AxelVanhooren wrote:A few months ago I started with Judo. This sport fits well with my character and I get a lot of satisfaction of it.
I really don't want to give it up.
Unfortunately, some years ago I had a neck hernia (C6-C7). It resorbed by itself. By natural healing the disk remain fragile.
In essence, I would like to know what the risks are? Does anyone got experience with this? Should I go on or stop?
I am seeking advice from different sources from the judo world as well as medical people. For the latter, I suspect it is easier and 'safer' for them to say "Don't do judo. How about chess ?". ;-)
Some more info: I am 48yrs and don't plan to do competition. If I could do the techniques, training and the training fights (I guess softer than competition) within the club that's fine already for me.
Does it help to strengthen the neck? And/or increase its flexibility?
Should I think on surgery?
If the risk on a hernia is real, but if the effects are limited to symptoms and only small damage, then I could try.
If, on the other hand, there is a risk on immediate important damage, then obviously, I have to stop with judo.
Any story of neck hernia during judo ?
Any advice, things to pay attention to, things to do/not to do?
Thanks in advance.
It is impossible to satisfactorily answer you question in a general way. What I would normally do after reading your post is put it aside and objectively look at the CT-scan, the MRI and other measurements and lab results.
One of the problems in arriving at a judgement is that we do not know what caused the hernia. A hernia could occur to a perfectly healthy back due to an accident, but it could also occur without barely any accident to a spine or disks that are not in such a good condition. Both cases would lead to totally different predictions.
From a medical point of view some of the things you say don't sit quite right. Details and interactive discussion would be necessary. What is the evidence of your hernia ? What is the evidence that like you said it was 'resorbed'. How large was the hernia ? What kind of hernia was it ? What was its size and its exact location on the specific disc ? Did the hernia on involve the angulus fibrosus or did it also affect the nucleus pulposus ? What is your overally physical condition, built and physical integrity ? How well do you move in jûdô and how well are you able to adapt your jûdô to your injury ?
While of course competition increases the risk for injury, the fact that you are not participating in competition as a fact is not so important since after all most 48-year olds in the West do not regularly or seriously compete in judo anymore except maybe to fill up a gap in local team contests or an occasional master's. Unlike in Japan there is not kôdansha shiai in the West, so most people of your age would be in the no-competition category.
At the end of the day what is important would be to know what really caused the hernia. Were it intrinsic or extrinsic reasons ? If they were intrinsic such as poor genetic quality then obviously your risk is seriously enhanced ? You write "By natural healing the disk remain fragile." The question is whether this is just an expression or whether objectively the disc is indeed weakened. If it is weakened then obviously the risk is enhanced.
What you also need to realize that this is not an injury where one can arrive at much relevant conclusions by comparing it to someone else who has or had a hernia because of the enormous differences in genetics, type of hernia, location, precise tear, severity of the tear, angle of the tear, construction of the disc, etc. To be blunt, what happened to someone else is about as relevant to your problem as the composition of my girlfriend's eyeshadow.
In any case, overall, hernias do not respond well to judo and are often career enders. Someone who has been in judo for dozens of years, a tough cookie with lots of hardcore competitive experience, may stick around, too stubborn to give up too torn apart to do anything else, but even they'll have to throttle back. Many without such a past have to quit. Hernias do not get better from judo. Their evolution can go only in one direction. They may stagnated for a while but after that it can only get worse.
Anyhow, I can go on and on about this, but at the end of the day it will boil down to what most people already knew from the start: talk to a qualified physician, a neurosurgeon or orthopedic who can accurately assess your medical situation and risk. They may not have expertise in sports and judo, but upon a thorough assessment you would at leas end up with a medical protocol, which is far less valuable for a sports physician to base his or her predictions on than a combination of layman's vague opinions.
Whether surgery is the best option is a multifactorial issue that depends on the location, size and type of tear, the type and kind of surgical approach, and the outcome of the surgery. In any case before submitting to surgery, make sure you do not just visit an orthopedic surgery but have it assessed by a neurosurgeon.
I am sorry if you might feel that I or we are not being very helpful, but I try to judge you and your problem as honest and realistic as possible, and that's all I can say.