For many people, a herniated disc can result in debilitating pain that can make completing basic tasks difficult. It may be next to impossible to get out of bed in the morning, let alone to continue with an exercise routine. However, if you’re recovering from or managing symptoms of a chronic herniated disc, staying active and fit is a critical part of treatment. There are many things you can do to stay at a healthy weight while also maintaining the strength of your supporting muscles and your cardiovascular fitness.
What can you do to promote your fitness?
Some things you can do to stay fit while you’re recovering from or living with a herniated disc include:
- Eating right. The core of any fitness plan is diet, and many experts agree that diet makes up a significant part of staying healthy. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as lean meats and proteins can give your body the nutrients it needs to heal as well as keep your daily calorie count low enough to avoid gaining extra weight. Even small changes like low-fat instead of full-fat dressing on a salad, or having skim milk rather than whole, can make a big difference over time.
- Performing low-impact exercises. With a herniated disc, many activities are simply too painful to consider and may even hurt you more. However, low-impact exercises can still be possible. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may want to consider swimming, riding a bicycle, walking or performing another cardiovascular workout that doesn’t put extra strain on your back. Avoid activities like running and those that involve twisting the neck and back, like sports such as tennis, basketball and baseball.
- Practicing strength training. Although it’s important to be careful with the exercises you perform to avoid hurting yourself further, strengthening your core muscles can actually help your body heal faster because it gives support to the back and reduces the work required by the spine to stabilize the back. In addition, muscle burns more calories per hour than fat, so building muscle mass means you burn more calories every day, making it easier to manage your weight.
Before you start any new diet or exercise plan, all activities should be discussed thoroughly with your physician or other health care provider, and you may even want to consult a nutritionist or dietician to find out if there is a certain diet that could benefit you most.
Conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, medication and hot/cold therapy along with lifestyle choices like staying fit and having good posture help many patients dealing with a herniated disc find relief. However surgery can become an option if weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment don’t allow for a return to normal activity.
If you are considering a surgical procedure for a herniated disc, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Since 2005 our team has been able to help more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from spine conditions like herniated discs with our outpatient procedures.
To find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, contact our dedicated team and receive your no-cost MRI or CT scan review.*