Hello Dr. McKay- My name is Russ. I have a degenerative disc on L4 of my lower spine that i got from playing ice hockey. Sometimes the disc pops out and it will cause bad pain for a week and its diffiuclt to walk.
I have not played hockey in 15 yrs and would really like to start again but am concerned about my back. I have done some spinal decompression treatments in the past (about 12 of them) and while they definitely helped i dont believe they eliminated the problem completely.Can you recommend any strategies for support, protection and prevention if i decide to play again? Back surgery is not an option i would consider.
thanks so much for your help
Russ my first question is how old are you? Next, do you exercise regularly? If so what do you do for exercise besides hockey?
So you did 12 sessions of decompression, that seemed to help-great. Try and think of your body as dynamic and not static. If you went on a diet and lost 20lbs ( as I need to do) you would feel great. If you did not continue doing or changed your lifestyle there is a high probability that your weight would return. Like a diet sometimes you need to continue making lifestyle changes or adapt these changes on a permanent basis.
Here is some solid advice. If you have not been exercising you will need to start out slow.Plan on working out 4-5 times a week. Give it 6 weeks. Do different things like run,swim, stair climber,weight circuit training. You will need to give the body a chance to wake up slowly. All too often I see people start exercising only to fail because they begin with good intentions and go too hard. Do you like to be gently woken up or do you respond to an all out fire alarm? You will need to also think about doing core exercises. Think of the core as your transmission every action has to pass through your core, from the soumds of it your core is probably not up to speed for hockey. Look up online a core strengthening program. You may want to do some kettle bell swings which integrate your core nicely.
Now when you are doing all of these things without back pain go back and do some more decompression sessions. Even if you do not have pain, it may be remedial at this point. Now after about 2 1/2 months go out and skate. And if you are still pain free skate even more. Keep doing other exercises to balance yourself out.
Here comes the lecture now. Your body is always changing, either it is getting worse or it is getting better. Your back is part of your body. Your back is mechanical. If you changed your oil 10000 mi,es ago would it still need to be changed? Yes, of course. Well your back needs some loving on a regular basis. Chiro's get slammed all the time with "you have to go the rest of your life". Yeah that is true if you want to maintain your spine. You brush your teeth everyday to maintain your teeth, why is the spine any different.
Go slow, build up speed and go the distance of a long healthy life. Your back is a part that may have wear and tear. Knowing that give your back what it needs so it does not bother you. Maybe you should see a chiro every time you get an oil change as a reminder.
Feel free to contact me for a referral to a good chiro in your area.
Darien Chiropractor Brian McKay