I’ll give you a bit of a timeline…
I’m a 28 year old girl from Ireland. I got into weight training 7 years ago, toyed around a bit with crossfit etc. and eventually ended up with a solid strength and conditioning programme which is when I made the most progress – basically through circuits and powerlifting. Got fairly strong with a 130kg deadlift, 80kg squat and 50kg bench @70-72kg and leaned up alot in terms of bodyfat and weight with a skinfolds drop of around 40mm’s.
Stuck at that for a while and then my back started giving me trouble. Fast forward to an MRI a few months ago which showed I had a degenerative disc and nerve compression – which meant that everything hurt and I was weak as piss. I had a constant ache in my lumbar spine, sciatica running through my left leg, weakness down my left lower body and the physio told me that powerlifting was out for good.
HOWEVER, following a few months of rehab and over a year of half arsed/extremely limited and demotivated training, I got another physio opinion from a guy who is currently researching neuroscience and the origins of pain itself. He had a look at my scan and told me he had seen hundreds like it, and that training wasn’t going to make things worse on an injury level – despite the pain and that the pain could be coming from my bodies anticipation of it now rather than the actual sciatica itself. So right now I’m being smart and listening to my body, but I’m also going to push the boundaries as far as I can. My rule right now is that if the exercise doesn’t result in a sharp pain in my LS then I can do it. The nerve pain is the main issue I need to watch right now, as my disc is going to degenerate either way.
Another thing I should mention, is that I’ve been dealing with PTSD for 3 years now and that’s also had a massive impact on my lifting. Due to this, I have issues with mood regulation, depression and anxiety, so it’s hard to commit to training 4-5 days a week when I don’t know how I’ll feel from one day to the next. I blog about this over at http://www.echoesofwords.wordpress.com if you want to read more on that, but the reason I’m mentioning it here is because it’s a big big factor in why I NEED to get back training regularly. Being strong and fit was a massive part of my identity for so long, and being told I couldn’t train anymore was devastating. So now, having been told it might be possible to get that part of myself back again…well, I’m determined to do everything I can to make that happen.