Returning after back injury

Need advice and motivation on how to get gently back to running with a degenerate lumbar disk

15 messages
08/03/2014 at 09:38

Hope you can help me please.  I have been off running for three months due to a back injury which has finally been diagnosed as a degenerate disk and which gives me much pain and stiffness.  In my head I am frustrated and really want to get back to my running, but I don't know how to get back out there and what is reasonable with this injury.  I am not an experienced runner, but I would still like it to be part of my life. I have lost my mojo  Thanks for any advice you can give.

08/03/2014 at 18:27

I have struggled with my back for around 3 years, I have a very reduced L5 disc, I am still able to run, some days its good others bad but I am always as stiff as board regardless of what distance I have run afterwards,I do the usual stretches and core work to help manage the situation although I have how resigned myself to the fact that 13.1 miles would be the longest I could do now. I can usually tell within the first 5 mins of my run if its going to be ok and sometimes give up and go back home because it is too uncomfortable. I do get frustrated as have no idea why some days I can run and other days I cant!!  Fingers crossed you are able to get back soon xx


08/03/2014 at 18:50

How much common sense is involved in persisting with an activity that causes pain and discomfort?


09/03/2014 at 00:20

To RicF. I came to running very late. It liberated me. I found something I loved doing and became the fittest I had ever been. That's why I don't want to give up. The absence of that boost is unimaginable. Therefore, I was hoping for some encouragement and hope. Thanks anyway.

Thanks Geri h - I hope you have lots more good days than bad. And keep loving your running. C

11/03/2014 at 05:11
Hi, I'm awaiting the results from my MRI but after receiving osteopath treatments for he last four weeks I appear to have a similar problem. My L5 is possibly prolapsed or significantly degenerated with a couple of others showing signs of degeneration too.... The osteopath has helped no end and what with all of the stretches and core work that she has prescribed I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Incredibly frustrating, I've not been able to run in about 3 months now!!
I've now been given the do ahead for gentle gym work, ie yen minutes in the cross trainer, stretches and then ten minutes on a bike as I've got lots of strength etc to build up again.
It's taught me how weak my core was and how Vital your core really is!
Good luck on he recovery guys...
11/03/2014 at 08:45

I stand by what I say, however all is not lost. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that this is a condition that can be sorted. It might need surgery, perhaps not.

A women around the corner from where I live has run several marathons, and that was after having more than one vertebrae fused.

15/03/2014 at 20:50

Thanks mr f and RicF.  It sounds as though there is hope after all.  My osteopath has said he has written to my GP and one possibility is a steroid injection in my back to calm the inflamation around the problem.  However, since the diagnosis, I have been following my old routine of stretches and sleeping with a roll under the small of my back - and taking ibuprofen temporarily and it does seem better. The weather was so lovely today, I had planned to go out and try a short run/jog, but our builder came round and it was late when he left.  Tomorrow maybe....... and I agree about the core, I am weak, so will do more varied exercises to get strength up.

Good luck mr f.  If you love running, go gently and stay well, but hopefully you will be back outside again soon. 


18/03/2014 at 15:33
Well... The results are in! My S2, L5,L4 and L3 are all degenerated and dehydrated. Also have spinal stenosis. Osteopath appointment tomorrow to translate it all into English as here other things mentioned which I don't quite understand!
Has anyone had any experience of injections? Either anti inflammatory or pain relief? It may be something I enquire about tomorrow cos I'm really struggling at the moment, the only pain free position is laying on my front resting on my elbows!
29/05/2014 at 11:00

Hiya folks, how are we getting on? I'm 24 hrs out of spinal surgery now having had inter laminar spacers inserted at both L3/4 & L4/5 disks. Incredibly sore and stiff but fingers crossed my problems are behind me and I can now start the very slow process of recovery and back to full strength. 

Hope others conditions are easier cos it's a bloody frustrating time I know!

13/06/2014 at 10:23

I have suffer from 3 bulging discs and degeneration of one of my facet joints, this has gotten worse over the years(about 20 of them actually) However after many years of osteopath treatments, physio and a ridiculous amount of pain relief (which I no longer have to take as much of) I am finally at a happy place with my back and running. Like Geri h said, I have days where everything is good before and after the run and days when I grab for the painkillers.  Its all about managing the pain and if you have a day when you think "this is to sore" then turn back and go home, there's no point in aggravating it more, there will be other runs.  I did do core exercises which has helped a great deal, my tummy is nice and strong now so this supports my back, my mum used to say its your belly that holds your back up and she was right.

It is REALLY frustrating and I would get really annoyed with myself but you get passed that.  Good luck .

13/06/2014 at 10:24

p.s I came into running late as well so I aint giving up now!!


13/06/2014 at 10:27
Good to hear from you Claire. I'm so glad that you're back running! All is good this end, physio happy and I head off for a two week stay at a rehab hospital (through work) a week Monday so I'm hoping they're gonna work wonders! Initially estimated that il be running 9 months ish after surgery but I reckon it may be sooner. But little steps they say, I'm only 35 so plenty of years running left in these legs I think! ????
18/06/2014 at 22:39

Mr F that's brilliant news, 35 is very young so don't despair, not only will you have lots of time running you'll heal quicker.  Onwards and upwards as they say.  Best of luck and enjoy the rest, keep us posted x


18/07/2014 at 20:36

I know there has been a long time since my last post.  I have really struggled with my back and have only managed about 3 shortish (3 miles) runs between March and May.  We went on holiday in May and I fell on the second day and have badly sprained my ankle.  I was on crutches for six weeks and am just off them. It is still swollen and painful.  Now I am really frustrated as I can do absolutely nothing and have been advised that I will not be able to run for about 9 months (I tore several ligaments completely).  I have put on a stone and a half as I am comfort eating because I am so down.  

Life is pretty difficult and bleak at the moment.  I had got myself into a really good place.  I was slim, fitter than ever and really enjoying my running.  Now I am just a blob with a very sore foot and back.  

Any wise thoughts would be really welcome.



18/07/2014 at 20:42
Ahhh Claire I have been exactly there. I'm now 7 weeks post surgery and still can't run but am able to be more active. I put a lot of weight on whilst I couldn't exercise, similarly due to comfort eating and also cos my metabolism just seemed to just come to a grinding that. Il be able to use a cross trainer soon so I'm focussing on taking things slowly and building my fitness back up and hopefully starting to she'd some weight.
What's the current situation with your treatment?

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