Lots of questions about Drew’s back – thank you for your concern. Here is a quick summary:
Drew broke his back (crushed three vertebrae) a couple years ago. He learned that he had a condition called spondyliosisthesis (pictured above) that led to the injury. He ruptured two discs in the process, broke a spindle, and tore his right hamstring as well. That compromised his back and put him on crutches for months (his leg wasn’t healing because the nerves were pinched). In sum, his back is permanently compromised and being unable to exercise, he gained quite a bit of weight. In prayer, he felt impressed to start lifting weights to improve the problem. It worked. Months after starting his new weight lifting routine, his doctor informed him that he would have been crippled had he not regularly lifted weights because he would have suffered from degenerative disc disease and because of the spondyliosisthesis, the resulting burrs would have broken and resulted with debilitating pain, etc.
Drew also learned that muscles in his back were 60% stronger on one side than the other so he started weight lifting one side of his back harder than the other. Anyone who knows Drew won’t be surprised that he overdid it and reversed the situation – resulting in a 25% imbalance on the other side of his back (10% results in pain). His doctor informed him that reversing this muscle imbalance not uncommonly results in herniated discs, which is what happened to Drew when he was correcting the imbalance on this second side. On top of having two nearly absent discs and three crushed vertebrae, he also incurred two new herniated discs, which resulted in the pain you saw on TLC.
Drew may have permanent nerve damage from the injury (right leg from calf to foot) but he otherwise feels great. He lifts six days a week and has lost 20 pounds since filming so he’s hoping to be in great shape by the time season 2 starts filming (if that happens at all). Otherwise, at least he’ll have less back pain.