Three tips for playing sports after slipped disc surgery

After being diagnosed with a slipped disc, you may wonder when — or even if — you’ll be able to return to your favorite activities. The recovery process varies from person to person, but in the vast majority of cases, people who undergo slipped disc surgery do eventually return to their previous hobbies, including athletics.

Getting back in the game

When it comes to sports, things are likely to be a bit different than they were prior to slipped disc surgery. But, with a few modifications, it’s still possible to integrate them into your lifestyle. For instance:

  • Don’t start playing until you have your treatment team’s approval. After slipped disc surgery, it’s important to give your body adequate time to recuperate. Lifting too much weight, bending and twisting too frequently or otherwise over-working your body during this time can set you back in the recovery process. If necessary, find a non-active hobby to temporarily occupy your time while you’re in the initial phases of rehabilitation and return only after your surgeon has given you the official “all-clear.”
  • Don’t go all in, all at once. Your body has dealt with a lot, so don’t expect to pick up right where you left off. Give yourself permission to build back up to your usual speed, stamina, strength and accuracy over a period of several months. If you’re experiencing specific limitations, like a loss of flexibility or a reduced range of motion, consider working with a physical therapist to develop an individualized slipped disc rehabilitation plan.
  • Choose low-impact options whenever possible. If you were a long-distance runner, avid golfer or hockey, soccer or football player prior to developing a slipped disc, you may want to seek out lower-impact sports to protect your body. Sustained impacts and regular collisions place a heavy strain on your spine and can increase your chances of re-injuring yourself or developing a new ailment. Swimming, cycling, yoga, Pilates, walking, kayaking, indoor rowing, elliptical training and even rollerblading are all gentler, lower-risk ways to get your muscles working and your heart pumping on a regular basis.

Recovering off the field

Of course, returning to sports is likely to be just one of your goals following slipped disc surgery. Being able to work, study, handle daily responsibilities and enjoy time with friends and family without severe pain are also important.

For many individuals, the recovery process after minimally invasive surgery is shorter and less complicated than it is with a traditional, open back procedure. At Laser Spine Institute, we perform minimally invasive slipped disc surgeries that have shorter recoveries and comparatively low complication rates^ compared to open spine surgery. To find out if you’re a candidate, contact us today.