Gaining Muscle and Strength for people with previous Back Injury/Problems

  • Zcube

    Posts: 40

    Jul 13, 2011 5:20 PM GMT
    I wanna know if anyone can share their experience in gaining muscle after a back injury/surgery. I'm in the recovery stage of a surgery I had earlier this year and I would like to gain some muscle, as I've lost a lot of muscle from being inactive and lost a lot of weight from not eating much.

    My limitations include: bending lifting and twisting :-/ is there anything I can do that won't require too much effort from my back..in that I can still gain muscle?

    I've been through physical therapy but most workouts were to regain mobility, and some muscle strength.
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    Jul 13, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    The mistake was the back surgery. That could have been avoided with core training. I have been through it all but avoided the back surgery since I met a person that couldn't walk after that ordeal. Today my back feels better than it did when I was 20 years old thanks to a switch to core focus rather than the usual upper body weigh lifting focus.
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    Jul 13, 2011 6:45 PM GMT
    I had a lumbar laminectomy in 1997 and had to very, very gradually get back into shape. Couldn't do much more than walk for a while, then I started swimming, then gradually worked up to weights. I didn't think I'd ever squat again, but I forced myself to do them after a few years. I honestly think that squatting and a variety of core exercises helped me to strengthen my back significantly. I've not attempted anything super heavy (I stay under 200 lbs), but I have noticed that my back is much stronger and I have virtually no pain or discomfort.

    Good luck!
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    Jul 13, 2011 6:45 PM GMT
    Focus on core stabilization, balance training, lower extremity flexibility, and non impact cardio (stationary bike, swimming).

    Exercise after low back surgery is important. Emphasis should be on regaining core strength.
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    Jul 13, 2011 6:56 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidThe mistake was the back surgery. That could have been avoided with core training. I have been through it all but avoided the back surgery since I met a person that couldn't walk after that ordeal. Today my back feels better than it did when I was 20 years old thanks to a switch to core focus rather than the usual upper body weigh lifting focus.


    Amazing. People should also look into trigger points as it could avoid a lot of back, joints, knees surgeries as well.
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    Jul 13, 2011 7:00 PM GMT
    The surgery I had in August 2009 was to improve a condition called spinal stenosis. The surgeon fused four of my vertebrae with titanium, part of my own bone from the iliac crest in my hip, some synthetic bone and a material web to hold it all together. After I spent six days in the hospital I wore a corset with a hard plastic back for almost four months when up and walking around. During that time I had three infections, one in each of the months, September, October and November 2009. The second infection caused a septicemia, blood infection, with Streptococcus Group A bacteria which put me back in the hospital for two weeks for another operation and IV antibiotic treatment. This bacteria is very dangerous to have in blood. More than fifty percent of patients die from this infection, so, I lucked out!! Since my injury on June 14, 2009 and surgery on August 7, 2009, I had lost a considerable amount of muscle mass. However, starting in February 2010, I went back to the gym and by July 2010, I had improved myself to almost the level I was before the accident. I concentrated on increasing muscle mass. Before I started back, I got advice from a trainer who is always available in my gym and he worked up a program for me. Still to this day, I do not do squats. Any lifting exercises I do, I sit or lay on a bench and I concentrate on pressing my back against the bench whether that part of the bench is horizontal, in an upright position or on an incline. Strengthening your core is crucially important for your back and also always seeking advice. Make sure your doctor knows of your intention to return to training.
  • Zcube

    Posts: 40

    Jul 13, 2011 7:06 PM GMT
    Thanks to everyone who has posted.
    I have to put a correction, the mistake was not in dealing with the situation sooner. Here's the backstory.

    I injured myself from a slip when i was in high school and ended up with Sciatica. I was at least 50 lbs overweight. My doctor thought i'd recover from it since I was so young. Eventually constant pain from sciatica brought my to the gym and I lost 75 lbs. Fast forward to 8 years later. I get a cold, I get sick, cough too hard and end up with a herniated disc on top of that I had stenosis. I ended up having to go to surgery because I lost all muscle and nerve function below my waist.

    Here's more, for 2 years I was a group fitness instructor, My core muscles were pretty damn good. I taught 6x a week and worked out an additional hour on top of each class. But the day I got sick everything went out the window.

    So what's done is done. Like Solaguy, I had lumbar laminectomy/dyscectomy. Spent a week in the hospital and 2 weeks in rehab trying to walk and do normal things again.

    I've done 3 months in physical therapy and I'm at the point where i think I may be able to do a little more. My left calf muscle is starting to contract. As far as squats go, I'm gonna avoid it because I still have bowel/bladder issues due to the nerve damage.
  • Zcube

    Posts: 40

    Jul 13, 2011 7:08 PM GMT
    @Alexander, My doctor knows my intentions full well. I asked him the moment I could walk again, if I could go back to teaching and he told me he wanted me to wait a few more months up to a year.

    I figure I could start building some muscle while I'm waiting for more improvement?