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Terrible back injury! How long?

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Well, if having Lyme disease and sever upper body joint pain isn't enough, now I go and hurt my back. I would never have thought that within two years I could from feeling on top of the world, strong, to weak, in pain and barely able to function. I lost 35 lbs of mostly muscle due to Lyme disease and had to stop upper body workouts. So.....I concentrated on cardio and legs. I can't do squats because of my left should and was tired of step ups and lunges so i did some leg presses.


I know presses are horrible for the low back but I did em anyway. Stupid! I felt a wicked twinge in the lower back and since then I have not been able to bend over, it takes 10 minutes to get out of bed, and almost a half hour to get dressed.

This happened a week ago....two days after I got back from snowboarding and was feeling pretty good.


How long do you guys find back injuries take to heal? Last time I did this I think it took 6-8 months!!!



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Rich, your story is somewhat similar to mine. I have Fibromyalgia (I know that it's apparently similar to Lyme) and dislocated ribs, so I'm right there with you as far as all the fatigue + other shit and upper body pain go. Like you, I've been at that point where I was on top of the world and strong...hell, I was a Marine training for competitive bodybuilding...to bullshit. I was curling 40lb dumbbells and then struggling with 3lbs...and then having to deal with "recovery" pain for a week after. I went from running 6 miles to walking a quarter mile and being laid up for 2 weeks. Shit sucks.


What sucked even more was my mentality, which may be what you're suffering from right now and, Lord knows, I still suffer from it from time to time. It's the "Fuck this fucking piece of shit body, I can do it! I used to do it, I can do it again!" mindset. You said so yourself that you went into the exercise knowing that it's bad for you and you did it anyway. Then, even though you have a hard time getting out of bed and even getting dressed, you went snowboarding.


Now, I'm not here to tell you to put limitations on yourself. I've had people tell me that I don't "act disabled enough" or whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean, and I'm not about to tell you the same. What I will tell you is to listen to your body and listen good. I can't tell you how long it's "supposed to take" for your back to feel better. If you went snowboarding and it feels okay, then hey, great. But make sure it feels better before going snowboarding next time you do this. Please, though, just listen to your body. One thing that helped me was to mourn the loss of the old me with the old body. I realized that I was carrying around my corpse and marionetting it around and then getting mad when it didn't perform like it used to. It couldn't...it was gone. That's like trying to race a car after the engine's seized up: it's futile. So I had to mourn the loss of it. I did. I cried and everything, as if it was a funeral. And, if you start realizing what it really means, you may cry as well even if, like me, you aren't the crying type. Once you realize the old you is gone, that doesn't mean you start "being disabled." Let that mean whatever you decide it to mean. I mean, I've had people try to make me FEEL BAD because I still lifted weights after my diagnosis, and they said things like, "I have friends with fibromyalgia...this is not what people with fibromyalgia do," to imply that I was faking it. Yeah, because I really liked getting my career ruined and having to walk around with a cane all day, right bitch? But I don't let their views change me. Some days I need a cane, and on days I don't, I don't. And if I need one the very next day, so be it. For you, it's okay to let yourself have some time off if your body needs it to.


After all, what's better: be stubborn and try healing for 6-8 months like you did last time, or take the hit to the pride and still be active tomorrow?

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Sorry to hear about your back injury. I don't think anyone can give a good estimate as to how long it will take to heal, since there's no info on exactly what was injured via any professional diagnosis. Back injuries definitely suck, I'm still working through mine all of 5 years since the first time I hurt it. Take it easy for now, if you can get to an ortho to have someone who knows their stuff take a look it'll be a good thing, they can give you better info on what to expect for healing.


When I do damage to the spot I originally injured (which left me in a bad way for about 4 months straight), I'm in pain for about 2 weeks to where everything hurts as far as getting in and out of bed, sitting down, etc., and then it starts to get better over the following few weeks to where I'm fairly normal again (but I still feel fragile afterward, which takes months to fix). Just try to avoid ANY aggravation that's unnecessary - of course, you can't just stand still until it's better, but do as little as possible for anything that makes it feel worse for now. Time needs to pass before you can start to heal enough to rehab it, then once you can work to rehab, do everything in your power to bring it back up. Too many docs will tell you to not do much physical activity once you're healing because they claim you'll be vulnerable to re-injury, but they never bother to stop and think that by letting everything atrophy further, THAT'S the main reason re-injury tends to come back time and time again. That's why we have so many people hooked on painkillers and have little physical ability left way too soon in life, all because they want to dull the pain (which takes time to go away) and fall victim to thinking that less is better, rather than working to re-strengthen what needs to be built back up.


Rest, get a diagnosis from a professional, and REHAB once you're able to in a pain-free (or nearly pain-free) manner. That's all you can do, I'm afraid. But keep your head up - I was told I should NEVER lift again, and while I'm not what I used to be, I'm grateful that I can still do what I'm able to now, so it's a matter of adapting your mindset to potential limitations. You may come out of this much stronger down the line, but you need to be patient, listen to your body, and take your time. Many people have come back stronger than ever from really, really bad injuries, so keep the faith in eventually coming back strong in time, but take care of yourself now so it'll be possible later.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Never forget to keep looking for answers. Something causes Firbro....don't stop looking. When I got sick, they were ready to say I had early MS. Keep in mind MS and Firbromyalgia are fancies names for a collection of symtoms of which we have no clue about.....or so they say. I have talked to a number of researchers, doctors, professors at Universties at teaching hospitals who all said the leading theory and most probably is that a bacterial infection, virus or something else triggered the Fibro. We had a few people in our area diagnosed with MS...went on like that for years...only to find they had Lyme disease, Erlichia, and Babeseosis like me. I also have Bartonella. I have been getting better though with treatment. Unfortunately due to so many variable, changes in the immune system and the inability to test for all strains, testing for these and similar infections are terribly innacurate.

They told me I also could have Fibromyalgia. I didn't accept it and kept looking. I was on crutches and almost needed a cane. Thanks to my doctor suspecting Lyme and co-infections even though my test was negative...I started getting better. The walking got better as did the foot pain, etc. I am still dealing with the Babesia infection which is taking a looong time to get rid of.


But I digress.....


My back is much better! I just strained it doing leg presses. I just wish I could use my upper body in the gym.

I will say the Snowboarding was great and I had little pain that day. I plan to go in a few weeks!

Actually the snowboarding was before the injury.


My doctor told me that lifting will help calm my pain and get me back in the game. She wants me to push through as doe the Orthos I had seen recently. I am working on getting rang eof motion back in my shoulder and I'll be back in the gym. Biggest iss ue I have now is pain in my forearm and wrist.


My doctor told me that with Frozen Shoulder I should not do any upper body workouts but I am getting antsy. He said it could cause more problems so I might at least hold off till I see him in mid april. I have been working to regain range of motion. Due to the arm pain, I tended to guard that arm and keep it really still....leading to the slow build up of frozen should. All this while I was still lifting. Problem is...after lifting i went back to guarding that arm and not using it much.

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Your back will get better when it's ready. You can help it by exercising when you should and not exercising when you shouldn't.


Get it checked by a medico. But also realise that many diagnoses of the causes of back pain are wrong. Many people have spinal abnormalities that 'should' cause pain but don't. So if they later develop back pain and one of these abnormalities is found, it gets the blame.


I have had back pain, off and on, for decades. It became crippling in late 2007. Walking, sitting and standing were agonising. Even lying down was painful. In 2009 I was diagnosed with stenosis and spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine. Surgery was recommended. I wasn't going to let them cut me open, so I declined. As far as I know, stenosis can't get better. But I am better. I won't go back to doing heavy squats or deadlifts again. No more overhead pressing. They will put too much compression on my spine. The spondylo-wotsit is probably still there - if I ever had it - so I don't want to risk making it worse. But I am back to doing single leg squats and weighted step ups without pain. I can do weighted dips and chin ups. I've recently started doing bent-over dumbbell rowing again. I even do handstands and one-handed handstands (I need a wall to support me, though). The point is, my spine is much, much better now. If I am careful, I am confident that I'll have no more trouble.


Doing the bird dog, also known as four-point kneeling, helped me. It exercises the multifidus muscles. Those muscles are nearly always weakened in anyone with back pain. If they are not weak before the injury, they are likely to be weak afterwards. There are many of them connected to each vertebra at different levels. Just having one of them weakened can throw the spine out of balance.


Stuart McGill recommends bird dogs, along with planks, a modified curl up and the cat and camel. If you decide to do any of these, go carefully and stop if anything causes pain.


The bird dog and the curl up are demonstrated in this link:



You might find something of interest in this link or the links that it links to. Or you might not.



As others have said, listen to your body, but not the gurgling sounds that sometimes come from the belly area as they rarely have anything interesting to say.


Good luck.

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Man that is a tough break and I'm sorry to hear about it. I know myself that lymes disease is hard enough as it is, then to go and add something like a back injury to the mix will always just add to your pain. It's always something it seems, doesn't it?


Anyways, I am no doctor, but back injuries can be really tricky and you have to be really careful with them. I don't want to tell you exactly how long it will be until your back is better or until you can start lifting or working out like you did before your injury to your back, because each back injury is different. It could be weeks, could be months, and even years or your back may never fully heal depending on you and the extent of the injury. I just wish you the best of luck and I would advise that you see a specialist before you do anything to heavy or too extreme. Back injuries are nothing to mess with.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the support and opinons, advice guys! Appreciate it! I rested about 1.5 weeks and felt much better...started doing light leg workouts, lunges, step ups, etc. Now it feels great, no back pain! As a result of the Babesiosis and Lyme disease, i have a lot of joint pain in my left arm and I tended to protect that arm and not use it much outside lifting weights so I developed frozen should. I saw an ortho and worked like hell stretching the arm the range of motion it is getting back to normal.....not quite there but close. I still have the arm pain, some joint issues but it looks like I can start lifting again, taking it slowly. I even started doing squats again and it felt good.

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