Man with a back injury

Coping with a back injury

A serious back injury!

The reason it has been a while since I last posted is partly due to a very bad injury I picked-up in November 2017. Personal Trainers do get them. We’re human after all!

Whilst I am on the road to recovery it has been a very tough 15 months. A bulging disc is a long-term injury and needs careful monitoring and the right therapy to put right.

The issue arose in the gym whilst carrying out an elevated crunch during a HITTS (High Intensity Training Session) workout. I felt it go. I will recover but need to be very careful moving forward.

Whilst I am getting older, I expect to make a full recovery. I am no longer 19 years old either! Already I have made some big changes to my lifestyle and they are working a treat. My GP and Physio have given me sound advice too.

Exercise and Weight training

Walking, swimming, weight training and changes to my diet are helping to keep the weight off meaning less pressure on the L5-S1 disc (Lumbar 5 – Sacrum). Not being able to train (or move at one point) led to me putting on weight. My recovery has seen a 30lb weight (over two stones) loss and reduction in body fat too, a very important measure as well.

The biggest shock to the system was taking Valium (Diazepam) to help me sleep at night. I had never been prescribed Diazepam before. Whilst it helped with relaxing my muscles, its side effects were terrible. My GP did not properly explain this to me. It turns out he prescribed far too much of them too.

I am slowly getting over the side effects but will never be taking Diazepam again.

Health advice and back injuries

The best advice I can offer following my disc injury is to be very careful. Always ensure you’re fully warmed up too. Practice the exercise slowly first before you plan to perform it at a faster rate. In my case whilst I did all of this, it was just an unfortunate turn of events. There were signs of mild spongylitus on my x-ray. A warying, tearing or flaking of the intervertebral discs.

If pain killers are required, do your research on them first and ask your doctor what the side effects are. Your GP should explain this (in my case he did not) regardless.

I’ve had steroid injections to help with recovery, but had a low dosage to avoid any further side effects.

If you are in chronic pain and experiencing shooting pains down the leg (sciatica), it is likely you have a serious disc issue. My tips on getting a diagnosis quickly.

  1. Go and see a Physio – they will ask you to perform a number of exercises in order to diagnose the issue. My recommendation is go private, you’ll be seen quicker
  2. Ask your GP to refer you to a NHS Physio, taking the private physio’s letter with you. If money is tight and you have no choice, then an NHS Physio will do. You will receive much better after care if you go private however
  3. Insist your doctor refers you for an MRI scan. You need closure and this will help with the type of physio needed and what the underlining issue is
  4. Take pain-killers but do you research first. Take the minimum dosage and build from there until you are almost pain free. Always seek advice from your GP or the Pharmacist

Good luck with the recovery and things do improve. In my case it took over 12 months to get a lot better.