A neurologist has explained why he regrets powerlifting after learning of its potential life-destroying effects.
Dr. Sergej Stjepic, a neurologist in Chicago, Illinois, revealed on TikTok three things he would never do knowing what he knows now about health.
“I wouldn’t have been powerlifting as much,” he said. “For example, squatting very heavy weights.”
Powerlifting describes the use of a barbell during squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting.
It involves lifting a certain amount of weight in one go, rather than repeated exercises.
But it’s harmful because it can “reduce your overall disc height in your spine,” he said.
When height is lost in your spinal discs, pinched nerves, bone and joint inflammation and pain can occur.
The degeneration of discs in the spine can cause a loss of space between joints, causing sensations similar to arthritis pain. In some severe cases, pain can be constant.
“Decreasing the disc heights causes bone-to-bone friction and can sometimes cause what’s called neural foraminal narrowing as well as central canal narrowing,” he explained in the video.
This, he explained, can cause you to pinch the nerves that travel through your spine, causing extreme pain.
Neural foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the small openings between the vertebrae in the spine through which nerve roots pass.
This doesn’t always lead to symptoms, but if a nerve gets stuck in the gap, it will be painful.
A neurologist said he regretted powerlifting after learning of its potential life-destroying effects
The Cleveland Clinic likened it to ‘what happens to an electrical cord when you close a door on it, jamming it between the door and frame.’
It said: ‘Eventually, the pressure on the cord can damage it, affecting the way it conducts electricity.
‘Similarly, (neural foraminal narrowing) can put pressure on affected nerves. Eventually, this can affect signals traveling through the nerve and cause nerve pain, and sometimes permanent nerve damage.’
“Powerlifting is really bad for your spine in the end,” Dr Stjepic said.
Pinched nerves occur when there is too much pressure on a nerve from surrounding bones or muscles.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the pressure can cause pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.
Dr Stjepic said he wouldn’t have played football either.
‘I definitely wouldn’t have played football in college. I probably wouldn’t have played football at all. My children certainly won’t,” he said.
“There’s this thing called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, they find it in 18-year-old kids … we don’t know why it happens, other than repeated hits.”
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain disorder likely caused by repeated head injuries.
This causes the death of nerve cells in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
‘I wouldn’t use any kind of alcohol or drugs, especially when I was younger, under the age of 20.
“Your frontal lobe continues to develop until age 25, but even more important than that is the gross amount of development your brain undergoes from zero to 25.”
He added: ‘People who would develop schizophrenia in the future, who were genetically more likely to, if they do marijuana, tend to have their schizophrenic break much sooner than they would have had it.
“It just messes with your development.”
A wealth of research links marijuana use to schizophrenia later in life.
Most recently, researchers supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that 30 percent of schizophrenia cases in American men between the ages of 21 and 30 are linked to cannabis addiction.