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Prince

Physio Brisbane specialising in disc bulge and advice

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Hi 

i have had lower back pain for about 5 months now.  Have continued to train but pain can be unbearable at various times running and occasionally on the bike. Have tried a few physios and even a chiro     Had a normal X-ray which didn’t show a lot but chiro said it was a Minor disc bulge   Anyone had similar? and would prefer to try a physio who is a runner or triathlete     Any advice would be appreciated  

 

 

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Chiro diagnosed a disc bulge without an MRI 🤔

Had a lower back disc bulge in my 20's just after I'd started tris, orthopedic surgeon advised me to be smart & quit triathlon.  I stopped running for a few years, just swim, indoor bike, gym, then got back into tris.  It settled a lot but would still have a few crippling flare ups for a week or two each year. Did this for decades.

GPs, physios etc. told me to work on core (i.e. abdominal strength) which didn't help much.  About 7yrs ago, I added a lower back muscle strength exercise to my strength routine (half supermans) & hey presto, problem solved after 6mths.  My abdo muscles weren't the problem, it was my back muscles.

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5 minutes ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

Chiro diagnosed a disc bulge without an MRI 🤔

Had a lower back disc bulge in my 20's just after I'd started tris, orthopedic surgeon advised me to be smart & quit triathlon.  I stopped running for a few years, just swim, indoor bike, gym, then got back into tris.  It settled a lot but would still have a few crippling flare ups for a week or two each year. Did this for decades.

GPs, physios etc. told me to work on core (i.e. abdominal strength) which didn't help much.  About 7yrs ago, I added a lower back muscle strength exercise to my strength routine (half supermans) & hey presto, problem solved after 6mths.  My abdo muscles weren't the problem, it was my back muscles.

thanks, yes, just started some back strength stuff, but a bit slack as not being consistent.  Chiro's seem to dislike physios I found out so had more of a 'vested' interest to diagnose a disc bulge. Physios said it was hip flexors 

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13 minutes ago, Prince said:

thanks, yes, just started some back strength stuff, but a bit slack as not being consistent.  Chiro's seem to dislike physios I found out so had more of a 'vested' interest to diagnose a disc bulge. Physios said it was hip flexors 

Does the pain go down into your butt & the back of your thighs?  That can be an indicator of a bulging disc pressing on a nerve.

Mine was awful, constant pain sitting at work etc. for a year or so.

Edited by ComfortablyNumb

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I bulged a disc  (L3/L4, I think) about 7yrs ago. I went to Brisbane Sports and Spinal at UQ at St Lucia. That's a little while ago, so I'm not sure if the same people are there, but they were good and got me sorted. No problems since.

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1 hour ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

Does the pain go down into your butt & the back of your thighs?  That can be an indicator of a bulging disc pressing on a nerve.

Mine was awful, constant pain sitting at work etc. for a year or so.

yes but more on the side of my right thigh. 

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2 hours ago, Prince said:

thanks, yes, just started some back strength stuff, but a bit slack as not being consistent.  Chiro's seem to dislike physios I found out so had more of a 'vested' interest to diagnose a disc bulge. Physios said it was hip flexors 

Don’t dismiss the hip flexor thing - I’ve had occasional back issues directly related to that. Try David Bick at QSMC at the Gabba.

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2 hours ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

Chiro diagnosed a disc bulge without an MRI 🤔

Had a lower back disc bulge in my 20's just after I'd started tris, orthopedic surgeon advised me to be smart & quit triathlon.  I stopped running for a few years, just swim, indoor bike, gym, then got back into tris.  It settled a lot but would still have a few crippling flare ups for a week or two each year. Did this for decades.

GPs, physios etc. told me to work on core (i.e. abdominal strength) which didn't help much.  About 7yrs ago, I added a lower back muscle strength exercise to my strength routine (half supermans) & hey presto, problem solved after 6mths.  My abdo muscles weren't the problem, it was my back muscles.

What's a half superman? Lying, 1arm, opposite leg!

Edited by batman

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27 minutes ago, batman said:

What's a half superman? Lying, 1arm, opposite leg!

Top half only, no legs.  Apparently full supermans are not great for your discs?

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Chiro diagnosing without a scan to justify - sounds like he wants you to return for treatment.

Go to David Bick at the Gabba as Truck referred to.  He is pretty good and not someone just after coin

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7 hours ago, truck said:

Don’t dismiss the hip flexor thing - I’ve had occasional back issues directly related to that. Try David Bick at QSMC at the Gabba.

+1

I’ve found the QSMC really good.

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On 13/07/2020 at 9:59 AM, ComfortablyNumb said:

Top half only, no legs.  Apparently full supermans are not great for your discs?

 

On 13/07/2020 at 9:59 AM, ComfortablyNumb said:

Top half only, no legs.  Apparently full supermans are not great for your discs?

How many reps/ did you do? I've had disc trouble for years now, running is all but impossible though cycling and mtb is quite tolerable

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18 hours ago, batman said:

 

How many reps/ did you do? I've had disc trouble for years now, running is all but impossible though cycling and mtb is quite tolerable

I do them as part of my strength circuit session, 3 sets of 10-12 reps, but not all in a row, other exercises in-between. 2x per week.

I'd not start off with more than 3 sets of 5-6 reps if I were you, just to gauge how your back responds for a few weeks.

BTW it took about 6 months before I realised what a positive effect they'd had.

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Here's how I do them, except my hands are in a bit closer with my forehead resting on them.

Don't jerk upwards, that is a surefire way to wreck your back.  I go up and down in a slow controlled movement thinking about engaging lower back muscles.  Slower than this guy is.

I also find keeping my hammies & lower back well stretched helps.

 

 

Edited by ComfortablyNumb

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On 13/07/2020 at 6:32 AM, Prince said:

Hi 

i have had lower back pain for about 5 months now.  Have continued to train but pain can be unbearable at various times running and occasionally on the bike. Have tried a few physios and even a chiro     Had a normal X-ray which didn’t show a lot but chiro said it was a Minor disc bulge   Anyone had similar? and would prefer to try a physio who is a runner or triathlete     Any advice would be appreciated 

I suspect every case is different, but I've had this for a few years now. For me, the bulging disc touches the nerve and it locks up the 2 muscles that run down either side of my lower spine. I understand  those muscles lock up to stabilise the area around the bulging disc. I see a Myotherapist who is excellent (also an athlete so he get's what athletes are all about), but basically it is about releasing the muscles again, and that doesn't last too long before they lock up again until the bulging disc eventually resolves and everything relaxes. The diagnosis however came from a combination of X-ray and MRI also.

The trigger for me is carrying heavy loads and flexing my back backwards and as long as I don't do these things my back doesn't give me much grief. It's probably going to be important to know exactly what your triggers are so that you can avoid them.

I think it is interesting that Truck has spoken about hip flexor. I was getting some really sharp hip pain one side and some persisting lower back pain that was really difficult for the sports Dr to diagnose with Xray and MRI and physical tests. This began about April last year, enough to force my withdrawl from IMAus. I've always had a really good core, but I'm finding that regular core exercises with the stretching that come with core exercises has really loosed it all up and is giving a resolution - the tight hip flexors seemed to have been causing the RH front/side hip pain and eventually lower back pain which presented the same symptoms as the bulging lower disc.

Just to reiterate, this is not to say that your case is the same as my case.

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I went for the six op, scorched earth, dig deeper, build, scrap, re-build approach. 😁

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1 hour ago, FatPom said:

I went for the six op, scorched earth, dig deeper, build, scrap, re-build approach. 😁

Which I find really interesting Ian.  You had serious Meccano surgery, but in the end the solution was not surgery at all.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

Which I find really interesting Ian.  You had serious Meccano surgery, but in the end the solution was not surgery at all.

 

 

Of course it was.  I had what was needed to be done at the time and that changed over the years. I wouldn't be walking now without the surgery, let alone competing. I didn't let my stubbornness get in the way of taking advice. I didn't pretend I knew better than anyone else just because I read some stuff on the internet.

I came out the other end with a full and active life because I listened to what they had to say. I had one or two setbacks but that doesn't mean the operations were not needed and I can't work out which parallel universe you live in that suggests otherwise?

I'm running mid 42s for 10km and sun 1:40 Has, so yeah, completely not needed. 😅

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1 hour ago, FatPom said:

Of course it was.  I had what was needed to be done at the time and that changed over the years. I wouldn't be walking now without the surgery, let alone competing. I didn't let my stubbornness get in the way of taking advice. I didn't pretend I knew better than anyone else just because I read some stuff on the internet.

I came out the other end with a full and active life because I listened to what they had to say. I had one or two setbacks but that doesn't mean the operations were not needed and I can't work out which parallel universe you live in that suggests otherwise?

I'm running mid 42s for 10km and sun 1:40 Has, so yeah, completely not needed. 😅

Take it easy mate.  I thought the surgery was a failure, hence you had it removed, but if it proved to be necessary, then that is a good outcome.

I no longer take expert advice as gospel as I once did.  I take it on board, but research the pros and cons and seek 2nd & 3rd opinions from others in the field.  My ultimate decision to avoid surgery came from two orthopedic surgeons (one local, one in San Francisco), but I only found the later through 'some stuff on the internet' (a blog & E-book from a cyclist with the same problem as me, who I could tell was humble & intelligent and had found his own non-surgical solution).  I often find the solutions come not from 'experts' but from people who've had the same ailment & worked out solutions themselves.

Stuff on the internet can be valuable if you are discerning enough, and sometimes far more considered than a $300, 10min consultation with a jaded 'expert'.  I've seen too many of them. So has my wife.

I'd not be walking either if i'd listened to some of the experts, or at best I'd be walking on metal knees.

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i have made a significant breakthrough by following the advice of the half supermans but also using the back extension bench at the gym. My issue has pretty much gone away. Some very minor pain on Saturday when doing a 15km run, but a massive improvement. 

Using the internet, i was able to determine my problem is most likely a disc degeneration issue rather than a disc bulge which are quite different. Tight Hip flexors are certainly a part of the problem, so stretching these definitely helps, as does glute activation.  I do think that lots of heavy cycling probably tightens up hip flexors, but its only my theory. 

Having had this pain for near 7 months, i am so happy my cycling/ running days are not over.

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