Ortho Visit Today -- bad news

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by BradD, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
    Man, today is the suck. I went to the ortho and got some pretty disturbing news. Sorry for venting and being long-winded.

    Apparently, I have a degenerating disk in my neck, probably due to one or several of the 4 concussions that I got in HS. This is a problem because heavy weight pulling down from my traps will cause it to get worse according to the MD. I remember back in college that very heavy shrugs would really get my neck acting up. It started acting up again a couple of weeks ago when I was doing shrugs with moderate weight. With squat and DL, I haven't held it there as long.

    Second, I have a piece of a vertebra fractured in my lower back, probably from a back injury I got when I was 17 playing basketball. From the side, there's a little triangular piece of bone just barely broken loose from the rest. This is causing the disk above it to degenerate also. He said he's pretty sure that the disk is bulging out and causing some problems and it will get worse if I keep putting load on it. Also, there's a facet joint problem like I predicted. It's at the same location, so he thinks it's due to the dysfunction in the area combined with the new loading.

    Rip says these guys are full of it when it comes to stuff like this, but it's hard to discount the opinion of a guy with 15 years of school who specializes in spinal issues. This MD has an extremely strong dislike of squats and deadlifts and believes that people should not be lifting anything heavier than what they can get 12 times. He said 16-24 for me because I'm more delicate, apparently. I told him that I could probably squat 300 in that range with some training in that rep range and he said to just forget squat and deadlift, period. His opinions are extreme enough that I tend to not trust him. Then again, the other guys like Rip have extreme opinions in the other direction and has a financial stake in promoting weight training as a safe and smart activity. I need to find a MD who believes in weight training. If a guy like that tells me to forget it, then I should head over to the side of the gym with the elliptical machines. No clue how to find a guy like that.

    Who is a guy supposed to trust?! Where does one get info to make informed decisions on issues like this? Rhetorical questions, obviously, because I don't think there's an answer other than guessing.

    One take-home lesson that I've learned over the last 6 months or so is to watch out what the kiddies do in sports. I now have three moderately irritating and probably degenerative health issues (counting double vision from nerve damage from the 4 concussions) that all stem from injuries when I was a teen. I was too stupid at 15-17 years old to know better. My teenage self screwed my 39 year old self. Now I'm thinking that I'd better be careful that my 39 year old self better not screw over my 50-70 year old self.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  2. dotsun

    dotsun Shark Stomper

    Messages:
    1,222
    Likes Received:
    46
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Sorry to hear that, Brad. I would definitely get a second opinion. And maybe a third.
     

  3. jdsumner

    jdsumner

    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    riverview, florida
    Damn, Brad!!
    I truly was hopin' nobody here would be dealing w that amount of back trouble. Purely because I can empathize. And, mentally, I DO know what you're feeling. Your mind is telling you "I'm still strong, I can still do this". And you can, but, if you are willing to take a little unsolicited advice: You don't need to. You've conquered the Heavy. Now, you must learn to conquer ego, and train for longevity. It becomes a matter now of training w/in your truest abilities. This is an application where mind over body doesn't necessarily hold true. Your mind can drive your body to do great things. It can lift massive amounts of weights, push thru unreal pain. You've proven that already. But, if the structural integrity of the body is truly compromised, then just believing you can lift like a monster and drive thru the pain wont do anything but cause more grief and pain and ultimately damage. And, if you're not careful, you start yourself on a destructive cycle. You take just enough time off to feel better, jump back in light, get going good, and think "just a little more", but its not. Its a lot more to the damaged area. And, well, you are out again. But, this time, its for a little longer. And the depression gets a little worse. And a little harder to come out of.

    Brad, I know what you are going thru. All I can tell you is these orthos, and neuros see 10 of us a day. The same type guys have the same exact issues. Gotta be some common factors. At this point, Lift Smarter, Not Harder.

    If I can help, in any way, please let me know. For the first time, I feel like maybe I can really contribute back to the forum and the group that has given me so much.

    dan
     
  4. LoadToadBoss

    LoadToadBoss IYAAYWOT

    Messages:
    3,504
    Likes Received:
    104
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    Northwest Louisiana
    Take care of yourself now. When you hit your 50s (like me) healing takes forever. You can't be superman forever, but you can be a super man to your family by staying healthy (and employable) for them.
     
  5. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Messages:
    5,264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 1999
    I say get a second opinion too. Sorry to hear the bad news. Maybe time to take up swimming like you used to talk about.
     
  6. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
    Thanks everybody.

    My current problem is coming up with a second opinion that I will trust. No clue how to do that. I need to find someone who respects and *understands* weight training. If someone like that tells me to stop DLing, I'd listen. When someone with an obvious strong bias tells me to stop lifting, then it's hard to base such a huge life choice on his opinion. For example, the guy today told me to do leg press instead. Anybody who knows anything about lifting knows that LP is about the quickest way to herniate a disk.
     
  7. jdsumner

    jdsumner

    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    riverview, florida
    "My current problem is coming up with a second opinion that I will trust."-Remember, either way, its still an opinion. Either way, it could still be incorrect.
    "I need to find someone who respects and *understands* weight training."-Call the Sports Medicine specialists at UK. Don't just ask them "should I stop lifting?" Give them your background, and prior and current diagnosis.
    "When someone with an obvious strong bias tells me to stop lifting, then it's hard to base such a huge life choice on his opinion." I know. It's a huge life decision. But, so is being in constant pain because you wanted one more rep. Or just 50 more lbs. This is not just muscle and bone damage that can be healed. Your treading on nerve issues. Once nerves are damaged, they either always hurt, or they quit working properly. Sounds like you have a chance to minimize nerve damage. And heal structurally, and keep going. I wish I'd had some prior notification. I guess I did, and just did not heed the warning signs. Now, I'm in the "always hurt" category. I dont want that for you.

    I'd be the last one to say you should stop lifting. I'd also urge you to get more than one opinion. But, you trusted this ortho enough to go see him up to this point. If you've trusted him thus far...................

    Maybe its time for a change in the style of lifting.

    dan
     
  8. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Messages:
    5,264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 1999
    Call the SID at the school and ask him who they use.

    If that guy says no, just start doing something else. Change you paradigm, but keep training. Run, bike, swim, dips, pullups etc. You can still train, just a different emphasis.
     
  9. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
  10. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
    Dan, I really appreciate your perspective on this topic and I understand what you're saying. Some comments below. The goal is to be as strong and healthy as possible for as long as possible and breaking myself is contrary to that goal, LOL.

    That's right. However, I have to believe what the MD is saying. If a guy is dead-set against lifting and says a few things that don't make sense to me, then his opinion is suspect. I really want to find someone I can trust so I can have confidence in his instructions.

    I totally agree. This is kinda like on those game shows in which the guy can take the $500 or risk the $500 to get $1000. I would've taken the $500.

    I understand what you're typing there, but I don't think it's that simple. Rip would say that stopping back strength training is the way to make the problem worse. How to find the truth...

    I wish you would've had the chance also. I am extremely thankful that if I was heading toward more difficulty that I got a chance to stop and think it over first. There are lots of threads out there from guys who were cruising along and suddenly had problems.

    Maybe I can become a bench press monster! (wondering what I'd hurt if I tried that--rotator cuff perhaps?)
     
  11. TurboRocket

    TurboRocket

    Messages:
    2,344
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Location:
    South of Utopia
    Oh noez... truly, truly sorry to hear that, Brad.

    What do you think about getting in touch with the Cleveland Clinic or Johns Hopkins? Two world-renowned medical facilities that are within a half day's drive of you. I'd imagine both would have great orthos and sports medicine disciplines.

    If after a second or third opinion you determine it's time to hang up the heavy iron, I do like JD's words of wisdom. A buddy of mine is an awesome cyclist. He use to be a big competitive racer; was on sponsored teams regionally. He still runs in some time trials and such. He's 55 now and has the strength and stamina to kick the butts of competitors half his age. Definitely other endeavors out there - big iron is not everything.

    SID... sports injury doctor??? :dunno:
     
  12. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Messages:
    5,264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 1999
    No, not Sid, SID. Sports Information Director. I'm sure your Athletic Dept. has one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  13. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
    Interesting. Never heard of a SID. Thanks.

    Thanks also to you TR. Those hospitals aren't that far away and would be worth it if I can't find someone around here.

    I was reading at Rip's forum and he actually had two of his cervical vertebrae fused due to degenerating disk. I don't think that's an option for me, however, because I already have two fused vertebrae in my neck. I'd probably lose too much ROM if I had two more fused.
     
  14. JMag

    JMag

    Messages:
    9,363
    Likes Received:
    4,573
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Location:
    USA:Love it or leave!
    No offense to any orthopods, but I would get a second opinion from a good neurosurgeon. They are not all into going straight to surgery, btw.

    Best,

    JMag
     
  15. S.O.Interceptor

    S.O.Interceptor Khem-Adam

    Messages:
    2,370
    Likes Received:
    59
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    The Rock of Eternity
    I'm sorry to hear about your back problems.

    However I too am skeptical as to the doctor's objectivity. It seems as if he has a bias against weight lifting. Does he happen to be a pencil necked geek? If so, there is your answer. It seems he also has the "I'm the doctor and my word goes, I don't have to explain myself" type of attitude. I've been dealing with that for the last 10 days. If he can't or won't explain how exactly those particular lifts will directly cause more damage, then his opinion can't be trusted. He should be able to put into layman's terms how those particular lifts will directly cause more damage.

    The doctor has an agenda, but you're right that people promoting weight lifting have one also. You've got to find someone who specializes in this and get the opinion of someone who knows weight lifting. You know what they say, there are 3 sides to every story. Hopefully somewhere between the "just squat deeper and drink a gallon of milk and it'll get better" and the "certain lifts are just evil and should never be done" attitudes, is the truth.

    I wouldn't expect that with your problems a sports doctor will say that you've got nothing to worry about and to keep right on rocking along, but I doubt he'll say that you can never lift again either.

    There are people with worse problems who have come back good as new. Good luck.
     
  16. BradD

    BradD

    Messages:
    8,824
    Likes Received:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2000
    Location:
    KY
    Thanks JMag and SOI.

    Thinking about it now, I know where I tilted the conversation and made his agenda to get me to stop lifting weights. I told him that I hurt my lower back when I played basketball when I was 17 and he asked me had it been injured since. I told him that it hadn't been, even when I was a powerlifter after that and squatted, DLed, and shrugged large weights years ago. The poundages I told him would sound nuts to someone who doesn't follow strength training.

    Then again, maybe we are the ones who are nuts, LOL.

    Not saying that I know he's wrong, but I think I tainted the conversation big time at that point.

    The MD was a champion swimmer in college. I saw that in their brochure in the waiting room. Tall skinny guy. I really do think this kind of thing affects what they say. For example, if I was a MD and an ultra-marathoner came in with some kind of knee problem, my first thought would be "Just stop running 100 miles at a time and it'll stop hurting." It would take a servant attitude to get mentally engaged and try to keep the guy doing what he wants to do.

    I need to find someone I can relate to. That way, if there's bad news, I'll believe it and move on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  17. Cinic

    Cinic Spongy Member

    Messages:
    2,003
    Likes Received:
    198
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2001
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Sorry to hear about your news. Hopefully a second opinion yields a more tempered opinion on your future.

    The athletic department at your school could be a good place to get some doctor referrals. Are there any PL clubs in your area? You might get lucky and find a referral there too.
     
  18. BCR

    BCR BIGASS!!!!

    Messages:
    2,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Extremely sorry to hear your situation Brad.

    I agree with what others have said.

    I'd trackdown a sports oriented ortho for sure. There has got to be some in your area. Ask around or look in the phone book even.

    Google it, gaggle it, waggle it. Find one somehow.

    Worse case scenario is find another physical activity, and kick *** at that, like you do in everything.
     
  19. jdsumner

    jdsumner

    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    riverview, florida
    "No offense to any orthopods, but I would get a second opinion from a good neurosurgeon. They are not all into going straight to surgery, btw.

    Best,"--

    JMag


    Yes. This is the other thing I was trying desperately to remember to say. Monkeying around the cns, I want a guy whose specialty is the 'wiring of' the cns.
    Great suggestion JMag.

    dan
     
  20. jdsumner

    jdsumner

    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    riverview, florida
    Brad,
    no, bro. A cat of your size CAN'T stop strengthening the back. You may just want to consider other approaches. I find my back feels quite a bit better w training. Just not deads or squats. And truly, I dont know if my back wouldnt be able to take some weight on it. I Personally am not willing to risk it. I am generally out of work about 1 week a yr just waking up in pain. My giant corp frowns on that.
    But you;ll have to keep training. I truly respect that how you do it is 100% your decision, and I believe you'll make the right choice. I simply wanted to offer you a perspective from the "what could be" side of the fence.
    Just keep us all posted as you progress.

    dan