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L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery????
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I'm a few months recovery into a severe L5 S1 herniated disk that pretty much stopped my Tri training all together. I'm back to running and swimming but my physical therapist is still tentative about me getting back to biking especially on an aggressive tri bike position. Has anyone gone through the surgery to repair a herniated disk after not seeing results from P.T.? And if so how fast was recovery and how successful was surgery? Thanks all.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, I have. Dr. Alan Villavicencio @ Boulder Neurosurgical Associates gave me my life back - I can't thank him or his team enough, although I think about them every day. Feel free to e me - gordon dot henderson at harvard dot post dot edu..... There really aren't enough superlatives to describe my experience there.


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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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There have been a couple of threads about this if you search (I know I've contributed to a couple). I've had two micro-discectomy surgeries on L5-S1 about 15 years ago and have been very good with swimming and biking, including an aggressive TT position, but avoid any running because of the advice from my neurosurgeon (my L4-L5 disc already has some bulges). My experience with the surgery was quite good; it was like someone pulled a thorn from my back and the pain was just gone. My recovery was very quick (resumed activity within days). Of course I give the caveat that after my first surgery I had a recurrence on the same disc.

Hope you find something that helps relieve your pain and resume some or all of your activity.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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I've had the procedure and agree with the previous poster running is probably worse that TT position. I rarely get pain on the TT bike. I think it's easier on the back than a road bike.

Apex Cycling - Team Manager
Insta: chris.s.apex
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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it may depend on exactly what surgery you are looking at. I had an L5-S1 fusion almost 2 years ago. "Fast" recovery may be relative but I'm now living restriction-free (with lots of running too)
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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I think we all have gotten different advice, both my Dr. and Physical therapist have said that your back bears more weight when sitting than running that's why they're encouraging me to run before biking. Honestly I am just looking for some "Hope" to be able to compete again, this is the first year in over ten years of triathlons that I am on the sideline, including having to pull out of IMWI. Not really looking for a quick fix, I just want my pain free, mobile, body back.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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There's definitely hope. I'm 34 and had the procedure 6 years ago now. I'm not going to say I'm anywhere near pain free and I have some permanent atrophy and some nerve damage, but I can still compete and compete pretty well and I rarely have any bad pain.

My long term goal would actually to be in better shape (back wise) by the time I'm 40 and hopefully attempt the KQ at some point.

Apex Cycling - Team Manager
Insta: chris.s.apex
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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I appreciate the information here. I am still in the diagnosing process of my issues but I for sure have issues with S1 and L4. No pain at all in my back, all of it is in my right leg. Walking and running really make it worse. I can swim and bike all I want with no pain but once I get on my feet all hell breaks loose in my leg. Starts in the hip, goes down my inner thigh and then under the knee down the shin. I did a sprint a couple of weeks ago and actually had a longer run split than bike because I could not run. I am all set for the MPLS Lifetime race tomorrow but know that the run will be miserable and or embarrassing and trying to decide if I should do it. I don't think it will make my condition worse but it really sucks to put in the work and not be able to race to my (low) potential. I had an MRI this week and am awaiting the results and a trip to the ortho in two weeks. Hoping that it is a PT solution.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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My understanding of the concern with running is that it is a bunch of up and down pounding working in the direction that compresses the disc.
I know people talk about sitting being bad, but my TT position looks very little like sitting. My back is pretty darn close to horizontal when I
ride, with very little compression up and down. Just my 2 cents. I would make sure that you are seeing Dr's who have a pretty good understanding
of the sports you are interested in resuming (perhaps you already do).
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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tomc249 wrote:
I'm a few months recovery into a severe L5 S1 herniated disk that pretty much stopped my Tri training all together. I'm back to running and swimming but my physical therapist is still tentative about me getting back to biking especially on an aggressive tri bike position. Has anyone gone through the surgery to repair a herniated disk after not seeing results from P.T.? And if so how fast was recovery and how successful was surgery? Thanks all.
Ok...read the whole thread and this is my story.

I took up tri after quitting being a baseball coach at age 33 in 2005. By the spring of 2007 I had done a few sprints and had no real training plan other than do stuff by the "go faster" approach. I hurt my back while running a 5k leg of a 15k on March 10, 2007, had an MRI on March 12: bulged L3/L4...I was scared to death and didn't do much the rest of that year besides become a Masters swimmer. 2008-2009 I started doing tris again, but the only running I did was in each tri...didn't like running and wanted nothing to do with it...I wanted tris to be S/B/bake a cake.

In late 2009, I finally started taking running a little more seriously...did Gulf Coast Tri (GCT) in PCB as my first HIM in May 2010 and followed up with Augusta 70.3 a few months later. All this time I was somewhere between 188-200 lbs (I'm 5'10.5"). After Augusta I registered for IMFL '11 b/c I had friends doing it. A few weeks later in a muscle works class, on Nov 24, 2010 as I was doing an ab routine I felt a funny sensation in my low back as I rotated with a medicine ball...it felt like jelly squishing around in my spine.

By Dec 30, 2010 I had a microdiscectomy for a ruptured L5/S1 disc. I was on my bike (all I have is a Trek E7...2005ish model) before the end of January and back to running and PRing my 5ks by March/April (I sucked at 5k's...still do, but that's not the point...they were PRs!!!!!). I did GCT in May 2011 and PRed the HIM distance (5:49) within 5 months of surgery. About a month after GCT '11 my back started bothering me again and I went to see my Dr. He said, I'll probably have flare ups and just manage them. I got out of highly orthoticized shoes and started wearing VFFs with the intent of getting away from heal striking (I believe it had something to do with my back problems). I have now settled on Saucony Kinvaras.

I finished IMFL '11 and have signed up to do it again this year. I still have phantom pains, but have been pretty good about strengthening my core through my own body weight and swiss ball routine. One of my training buddies had the same thing a few weeks after me and has done the same races plus 3 marathons since Jan/Feb 2011.

IMO, I think you have more than hope, I believe you to have promise. Just listen to your body. Btw, I was 38 when I had the surgery about 18 months ago.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [bama3athlt] [ In reply to ]
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Oh yeah...meant to say, I got my weight down too. I go about 159-165 now.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [bama3athlt] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry to bring this thread out of the closet, but I find myself in a similar situation as you guys above.

34yo retired professional athlete (not in triathlon) and I've suffered a massive herniation in the disc between L5-S1. Docs tried about 4 months of PT, massage, and three shots with only minimal/temporary relief in my sciatic nerve pain. I raced four races this year (duathlon, olympic, 2x 70.3's), but have cancelled the rest of my events to deal with this... willing to spend the summer and fall recovering and rebuilding. I'm looking at a discectomy, but not the micro-discectomy... apparently mine would require a little more intrusion.

Trying to decide whether to have the surgery and what the chances are for a "full" recovery vs. trying to let it "heal" on it's own. I'd love some advice. I ride in a pretty aggressive position on the bike and live pretty solidly in that mysterious space between the FOP and MOP... the run is my "weakest" event (but I think that's just because I don't like running!).

I know it's nearly impossible to give advice on this... but what do the ST guru's think? Any advice for me???



-Eric
---
"The Fit Shall Inherit the Earth" -Endurance Conspiracy
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [tomc249] [ In reply to ]
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A couple of things: to the poster who thinks it's fine to bike because his back is in a horizontal position in TT position - that goes against all the scientific and clinical studies that definitively show that you need to avoid flexion in any form - and the TT position is the absolute worst position you can be in post-discectomy. Second, read Dr Stuart McGills "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance" - that should be your bible. The challenge is if you are on this site you are probably an "A" type personality that just wants to get back and train as fast as possible and enforce the same movement patterns that led you to the injury in the first place. You need to identify the original cause and then structure a training program that keeps your potential for a re-injury within a window of threshold tolerance. Day in day out repetitive training patterns have led you to be in the position you are in. You need to rethink everything you have done in the past so as to not repeat the same patterns that led to injury in the first place. Triathletes more often than not overtrain because that's their personality. It's an "alpha" sport. If you've had a discectomy you have a choice. Repeat the same patterns or make a change to your movement patterns, process and volume allowing you to still participate in the sport but not at the level of before. If you choose to go back to the old ways then just accept that you will more likely than not re-injure yourself. I'm 12 days post-op L5/S1 - 15mm left side herniation. No pain and following Dr's orders 100%.
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [blackduckracing] [ In reply to ]
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I herniated my L5-S1 and S3 a few years ago. I took about 1.5 years before I could say "I think I'm over this." The path to healing was far from linear. Being a "Type A" I would go a bit to hard in PT, or in doing whatever it is I could do and set myself back a few months.

All the PT, massage, etc certainly help. But I saw exponential improvement the moment I started Foundations Training. Within 3 weeks I went from constant pain and having my bike for sale to running and riding again. I swear by it and do at least 1 foundations workout a day. They only take like 10 minutes and it's just part of my general self care.

Look it up. I have yet to hear anyone tell me they regret trying it. I've known a few people in my line of work that have had debilitating back injuries for years and after a few weeks of foundations are feeling much better
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Re: L5 S1 Herniated disk recovery???? [Geek_fit] [ In reply to ]
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Foundation Training is amazing and perfect for post-op once you are cleared for physio by your M.D. By focusing on the posterior chain you are learning better movement patterns - especially using your hips and glutes to bear load and bend rather than the back and lumbar spine. The famous "12 Minute Workout" is on YouTube.
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