Guest Post from Chris Duffin-Disc Injury and Empowerment
May 5, 2016 Dr. Phillip Snell

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.06.42 PMAnyone visiting here from the world of powerlifting will recognize the name Chris Duffin. Chris and I got to know each other several years ago and I’ve had the pleasure of calling him a friend and watching as he progressed in the powerlifting world. As his understanding of some of his historical injury mechanisms improved, he added that to an incredible work ethic he already possessed and stepped to the top of the podium in his sport. These days, he shares his knowledge in the powerlifting world by helping to bridge the gap in that sport between injury and return to performance with his online coaching available at Kabuki Strength. If you’re a powerlifter, or aspire to lift heavy, you need to check out his site as it is a wealth of information to take you to the next level. Enjoy Chris’ views on what’s missing in the rehab continuum below.

Dr. Phillip Snell



As an elite level strength athlete and coach I have had significant exposure to dealing with back pain.  Most specifically herniation of the L4/L5 discs in athletes and with myself in fact.  Amongst high level strength athletes it is not uncommon to find these types of issues.  And we are not talking about career ending injuries but in fact just injuries that were considered part of the ‘game’ and something we worked through.  For myself my disc was herniated before I went on to complete my best lifts of squatting and deadlifting over 900lbs and setting a Guinness record for both the squat and deadlift for most ever done in one minute.


The fact that my story mirrors so many other elite athletes and yet stands as a stark contrast to what you typically hear in the general population is not by chance.  If lets say I’m at a cocktail party and the topic of lifting comes up I will often hear the story of the ‘life changing’ back injury from someone.  The story about the end of their lifting or sporting career and the life long prescription for pain from this event.  In these stories I will often hear about what the doctor/surgeon has told them about their need to limit their exercise, their MRI findings, and of course their pain that reinforces their limitations and belief that nothing will change.  But what I don’t hear is more important.


What I don’t hear is the voice of empowerment, the voice that they can take ownership for managing and recuperating their back.  I don’t hear their plan of attack for dealing with their limitations or pain.  I don’t hear their goals for the future that include making this injury a thing of the past.  This is the distinct difference between the people I see overcoming these types of events and accomplishing epic feats afterwards.  It’s not the resources to find the ‘special’ surgeon or drug that no one else has access to it is simply your attitude.


With the right attitude you will:

  • Find out why you injured your back in the first place and correct it
  • Develop a plan of attack and work that plan
  • Set Goals for the future
  • Move from rehab to performance training with corrections to prevent re-occurrence


A disc injury does not have to be a life sentence as many people see it.  You do not have to be an elite level athlete to overcome this type of injury so you can move on with your life.  But you do have to have the attitudes and beliefs that an athlete like this has.  Empower yourself, Educate yourself, then develop a plan and take action.


Get personal coaching from Chris Duffin!

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