Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Back Chronic Low Back Pain – Inflammation in Lumbar Vertebrae Pedicle

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    • #71810
      AvatarKami Wiebe


      I certainly don’t know if anybody will be able to help me, but I feel confident in the people who use MWOD and believe in Kelly’s coaching and way of thinking about movement, position and so here I am. 

      Back before I even knew about MWOD, I was deadlifting.  Definitely did it wrong, clearly, because I hurt back.  Nothing major at the time, but I felt a bit of a twinge.  Next couple days couldn’t really move because of the inflammation and tightness.  I played collegiate sports and was familiar with the rehab process, and so I did what I thought would help.  Rest, ice, stretch if not painful, etc.  Fast forward about 6 months, my hip on the injured back side started to become achy. Went to an actual physical therapist and walla, hip loosened up and I was good to go.  Issue was, hip loosened up, back started to hurt.  I’m assuming the hip was picking up the slack for my weak back, and so now with the hip issue solved, my back was like psych, not strong enough homie.  Bringing me to essentially have really bad back pain. 

       Even if I could do an exercise (I transitioned a while back to mostly working on body weight/gymnastic movements) my back would flare up afterwards and it would be uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep.  Still have issues sleeping sometimes.  Then, went to an orthopedic doctor and they had me get an MRI.  Turns out I just had some inflammation in the pedicle of one of my lumbar vertebrae.  Went to physical therapy, did the typical low back exercises and stretches, seemed to be getting better, but alas, wasn’t working.  Only thing that seemed to work was the ultrasound, which we only ended up doing towards the end of my “stay” because I recommended it? And so I basically told the Physical Therapist that it was costing me a lot of money to just constantly come in every week and do these exercises when essentially I felt like I wasn’t improving to where I needed to be.  Went back to the ortho and he basically says “well, it’s up to you in what you want to do.  You can get a CT scan to see if there is a fracture, or this could be something you live with the rest of your life and you just have to make sure you don’t do anything that causes more inflammation.”  Which is not what I wanted to hear. 

      Anyways, set up a CT scan and just had it so I am awaiting to see what those results yield.  In the meantime, I’ve been religiously following MWOD and working on my hip, low back, my hamstrings, ankles, shoulders, basically everything in his book.  AND IT HELPS, but the inflammation is still there and it comes and goes (mostly stays put). And I just don’t know what to do, and I’m not able to train, let alone do anything physical because of this issue.  Maybe there are some doctors or physical therapists on here that can give me their best idea of what is going on, or what I should do.  It seems like the doctors and PTs I go to in real life aren’t wanting to say what they THINK it is because I imagine as those types of professionals you can’t just be like “Yes, I think this is your issue” on the off chance it isn’t what they think it is and then people get mad.  I get that, but these (excuse my language) fucking broad and general ideas of what it may be and what I should do are just driving me crazy.  If anybody is out there that can help, I would really appreciate it.

      If somebody does come across this post and wants to help, I’ll be checking frequently and hopefully soon updating with the results on my CT scan.  Thanks again Kelly and everybody involved for creating this community.


    • #77000
      AvatarPatrick Thomas

      Good go hear you are seeing improvements with other areas of your body.
      Determining what movement pattern or position is causing the inflammation is key.

      Have you done a search on the MIWOD List?
      There may be practitioner(s) in your area who are an  MIWod Specialists as well as a PT.

      Back to the Barbell is another option. Over the 6 weeks address strength, mobility, and improve movements.

    • #77001

      I understand your frustration, as the first PT I went to basically said to limit/stop any activity which might irritate my back (and she was highly recommended to me.)

      Unfortunately there were no MWOD specialists near me.  But I happened upon a local crossfit gym’s website and they recommend a chiropractor who actually takes appointments one night a week in the gym.  He said over 50% of his patients train very seriously, and he’s been a great help to me.  Good luck.
    • #77002
      AvatarTom Matchinsky

      The paradox is smart training is actually what is going to get you better. You have to find anything you can do that is not super irritating and start getting to work. If I have people at my clinic with back issues we start with sled work and carries and basic breathing and bracing drills and go from there.

      MWOD Staff
    • #77008
      AvatarGraeme Ballantyne

      Travis is correct about smart training getting you better. Many of the exercises in PT after a back injury seem too simple in comparison to other exercises you might normally do but they are extremely important because they activate the first muscles to become inhibited after injury. Primarily the multifidi, TA, and glutes. It’s important to find a PT that will really work with you making sure you’re getting correct activation and not simply substituting. Also good to look at thoracic mobility. Don’t get hung up on the imaging! They often show issues that may or may not actually be the origin of your pain. Finally, remember that pain is not an accurate representation of the damage. Somthing very minor can cause severe pain. You will start moving better before you feel better, but focus on good activation of the deep core muscles. Good luck!

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