Brian Carroll – Remember where you came from…..

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May 2, 2013 from Dr. Stuart Mcgill…

Medical Imaging:
“The images were very revealing and in fact are very consistent with his pain patterns and performance. There is substantial fracturing of the endplates of the L4, L5 vertebrae and the sacral plateau. This is accompanied with edema across all of these endplates. This has resulted from substantial compression. These will compromise compressive load bearing – the edema can be considered a bone bruise accounting for continual background pain exacerbated by more load. This has led to posterior disc bulging at L4/5 and L5/S1 that has probably been exacerbated by repeated flexion under load. The bulges appear to by “dynamic” from clinical assessment. It is difficult to predict if these will settle or become more sensitive – our experience suggests they could go either way. Subsequent movement patterns and training will heavily influence this. S1 also has a substantial fracture into the body. Again, all of these fractures may progress into bony callouses if given time and load relief. These are not uncommon in powerlifters, although if they were in the general public would be alarming. Brian will know in a few months how he is responding.

Opinion and Suggestions:
My opinion is that Brian has substantial trauma to the lower lumbar spine from compression and bending. There are multiple pain sources suggesting that surgery will not take the pains away. Substantial vertebral and sacral fracturing and disc flattening has lead to instability at these sites. The joint micromovements coupled with poor gross movement patterns have compressed and sensitized nerve roots – specifically sciatic roots on the left side at the l4 and L5 levels. I have discussed the future with Brian and propose the following plan. Stage 1 is intended to reduce pain and focus on stabilization and spine sparing engrams. The nerve and pain sensitivity should also reduce such that the trigger levels will be raised to a higher level. Phase two will then add some auxiliary mechanics and consider hip mobility. These must not be mixed up. Then, decisions regarding resumption to training will be made. If athletic training is considered, then stage 3 will be directed at balancing his body to reduce the weak links, and optimize his powerlifting performance in a staged, periodized, injury conserving way. I must emphasize that his injuries are substantial. If I had not seen lifters recover before I would urge him to retire – from a health perspective this would be the most rational suggestion. He realizes the elevated risks of resuming elite competition. Resuming training with continuing radiating symptoms would be very unwise.”

Fast forward 18 months later…..

I put the time in and with the help of the world’s best spine specialist, I got back on the platform and PR’d in a lower weight class.

I followed McGill’s first two phases and then it was time for me to figure out the rest. I still sought out advice from Stu, but he told me this was my area to focus on and that his job was to get me pain free.

Phase 3 was made up of the following: incorporating the principles of 10/20/Life, attacking my weak points, using a proper warm-up as well as being very very patient and never missing lifts.

It was not an easy route, and it took a lot of time to do, but I’m very happy that I did it without surgery and can say 100% honestly that I have zero pain day to day, and zero pain during lifting.

Here is video from my last meet almost 18months to the day of that diagnosis and reading.

Seek out the best in that particular field and be patient. Anything is possible.

Get the guide that I used to build my strength and get my back stronger and healthier than EVER HERE [share title=”Share this Article” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true” reddit=”true” email=”true”][author title=”About the Author”]

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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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