Living an Active Life With a Herniated Disk

8 Feb, 2022

Herniated discs are extremely common; StatPearlsPublishing reports rates of around 5-20 cases per 1000 adults per year, mostly in the third to fifth decade of life. Although some people with herniated discs experience mild symptoms and a fairly short recovery period, most have to deal with consistent pain and irritation. Read on to learn more about how to lead an active life with a herniated disc and some tips to prevent the pain from flaring up.

How To Minimize Discomfort With A Herniated Disc

While bulging discs are not totally preventable, there are certain lifestyle changes you can implement to help prevent a bulging disc from worsening.

  • Appropriate physical activity: Your spine can weaken without regular physical activity. A lack of regular physical activity can cause your discs to weaken, dehydrate, and bulge. Even incorporating light walks into your day can make a difference if exercising isn’t already part of your lifestyle. Strength exercises like lifting weights and practices like yoga and Pilates help enhance overall mobility.
  • Rest well and often: Your body requires an adequate amount of sleep to properly function. A solid eight to ten hours of sleep is recommended for maintaining healthy hormone levels and to give your body enough time to heal following a strenuous day of physical activity. 
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet: Avoid foods with inflammatory properties that can weaken spinal vertebrae and discs like foods with excess sugar, trans-fats, and refined carbohydrates. Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in your life like leafy green vegetables, olive oil, tomatoes, and fatty fish.

Strengthen Your Lower Back To Prevent Re-Herniating 

If you have a recurrent disc herniation, then the benefits of exercise cannot be emphasized enough. While it may seem a bit counterintuitive- how can motion and effort not aggravate your herniated disc?- BJM Open examined how motor-control therapy can be effective for strengthening the lower back and avoiding re-herniated discs. Control of the spine is complicated and depends on deep-trunk musculature, which helps to maintain the stiffness of the spine. Essentially, carefully controlled exercise can help to stabilize your spine by strengthening your lower back. While you should consult with your doctor or physical therapist regarding which exercises are best for mobility without aggravating your injury, you should try incorporating an appropriate exercise regimen for patients with spinal problems.

What To Avoid To Prevent A Flare-Up

Here are some things to avoid to prevent your herniated disc from getting worse or re-herniating it again:

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, and always lift with correct form
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach
  • Maintain proper posture; don’t hunch your back, as it places additional pressure on your discs
  • Go for orthopedic shoes rather than heels
  • Don’t smoke

Contact Us Today

Although you can never completely guarantee that your life won’t be impacted by a bulging disc, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life and continue leading an active life. If you have a serious spine injury, you should seek professional treatment in order to have a complete recovery. The Spine and Scoliosis Center is a top Florida spinal clinic specializing in minimally invasive spinal surgery, herniated disc repair, and disc replacement to help you get out of pain. Call the Spine and Scoliosis Center to schedule an appointment today. 


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