In 2013 and 2014 I suffered lower back herniations in L4-L5. The first injury occurred in the gym with my friend Neil Porter and I passed out with the pain for a few seconds. I couldn't even get in and out of my car properly. I couldn't train for 8 weeks.
I got back into training without correcting the initial problem and it happened again. I realised then that to resurrect my training and strongman competitions I'd have to resolve the problem. Trouble is, I couldn't afford massage, chiro or any other physical therapy.
The trick is to gently build the musculature again, bit by bit, brick by brick, fibre by fibre.
I researched and researched methods and came across something from Starting Strenght (Mark Rippetoe's forum). It's old school but damn IT WORKS. Best of all it's FREE and takes patience and effort. It can help you even if you don't have a problem as, I can assure you, prevention is better than the cure.
This is an exercise program designed to strengthen the weakened muscles of the lumbar region. It’s that simple.
This is the "story" of the method:
The method, in short, is to obtain a broomstick without the brush end. The exercises are Good Mornings and Halting Deadlifts.
Good Mornings for 75 reps
“Place the bar high on your back as you’d do on a ‘high-bar’ or Olympic-style squat. Your feet should be closer than shoulder width, about 12” apart. Your toes are turned slightly inward, in a pigeon-toed stance. Bend the knees slightly and then lean your upper body forward and try to place your chest on your thighs. Eventually, you will be able to touch your nipples to your knees. Round your lower back and do not let your hips go lower once you have set your position. Come up slowly, with the weight on your toes, rather than your heels. Reset for each rep.”
There is simply no other way to rebuild a damaged bodypart without some degree of discomfort. What you need to be able to do is to differentiate between a sharp stabbing-type pain and a dull aching-type of pain. The sharp pain indicates that there is something amiss and you should stop whatever you are doing. The dull ache is a positive pain. It means that you are feeding blood and healing nutrients to the damaged area.”
Halting Deadlifts for 75 reps
“Do this movement just as you would the regular deadlift except I want you to lower the broomstick to the tops of your shoes and only bring it up to the top of your knees.”
I'm not a doctor and I'm not qualified. But everyone I have recommended this method to has seen a remarkable increase in their ability and overall pain management. I have not had a re-occurrence since 2014.
From people in the gym to those struggling with lower back back, it can work for everyone.
Give it a go and hopefully you'll see your own improvement.