Client: Emmanuel

Injury: L5-S1 Disc Bulge

Emmanuel came in with L5-S1 disc pathologies after he was referred by a friend of his who had some excellent results with SydneyExPhys with his own back injury. He was a keen recreational tennis player but had not played in 18 months because of the pain, and enjoyed training in the gym, but also hadn’t engaged in this since his back pain started. He was unable to sit for extended periods of time which made work difficult, too. 

Emmanuel had about 18 months of mixed results from various conventional hands on treatment. He felt like he needed to move more rather than be worked on by someone else. At his initial consultation he was pleased to hear that his suspicion was confirmed. He had numerous imbalances that needed to be worked on which were likely contributing to the problems. Specific movements needed for day to day life, as well as for getting back to tennis were then identified and became the focus of the program. 

Emmanuel worked diligently at these imbalances and found himself steadily feeling better. With this steady improvement and progression of his program he was able to return to tennis and has been playing without pain consistently for months.

Here is a brief insight into Emmanuel’s rehab journey.

Client: Tal

Injury: Disc bulge with nerve root impingement

Tal is an avid surfer, mountain biker and snowboarder. He was referred to us by his specialist with an L5-S1 disc protrusion with nerve root impingement and as a result, couldn't participate in any of these hobbies that he enjoyed so much. Never mind that, he could barely walk without pain and had constant pain down his legs. Another opinion he received was to undergo surgery, but the referring specialist explained why conservative treatment through exercise would be more beneficial in the long term.

Initially, Tal's rehabilitation involved very simple floor based exercises that focused on both neutralising and stabilising the effected disc. Any movement more than this tended to increase symptoms. These exercises included conventional "core stability" work, but also some less conventional exercises aimed at strengthening his back muscles, gluteals as well as his stomach.

Due to the specific movements involved in surfing, a gradual progression was made in this direction. Both the pressing component of getting up from the paddling position and the crouched position standing on the board needed to be addressed. Balance was also an important element considering a surfboard is an unstable surface. These balance mechanisms also needed to be addressed. As well as this, the main potential for damage is actually when falling off the board so gaining strength to be able to resist that force was also required.

About 6 months later, Tal went on surf trips to Indonesia and then Fiji and surfed without problem. He actually reported that he coped even better than on trips prior to his back injury. He's now planned his next snowboarding trip.

Follow a small part of Tal's trip through his rehabilitation in the video below keeping in mind that when he first came to us, as mentioned before, he could barely walk without pain. Here he is a few months on, doing exercises that many people without his injury history have difficulty doing properly.