Exercising with a Herniated Disc: What to Watch For
Strengthening your back with a herniated disc is possible
In fact, it is one of the most effective ways to go about rehabilitation. Long gone are the days when doctors recommended bed rest for spinal injuries. And while most herniated discs will require a few days of heavy rest and recuperation, especially during the acute injury phase, it is important to get moving again as soon as possible. Herniated discs are uncomfortable and this carries over into the realm of exercise- they limit range of motion and performance. But that makes it all the more important that you continue building strength and stability into the muscles that will support your spine in its endeavor to recover.
What to watch out for when exercising with a herniated disc
What to avoid:
- Twisting movements
- Weight lifting: while not all weight lifting is bad, certain movements can increase the load that your spine is already unable to bear.
- Running: exacerbates disc injuries by causing repetitive shock to a compromised shock absorber.
- Flexion-based exercises (bending over)
Anything that increases spinal compression is likely to worsen your symptoms. All of the above identified movements tend to increase the amount of pressure and strain on your intervertebral discs.
Focus on extension for disc injuries
Instead, focus on exercises that gently extend the spine. While this may sound difficult, extension of the back decreases compression of the intervertebral discs, relieves nerve impingement and relieves pain. It can also be used to strengthen the surrounding musculature. However, it is important to note that not all disc injuries benefit from extension- and it pays to be sure! If you are looking to start an exercise plan in spite of your herniated or bulging disc, give our office in Sacramento a call to ensure that your spine gets the exact exercise it needs to rehabilitate effectively.
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