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Torn disc- pain in the back!

Hi all,

I was training hard to compete in my first triathlon but was unable to take part as i tore a disc in my spine after a fall 5 weeks ago and i'm still recovering. I've had physio and started swim training quite quickly but i'm getting differing advice about running. Am being advised i can't run for months and told "give it time", but what would be sensible? I don't want to do any more damage but some advise i may not get back to running at all which is very depressing. Anybody had a similar problem and if so any advice for a frustrated wannabe triathlete?

Viv x


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    chischis Posts: 94
    Hi Viv

    Just picked up on your thread about a torn disc. I hope by now that things have improved somewhat - are you back to any running yet? The reason your thread interested me is that I have a back problem currently.

    I have a long history as a runner and have represented my local club for many years - most of it injury free. I moved into Duathlon and Triathlon about 3 years ago and have been lucky enough to qualify as an age group rep for GB in the 2006 and 2007 world championships. I am now facing a layoff as a result of a freak back injury - bending over the bathroom sink to splash my face after coming back from a 7 mile training run!!

    I am having physio at the minute but the physio who sponsors my trips to compete for GB and who I trust is unsure as to whether the cause is in a disc in my lower back or whether it is in the pelvic joint where a nerve may be trapped ( I have agonising referred pain in my hip and the top of my thigh). My GP said I had "pulled a muscle" - the stock answer which translates as ' I haven't a clue'. Anyway I sympathise with you as the back is so complex it is difficult to know when to resume running as impact is a major threat to the back.

    My physio has told me that I should not run at present but that cycling is ok and swimming will come next for me. In your case as you begin your early return to running have you thought about a float aid so that you can do some static running in water? This sounds funny but allows you to use the running action with no impact at all. Also some say that the elliptical trainers in gyms is a good substitute for running with no impact. My own experience of the latter however is that it does not mirror the running action for me - in fact I feel as though I would injure other parts of my legs as I am unused to the action.

    A little further down the line you could introduce running on soft surfaces - grass, firm beach etc - to get some running in with less impact.

    All of this assumes you have the all clear to do some sort of running. A torn disc sounds painful and time may be thing that you do need to give it. As an addicted fitness person I know how frustrating it can be to have a long lay off but try to focus on the positives - try to shift the emphasis on to the things that you CAN do to maintain some fitness and re-focus your goals to take account of your current position. Try not to look back at previous goals or you will always be looking at what you could have been doing before your injury occurred.

    Any way the important thing is to keep your chin up - don't give in and you will recover and regain fitness. Good luck.
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