View Full Version : On herniated disks (SportsPsy list)

Herman J. Woltring
08-12-1991, 08:19 AM
Dear Biomch-L readers,

The following items are crossposted from the Sports Psychology list;
I hope that some additional suggestions can be provided by you.

Regards -- Herman J. Woltring, Eindhoven/NL

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Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1991 11:53:59 CDT
From: Mike Oswald
Subject: Herniated Lumbar Disk
Sender: Exercise and Sports Psychology

Has anyone had personal or professional experience in dealing with
athletes experiencing a herniated disk? Basically I'm looking for
opinions on how much pain should someone endure before considering
an operative/invasive procedure. If the pain is limited to feel-
ing like a pulled muscle with occasional loss of sensation in the
outer part of the affected foot ... when does one consider any form
of exercise counter productive? In other words ... if the pain is
limited to the sensation of a pulled muscle 85% of the time is there
concern for the S1 nerve root (permanent damage to severing the nerve
root)? Is this a disability that will repair it self in time, w/the
reseeding of the disk from the nerve root? What about motivating
factors for such athletes ... etc ...


Mike Oswald
Univ. of NE Medical Center
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Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1991 12:06:42 PDT
From: Margaret.Jourdain@SONOMA.EDU
Subject: None
Sender: Exercise and Sports Psychology

I recently heard a radio broadcast (KGO Radio, San Francisco, Dr. Dean Edell's
show) in which the subject of whether or not surgery was warranted on herniated
disks was discussed. Seems a fair percentage of such ruptures can heal them-
selves without surgical intervention, which is a new finding that certainly
runs counter to traditional medical beliefs. Even serious cases with substan-
tial nerve damage can fully recover without disk removal, it seems. You may
want to write to the station to get a transcript of this discussion, or check
out the last few issues of JAMA, which was cited, I believe, in this program.
I am a firm believer that the athlete must actively participate in his/her own
healing process, beginning an aggressive treatment program AT ONCE of icing,
ibuprofen (600 mg 4 times a day), and stretching once the pain's receded. The
bad news is, continuing a regular workout program during this process will
almost certainly lead to delayed recovery or additional damage; even dropping
back to half-speed doesn't fool your body, only your mind. Resolve to devote
that workout time to the treatments described above instead, even if it takes
a month. If your leg hasn't weakened, you can do walking, but even this
should be postponed until at least a couple of weeks into your ibuprofen/icing
habit. Good luck to you. I've been through it and know all too well what
it's like.