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Disc herniation at L3-L4 and L5-S1

mattbenton
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2 years 2 months ago
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08/17/2017 - 11:12am
Disc herniation at L3-L4 and L5-S1

Hello everyone,

I'm Matt and I'm 30 years old. My back issues are fairly new to me, at least in a noticeable way. I imagine I've had quite poor posture at my desk job for the last 6 years.

I injured my back 4 months ago while squatting at the gym. I wasn't in a great deal of pain, but lost flexiblity which quickly lead me to physical therapy. The PT helped quite a bit, but my recovery stopped progressing which led me seeking further diagnosis.

I had an x-ray and MRI last week and received the following diagnosis:

  1. Minor lumbar scoliosis convex to the right. Minimal thoracic scoliosis, also convex to the right. No focal bony abnormalities.
  2. No pars fracture or stress fracture or bone edema.
  3. Mild disc degeneration at L3-L4 with a broad base shallow herniation with posterior annular tear and tiny component of extrusion along the central aspect of this herniation. No cranial or caudal migration of disc material. The broad-based herniation results in lateral recess narrowing right greater than left with abutment of the L4 nerve roots in the right lateral recess.
  4. Moderately severe disc degeneration at L5-S1 with desiccation, loss of height and broad-based posterior disc herniation and component of extrusion extending just caudal to the disc level but no nerve compression or displacement. Mild to moderate left caudal foraminal narrowing due to disc bulging and endplate spurring and minimal right foraminal narrowing.

Seems quite serious and I am about to start a new round of physical therapy armed with this information. I have no persistent pain and can go about my day-to-day activities with relative ease. My most noticeable symptoms are general stiffness in my back and tightness in my hips, hamstrings and calves.

My doctor recommended this amazing book to me and I am excited to be attending group classes in Palo Alto with Esther next month. I'll be attending accelerated learning classes September 22nd and 23rd as they were the only ones available to me (I'm meant to be moving to Milan sometime in October).

I have started looking at the first two lessons, 1 (Stretchsitting) and 2 (Stretchlying on Your Back). The book cautions against lessions 3 (Stacksitting), 4 (Stretchlying on Your Side) and 7 (Hip-Hinging) for anyone with herniated discs in the lower lumbar area until they have mastered the ability to maintain extra length at the site of my injuries.

I plan on talking to my PT and Chiropractor and working with them regarding the lessons in the book.

I have a few questions and understand they may be hard to answer:

  1. Are the accelerated two-day classes (3 lessons a day) going to be too much for me?
  2. Should I be aiming to have attempted all 8 lessons (provided my healthcare professionals deem it safe) before attending the group classes?
  3. How can I best determine when I can move on to lessons 3, 4 and 7?
  4. Do you have any other advice specific to my circumstances?

Thank you very much,

Matt :)

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20 hours 6 min ago
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09/05/2014 - 6:51am

Hello, Matt - Thanks so much for writing!  It's great that you have supportive health care professionals to work with.  And I'm so glad you found the Gokhale Method and will be taking the Foundations Course soon!

As to your first question, I don't believe that you'll have any problem with the accelerated course.  There is a lot of information and physicality involved, but it is not strenuous and the pace is reasonable. There will be breaks between lessons. If you do find any movements or postures painful, your teacher will help you immediately to either stop doing it or modify it to work for you.  

For the rest of your questions:  Be conservative until you get to the class, but do at least read chapters 3, 4 and 7 so that you'll have familiarity with them when they are taught in the class.  Elongating your spine is the most important action for you, and Stretchsitting and Stretchlying on your back will serve you well with that. The Inner Corset will also be useful if you can pick that up from the book - it helps you elongate and then brace your lower back from within. Since your course is just a month away, I think you should wait and focus on those three techniques.  Let your teacher guide you as you are ready for the other lessons.

Best of luck to you in your healing journey!

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method Teacher

mattbenton
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2 years 2 months ago
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08/17/2017 - 11:12am

Hi Doreen,

It sounds like I'm on the right track! I agree about being conservative until I attend the class. 

Thanks for the encouragement and advice :)

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