Gardening with a Prolapsed Disc
A prolapsed disc, also commonly called a slipped or ruptured disc, is a condition in which the spinal disc between vertebrae herniates, allowing the gel-like inner layer of the disc to protrude out into the spinal canal. This burst of spinal disc fluid can push on nearby nerve roots and the spinal cord itself, causing pain, tingling, numbness and many other symptoms that can make daily life extremely difficult. Many who experience this condition find that activities they once enjoyed are now off limits, including gardening.
You don’t have to give up everything you once loved due to a prolapsed disc. There are many steps you can take that may, depending on the severity of your symptoms, allow you to continue to participate in these activities. With gardening, these include:
- Plan your day before you begin – It’s easy to just start digging once you’re out in your garden, but with a prolapsed disc, it’s important to be careful not to overexert yourself. Plan to do just one “difficult” activity per day and surround it with other, easier tasks. For example, if you have two strenuous tasks and four less intense ones, work on some easier ones to warm up, then go for the more intense activity and finish out the day on the remaining easier ones to recover. If you’re feeling up to the other difficult task at the end of the day, then consider it, but don’t be afraid to save it for another time.
- Take breaks – In between tasks, short rests can make a big difference in how much you can get done. Taking a five-minute breather between planting and clipping could end up giving you an extra hour or two later in the day.
- Stop before you’re in pain – Many people get so frustrated with their prolapsed disc that they end up pushing themselves through pain and other symptoms to finish their day. However, trying to work an extra few hours could mean that you’ll end up having to take days off later. Rather than work through the pain, rest for a while and see if you feel any better. If you still experience symptoms, then call it a day to avoid further aggravating your condition.
Treatments for a prolapsed disc
In addition to simple planning, there are many conservative treatments for a prolapsed disc that can make gardening easier and more enjoyable. These include:
- Spinal steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Hot and cold compresses
Even so, some people find that activities like gardening cause pain and symptoms that are simply too much to bear, and even the conservative treatments above aren’t enough to relieve their discomfort. For this group, surgery may be an option, and the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute are a successful alternative for them compared to the traditional open neck and back procedures often used. For more information on these procedures or other treatments for a prolapsed disc, contact Laser Spine Institute. We’ll review your MRI or CT scan and let you know if you qualify for one of these procedures.