjoy life quite a bit. She also indicated that there is still a piriformis issue that we will work on. That’s ok by me, gives me something to do to feel like I am actively working on it.

I also came across an article on Dragondoor that I found relevant. Brian Copeland an RKC had two herniated lumbar discs and through stretching and kettlebells is back to full steam. He’s a personal trainer in the Denver area. I emailed him to see if he had any thoughts on the topic, given his experience. He got back to me in a matter of a couple hours and has been really helpful.

Your best approach is to:

  1. Find a Z Health certified person, preferably a Level 4 or Master level person and have them work on you.
  2. Buy the R Phase DVD and manual off of my website if you don’t have a Z person near you. There is a link on the left sidebar if you scroll down.
  3. Practice your Z Health with the intention of “not moving into pain or startle reflex” to reeducate the nervous system
  4. Practice your kettlebells in the exact same way.
  5. Do Windmills, Get ups, swings, deadlifts, perhaps even working to imperfect round back deadlifts with very light weights to start. All of these must NOT send a pain signal. If they do then make the range of motion smaller and move slower. You will reeducate your nervous system not to send a pain signal.
  6. I have written in the past about some stretches to do. The stretches are fine but remember that you must not feel pain from them. You must not get overly tight. Think a mild stretch.
  7. Us guys have a hard time with this concept, deal with it as it is your best bet for a quick recovery. How quick? I have seen pain go away from litterally one repetition of a Z Health movement and I have also seen it take a little while. I have done this with my clients who have back pain and they couldn’t touch their toes and a few windmills done in this fashion and they are touching the ground with their knuckles.

Brian Copeland, RKC

I thought and thought and obsessed and obsessed. My poor wife has been a good sport the last 48 hours as I have had little else on my mind and she’s heard more permutations of what I could or should do. I settled on a few things and I’m still thinking about other things.

  • Strongman – over. Let’s face it, the weights involved were stupid and begging for an injury. I mean 800lb yoke walk, no thanks. I can’t say I’ll miss it a lot either. I liked some of the odd objects and stones but I could leave the super heavy stuff and be just fine.
  • Powerlifting – over. At some point I may add some squats and deads back in but those are the highest risk maneuvers I can do with a herniated disc so when I add them back, they need to be done with sensitivity and not with an emphasis on highest weight possible. When they are added back there will be rules. Currently I’m thinking bodyweight or maybe 300lbs eventually, but rules, whatever they end up being.
  • Sandbags – These will take a break but they’ll come back eventually in small pieces.
  • Kettlebells – These, I think, will be my primary modis operandi in the future, but it’s gonna be a little bit before I start in on them again.

I still have a doctor’s appointment this coming Tuesday that will be very telling but from what my PT has said, this doc favors the nonaggressive/noninvasive approach which is exactly what I would like to see. As I mentioned, I’m still under going PT for the piriformis business but it seems to be improving, I’ve had probably 5 “good” days in a row, I’m just trying to not change the momentum right now. I’ve got a couple other emails out to people Jim Bathurst regarding bodyweight training and Mike Yuhaniak about Z Health training.

I still have a lot of info to gather in the coming weeks. Training will be cardio, stretching and recovery.