Steve Maxwell Articles

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Q & A: Rehab a Bulging Disk


Hi Steve, Any suggestions how to rehab a bulging disk in my lower back? I'm 55, fit and in decent shape. I hurt my back trying to do a standing ab-wheel rollout (I know, stupid!)... Thanks so much!

Hi Johnny, I almost didn't recover from that same injury.

Acupuncture for pain -- find a good Chinese acupuncturist, it's just amazing for pain. Hot baths for pain -- as often as needed, sit in water as hot as you can tolerate until pain subsides. Keep cold wet cloth for head to keep head from overheating and keep a window or door open in bathroom. Hot and cold contrast showers -- with handheld shower head, if possible. 60-sec each alternating hot & cold water.

Another option is alternating hot and cold packs for 20-min each. These hydrotherapies provide great relief and are no cost. A good chiropractor can help -- look for one that has a traction-table. This special traction apparatus can provide enough space for the disc to move back into place.

I used a certified rolfer but a good chiro can help. A "traction chair" is nice -- I used one -- but any tractioning apparatus is good. More or less.

Re: fitness, simply do chin-ups and dips -- really slow! 4-sec up and 4-sec down w 2-sec pause... that's a 10-sec total time under tension.

Also do wall seat -- or use a Swiss ball and you can get full range squats. Go 10-sec up and 10-sec down w 3-sec pause. DO NOT do top third of Squat movement as this just unloads the muscles. In all three exercises, go super smooth and controlled no herky-jerky that jars the spine. Lose your ego about rep counts! Focus on pure quality of movement.

And stay away from conventional medical authorities! Skip the MRIs and diagnostics... they will only implant fear in your mind and doubt and this is the the enemy. Many a good man has been lost to surgery, drugs, and medical advice.