Disc problems. Stuart McGill or Medx?

82shoes's picture
82shoes started the topic in Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 10:09am

Hi, has anyone with bulging, perforated discs (in my case L5/S1, L2/L3 as well as minor bulges in others in general area) had experience with Medx machines or the methods put forward by Stuart McGill?
I met with a surgeon 2-3 months ago who said if strengthening exercises don't work then disc replacement at L3/L3, fusion at L5/S1 is on the cards.
He then recommended the Medx machines.
Stuart McGill on the other hand is against the machines, and seems to back up his theories with a lot of science.
At present I'm trying both and while using the machines I feel great, but next day I'm getting referred nerve pain down the glutes and legs.....
It's frustrating, two opposed viewpoints with people testifying to their success.
I'm 59 and after surfing my whole life since gromhood I've now been out of the water for 6 months during the best winter I can remember here on the Goldy.....
Looking forward to hearing from you

82shoes's picture
82shoes's picture
82shoes commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 7:28am

I’d like to avoid surgery if I can as the results sound mixed, as are everyone’s particular issues.
I have not found or heard any comments about either method from a surfers point of view so I'm keen to hear comments from our perspective.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 9:43am

Hey 82...here's a little info from my personal experience which I hope helps.
I hit the top of my head at an angle which compressed my neck at C6/C7 and locked the facet joints and then transferred the impact pressure along my spine blowing out all the paraspinal muscles on the left of my spine and then hitting T3/T4 vertebrae and rupturing the disc and compressing the nerve root. I couldn't move my left arm for about 3 weeks and was off and on with traction and bracing for the first week and a bit.
I also wanted to avoid surgery as best I could so went the path of long term physical strengthening as my recovery. I was fortunate to have had an existing long term Ashtanga yoga practice which had given me a very strong and flexible spine at the time of the injury and which some of the specialists imagine may have saved me from more extensive or permanent injury.
The good news is that I was able to make a relatively complete recovery but which now requires a consistent and specific exercise program on a daily and/or regular basis. I don't know much about Medx machines but I used a modified program of stretches and strengthening techniques based on my existing yoga practice and a few targeted exercises from my osteopath.
You're going to want to ensure that whatever you choose to do works in a systemic and balanced method which creates an overall improvement in the condition and strength of your whole body not just your spine. Everything from how you place your feet when you walk and how that transfers energy into to your hips as an either balanced or imbalanced way will affect the base alignment of your spine. Your injury will have created coping mechanisms in the way you move to avoid pain which will have created imbalances and misalignments in the muscle structures which move your body around and hold your frame upright.
I'm a great believer in the capacity of the body to heal itself in a powerful way given correct attention to the wholistic connection of not just the musculoskeletal system but all systems within the body. But take your time. And get really good advice.
Best of luck mate, hope some of this info helps and you get back I the water when you can.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

82shoes's picture
82shoes's picture
82shoes commented Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 6:22pm

Thanks for your reply Crg, totally agree with the holistic approach as we are certainly made in an awesome way with everything contributing to the whole. Also on getting good advice, which was part of the original question as sometimes the advice seems good but conflicts with other advice that likewise seems good.....
Thanks again

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Monday, 4 Jan 2021 at 9:45pm

I got an MRI on my lower back today after having buttock pain as well as shin pain and foot tingling. I've herniated disc irritating my L 5 nerve root. I'll get a cortisone injection as this helped me 30 years ago on my other side. I'm 50 this year. I'm guessing there's a lot of you guys who have experienced similar things. Has anyone got any advice or exercises that have helped them? I'm guessing core work and lower abdominal exercises. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Bob Sacamano's picture
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Bob Sacamano commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 9:22am

I had a bulging disc in the lower back about 2 years ago, nothing major like the above but enough to keep me out of the water and off work until I started to make progress. I seen a physio who started of with stretching and then strengthening exercises. We then moved to the source of the problem (a bad hamstring which had surgery two years before) and strengthen areas that affect the back. Two years later and I've never got rid of the issue, it's still there but you learn to manage it. The more exercise I do the better it is, the more lazy I get the worse the pain and inflammation becomes. My advice is to see a professional to get a rehab program and stick too it! As mentioned above the holistic approach is the best. Good luck.

overthefalls's picture
overthefalls's picture
overthefalls commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 9:22am

@flow
After surfing with nagging lower back pain for several months last year, it got to the point where it was so excruciating to popup that I just couldn’t surf anymore. My GP referred me to a physio, who diagnosed a herniated L5 disc, which was causing intense sciatic pain. After about six weeks of daily stretches, pressure point manipulations and core strengthening exercises, the pain finally disappeared and I’m surfing again. However, my physio said that I will have to stick with that daily regimen if I want to continue surfing into my old age. I’m 51 and would like to surf for at least another 20 years, so I have to set aside half an hour a day to do the workout or face the prospect of injuring myself again and doing even worse damage than before. I would strongly encourage you to see a physio who will set you on the path to recovery.

flow's picture
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flow commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 10:43am

Thanks Bob & over the falls. I'm sure the key is to get some good physio onto it and stick to appropriate exercises. Anyway I'm off for a cortisone injection today then physio at some stage.
Thanks again.

DAW's picture
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DAW commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 11:03am

Very similar story to overthefalls.
Professional help and daily stretches have overcome a decade or more of pain.
Keeping active is the key.

82shoes's picture
82shoes's picture
82shoes commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 10:38pm

@overthefalls You're right about keeping up a daily routine of stretching/exercise etc.
What specific "daily stretches, pressure point manipulations and core strengthening exercises" are you doing?

82shoes's picture
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82shoes commented Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021 at 10:44pm

I had two shots mid last year, one in each trouble spot. I personally found that the cortisone only took the edge off the pain which at least allowed me to be able to exercise to strengthen the area.
MB put me on to a couple of game changing exercises which, depending i guess on the problem, and done right (most important) make a massive difference.
I also recently did a course of classes with Chris Mills in FT which stretches, lengthens the spine, decompressing it while teaching good breathing habits.
Highly recommend Chris.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
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philosurphizing... commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 1:51pm

Anyone tested out the anti inflammatory qualities of CBD oil.

overthefalls's picture
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overthefalls commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 4:01pm

@82shoes
My physio instructed me to do the following routine twice a day to treat my sciatic pain caused by a herniated L5 disc:
- 1 minute application of direct pressure to the glutus medius, glutus maximus, piriformis and psoas muscles (this relaxes tight, spasmed muscles)
- lying on each side with knees pulled up, one arm outstretched while the other does a motion similar to loading a bow and arrow, 20 times each side (this is to loosen my upper body)
- lying on the ground with a firm foam cylinder under my back, hold legs in the air at a 90 degrees angle for one minute, then alternately lowering and raising each leg 20 times, then the same with both legs at the same time (this strengthens the lower abdominal muscles so that they can better support my back)
- putting a latex band around my legs just above my knees and doing sidesteps back and forth, and doing wax on
/wax offs with each leg (this strengthens the glutus muscles so that they can better support my back)
- standing up, bend legs slightly so I can touch my fingers on the ground and then gently straightening up 5 times (this stretches and loosens muscles affected by my injury)
Besides all that, I also stretch my back every hour simply by gently arching my back and every few hours hang from a beam and slowly raise myself, similar to a chin up.
I must admit, the routine is monotonous but I motivate myself by reminding myself of the pain I used to suffer.
@philisurphizing
I use CBD and other cannabinoids every day and swear by them. CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory and it also helps a lot with my anxiety and depression. More specifically, I take CBDa/THCa oil in capsules. I also take straight THC oil in capsules for pain and insomnia. This creates the so called “entourage effect”. There are plenty of articles about the therapeutic use of cannabinoids on the internet.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 4:09pm

Hey overthefalls. When you had your injury could you lay down prone? A lot of "exercises for sciatica" get you to extend your back, starting from prone position. When I got my injection yesterday I could barely handle laying prone as it was killing my buttock. Obviously every case is different. I'll find a good physio.

overthefalls's picture
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overthefalls commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 4:28pm

Flow, yes I could lie down prone, but it hurt to stand up from that position. The most painful actions for me were standing up from a sitting position, leaning forward or downwards, and popping up when surfing. You’re right; every case is unique. That’s why a visit to a physio is essential if you want to recover asap.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 4:35pm

Cheers and good luck.

Bob Sacamano's picture
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Bob Sacamano commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 9:09pm

@ philosurfizing. I just started using a full spectrum CBD oil with 0.3 THC. Zero psychoactive properties and it’s good for relaxation after a long day and it’s great for a good nights sleep. I don’t wake up at 2am stressing anymore and it seems to work well for general Inflammation of joints/injuries. The first bottle was a trial but it’s been greatly beneficial so I’ll get another.

udo's picture
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udo commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 9:15pm

Bob what were your Cortisol levels around time of the 2am wakeups any idea ?

Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano commented Wednesday, 6 Jan 2021 at 10:04pm

No idea udo. I had a busy job so was thinking a lot and I’m guessing they were high. You kind of get used to that baseline anxiety and stress. Like a clenched fist, you don’t realize it until you release.

82shoes's picture
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82shoes commented Thursday, 7 Jan 2021 at 11:22pm

Thanks for the detailed reply @overthefalls, you're right about the monotony of the exercises but hopefully they help.
Appreciating all the comments here, thanks.
It's definitely a combo of solutions, throwing in some flexibility moves as well.
MB has me doing a combo of hyperflexes (on a bench) and hanging knee raises. They made all the difference for me, mentally and physically as I felt definite improvement immediately.

it was better earlier's picture
it was better earlier's picture
it was better e... commented Friday, 8 Jan 2021 at 8:27am

I Have had one of these injuries which i was landlocked for over 12 months and now work in this field.

Patience and very good rehab based practitioner is key. The practitioner can be an osteopath, physio, chiro, or exercise physiologist. Each Discipline has their merit but a rehab focussed practitioner is paramount.

Be patient they take a long time to heal, nerves heal slowly. A 3 - 12 month recovery time is normal.

When you are better keep up your exercises 'homework' . Ideally a combination of strength work and mobility (pilates yoga).

Source out the best and most knowledgeable personal trainer or yoga instructor or pilates instructor, foundation trainer and use them, they are an invaluable resource and will keep you moving.

A combination of the strength and mobility work spread over a week is ideal for spinal health.

The best exercise is always the one the does not feel like an effort to do.

There was a forum discussion or an article on swellnet with Chris Mills. The article and comments below the article were full of great information regarding surfing and longevity

hope this helps