woman who is exercising with a herniated disc

You’re still getting over your back injury from a couple of weeks ago, but you’re anxious to go back to the gym even while recovering from your herniated disc. You don’t want to lose your workout progress, but you also don’t want to risk reinjuring yourself. What exercises should you avoid with a herniated disc? Which might be helpful as you heal? Keep reading to find out!

Bad Exercises That Can Aggravate Disc Problems

If you struggle with a herniated or bulging disc, the last thing you need to be doing is running, frequent stair climbing, or hard walking. These high-impact aerobic exercises require your back to stabilize with each jarring step, perhaps making your condition worse.

Although sit-ups are meant to strengthen your core, the strain put on your back can counteract any benefit you get from this exercise. Straight leg lifts engage the same back muscles and can also put too much stress on your vertebrae and discs.

Even exercises that may seem unrelated can have a negative impact on your back. For instance, overhead weight lifting forces your lower back to stabilize your body, potentially aggravating an existing disc problem or leading to a new one.

Good Exercises to Avoid Disc Problems

As a general rule, most low-impact exercises are going to be easy on your back. The exercise that takes the most pressure off your spine is swimming. Whether you’re doing laps or doing water aerobics, being in the water allows you to be active without harming your discs or back muscles. Another low-impact exercise is riding a bike, enabling you to get an aerobic workout.

Instead of doing sit-ups, you should try doing reverse sit-ups, which activates the same abdominal and back muscles without putting pressure on your spine. You accomplish this exercise by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Bring your knees to your chest, lifting your hips off the floor. After your butt has left the floor, you slowly return to the starting position.

What to Do If You Have a Herniated or Bulging Disc

As soon as you feel pain in your back from a herniated or bulging disc, stop what you are doing and call a chiropractor. The healing process may require some time, but it can be accelerated through the appropriate therapies. They can also give you more specific instructions on which actions to avoid in order to allow your back to feel better. In the meantime, try to stay active with low-impact exercises.

In the end, over time, your herniated or bulging disc can be addressed, and you don’t have to completely avoid working out. By making smart decisions at the gym and by working with your chiropractor, you can overcome and heal.

About the Author

Dr. Zinovy Chukhman has been working with injuries and rehabilitation for more than 20 years. He graduated from the Parker College of Chiropractic and has continued to gain more skills and training. In fact, he is proficient in many techniques, including flexion-distraction, Gonstead, and Graston techniques. If you think you have a herniated or bulging disc, you can schedule an appointment at AlignRight Chiropractic by contacting the office at 972-907-2800.

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