Exercise is an important step towards recovering from any injury. When you’re dealing with herniated discs it’s particularly tricky to find the right routine to get your strength and flexibility back. And if your lower back is as temperamental as mine, you’re constantly reminded that one wrong twist or bend could land you back in bed for or worse, the operating table.
Here’s a very short list of the exercises I was cleared to do by my surgeon:
Walking in a Pool.
No seriously, that’s it. The Doc didn’t want me anywhere near a gym, or physio room…just ‘walk it off’ he said.
The first 6-8 weeks post surgery is an extremely tenuous time. Damaged tissues need to restore and the hole in the annulus needs to heal. That’s why most people will tell you to avoid bending or hunching as this pushes laterally stressing the wounded area. Any type of weight training is forbidden for the same reasons listed above. So what type of exercise should you do after a discectomy? As I’m not qualified to give out medical advice, here’s a few places to start:
The NHS – Patient Recovery Guide (also posted in the Resources Section)
Light stretching and core strength exercises (knee rolling, pelvic tilts, prone lying) will make day to day living a whole lot easier.Â But then there’s this guy – He’s on that 7-step triathlon recovery program I’ve been hearing so much about. Good grief.
And for those of us that don’t like to read about exercising, here’s Richard Malcka doing some core strengthening after his L5 fusion. He’s under the strict guidance of Cody Carlson, personal trainer and consultant. There’s also some evidence to suggest that strength training with weights can help alleviate stress on the spine by developing core muscle groups. But if you’re going to hit the dumbells, I’d suggest starting slow.