Herniated Disc

by Jennie


(Not my MRI, but looked similar to this.)

When something big happens in your life that is negative, you don’t want to talk about it, yet expect everyone to know. What’s with that?

I never really put out there what happened this spring, because I didn’t want to acknowledge that there was something potentially horrible at hand. Now that I am training again, and seem to be working through it decently, I will divulge a bit more.

Two weeks after spring series in April, I got off my bike after an easy ride and had a sharp pain in my lower back. A day later, I had sharp pain down my leg, that felt like I was being tased every move I made. Suddenly walking, coughing, sitting, laughing, and most certainly all other physical activity made me fall to me knees. The only position that didn’t hurt was laying flat on my stomach. Many phone conversations, various types of  Dr visits, lots of  “press-ups”, and nerve pain later, I ended up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, double checking that I didn’t have Lyme still, and talking to a Neurosurgen about surgery the next day. It was a minor herniation, more so on the side of bulging than an abrupt blow out, but still pressing heavily against nerves. I had one sided quad atrophy, same side toe drop, and leaned as far into the injury as I could to avoid stretching it. I couldn’t put socks on, much less bend over even the slightest. I was told it was 50/50 that the nerve pain would go away without surgery in two or three months, and the PT route might be a good start, so I chose that road.


Physical therapy – trying to shift weight with help of the door frame.

This whole summer has been an interesting lesson of listening intently to my body, not focusing on negative possibilities, and taking baby steps. By the end of May, I decided it was time to make myself like swimming. My first 10 min jog was when I moved to Bozeman in June. My first roller ski with BSF was in July, and I couldn’t get my ski on because it was too much bending over, even while sitting on the ground. Definitely not the first impression I wanted to make. Luckily, bozeman has a plethora of hiking options, and that has been my savior. I couldn’t run, especially downhill, but hiking worked. I gradually have been adding in activities, and use the onset of pain as an indicator to abruptly stop, since aggravating nerve pain is a lose lose situation.


I am a US ski team camp right now in Lake Placid, and realizing how good it feels that apparently to the outside ski world, I don’t seem like I have a back issue at all. Hallelujah.

Lets keep that ball rolling in the same direction!



  1. 10 May 14, 8:47am

    I went through exactly what you have been through. It healed and then happened again 3 years later, then again 3 years later and so on. I went to doctors, PTs, chiropractors, napapaths, massage therapy and acupuncture. The last time it happened, 8 years ago, the chiropractor worked on me for 6 weeks, 3 times a week and then handed me the business card of a neuro surgeon. Fortunately, in answer to much prayer, I ‘stumbled’ across a new chiropractor who uses a technique called Pettibon. Every angle of the discs are measured and over time with manipulation and traction,the normal curves are put back into the neck and the lumbar areas. My lumbar curve was nonexistent and that’s what caused the problem (too much sitting at school and work. I have a standing desk now). My lumbar curve is now a total of 43 degrees! This means an increase in the space between vertebra thereby drawing in the herniated disk and taking pressure off the nerves. I do traction everyday and I have had no problems since. In fact my PRs go up!

    For you, even if it hasn’t come back you should look into the Pettibon technique and find a chiro in your area who studied it. Get the normal curves back into your back (if they are not there) and fix it while you are young. If there is no curve then bone spurs form on the ends the vertebra. That happens when they are constantly irritated because of the lack of space and lack of curve.

    Hope you don’t have to go through it again, it’s frightening when it keeps happening and no one knows really why. But the Pettibon technique could be the answer!

    • 20 May 14, 7:20am

      Hey David,
      Thanks for the advice, I will have to check that out!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: