Programming for Back Issues
Posted: 19 July 2009 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For the Trainers:

I was wondering if you have any experience dealing with a client that has some back issues. To explain, I have an L4-L5 bulging disc that causes occasional sciatic flair-ups. In particular, I have found a few exercises that have a higher potential for aggravation than others (high speed DL - when form tends to break down, SDHP, box jump, HPC).

I love the impact that CF has had for me in the last 6 months, but am of course looking to make my back better, vice worse. I think part of the right answer here is “make it stronger” to the effect that I think adding in 1-2 days/wk of 50-75% of 1RM DL would be valuable for me. Aside from ensuring proper mechanics on all the above mentioned exercises until I can consistently perform them without aggravating my back, do you have any experiences/suggestions?

Thanks in advance. (Note, I know and acknowledge that any advice given here is “blind” and don’t hold anyone but myself responsible for any and all pain I suffer for my poor practices!!!)

Greg

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Posted: 19 July 2009 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have a fusion from T10 to L3.  Before I found CrossFit, I had learned to live with constant, mostly dull lower back pain. 

I started dabbling in CrossFit in the Spring of ‘07 and committed to doing solely CrossFit sometime that summer.  I started slowly but I can think of 2 occasions where bad form caused me pain.  The first one that comes to mind was the day after a ‘Helen.’  I let my back round and didn’t keep my core tight during the swings and I paid for it for about a week.  The second occasion that comes to mind happened on an ME DL day.  It was during warmup:  I didn’t set my back and engage my hamstrings.  My back completely rounded… Pulling any weight that way can/will hurt people who don’t have a back issues.  I pretty much fell to the floor in agony.  I was barely able to drive home that day.

My times aren’t the best, but they have been steadily improving over the last 2 years.  The same is true for my ME loadouts.  There are lots of people who are stronger, but as long as I can get a small PR and not hurt myself along the way, I’m happy.

I didn’t do anything to specifically focus on “making it stronger.”  I just focused on not letting my form deteriorate and I found that as the weeks progressed, the dull pain vanished and I was able to hit higher and higher intensity levels as I got stronger faster and leaner. 

Moral of the story - Maintain good form, be happy with small gains and you’ll get there too.  I had the benefit of being able to train at an affiliate for almost a year so I usually had a second (or third) pair of eyes keeping an eye on my form.  If you can get to an affiliate, I would highly recommend it.  If not, post some video here, try and apply the advice that you’ll get and post some more video.

I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning, but I hope telling the short version of my story helps.

if you are interested, I’ve talked about it a little bit here:
http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewreply/95651/
and here:
http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewreply/87950/

to a lesser extent here:
http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewreply/64837/
and here
http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewreply/46691/

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Posted: 19 July 2009 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Joel:

It’s nice to know someone out there has had success coming back from serious back issues due to the program. I suspected at least part of the answer was to follow the formula of “mechanics, consistency, then intensity.”

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Posted: 19 July 2009 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We have had a few go through this same ordeal and hopefully they will read your post. From my experience, I can tell you that after hurting my lower back, I took things slow. The deadlift came back using the CFSB and started a lot lighter then when I hurt my back. I still used the 5lb increments, and before I knew it I was back where I started. The time you get there is not important. What is important is that you get there! Just be patient.

Try toes to bar, to help keep back loose.

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Posted: 19 July 2009 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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subdriver96 - 19 July 2009 02:49 PM

Thanks Joel:

“mechanics, consistency, then intensity.”

X2

I think steering away from the explosive lifts until a stable core is developed is the key.

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Posted: 20 July 2009 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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BIG D - 19 July 2009 08:11 PM

We have had a few go through this same ordeal and hopefully they will read your post. From my experience, I can tell you that after hurting my lower back, I took things slow. The deadlift came back using the CFSB and started a lot lighter then when I hurt my back. I still used the 5lb increments, and before I knew it I was back where I started. The time you get there is not important. What is important is that you get there! Just be patient.

Try toes to bar, to help keep back loose.

Thanks. That patience thing has always been a tough one… age is helping some though wink

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“To survive is not enough” - Matsuo Basho
“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”—Marcus Aurelius

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