I am 30 and I discovered 3 months back that i have a disc herination L4-L5 and L5-S1. I have struggled to accept even the thought of it .I used to be a sports person 7 years back and very ambitios about my carrer . i am off and on on medication and PT.I want to get back to my normal pace of working and being a successful carrer person and also some form of exercises to lose the extra weight i have out on during these last 3 months. Its making me angry and frustrated . Often when i sit at work i feel a popping sound sometimes when i gte up from my chair .
Would look forward to ur advice
Generally the worse thing for a herniated lumbar disc is sitting. Sit less, stand more. Generally walking is recommended for some with low back pain. If walking is symptomatic conciously walk with a shorter stride. If you can run without symptoms do so, it is better to be walking or running than sitting. If walking or running is symptomatic find a bike which allows you to sit with spine in neutral alignment and try biking. Swimming should be a safe and good exercise. Exercise continious, rythmically for long time periods so that you can burn calories and so that you will spend less time sitting. Sit less, and when you do sit sit well with good alignment and good support. Work with you PT to identify the best equiptment (chair, desk monitor, foot stool, ecte) for sitting. Once you have the best sitting equiptment make sure you use it, do not sit on edge of chair away from the back rest, use the back support. Make sure your car seat is appropriate design and fit for you.
Damien Howell PT, DPT, OCS
I agree with the sitting comment. Sitting too much is a problem for all runners.
I will say I was NOT a runner when I herniated a disc myself. For me it is my neck that is a mess. I herniated C-6/C-7 January 2, 2010 just 2 months after my 40th b-day. I know this exact date because it was life changing for me. It not only herniated but it pinched a nerve that caused the worst pain I have EVER felt in my entire life (being a mom who has given birth SIX times without pain meds so I am not a wimp). On top of the actual spot that herniated I had several other areas bulging (near the herniation point), bone spurs and other degeneration issues going on. It was SLOW going for a few months after. I was recommended surgery to fuse the area but in the end I relied on prayer and my body to heal. In late May 2010 I started walking and in June 2010 I started running. I still occasionally get pain from the pinched nerve. It flares up a couple times a year. Now Motrin and ice seem to keep it at bay.
I would highly recommend seeking out PT to learn exercises that can help improve the pain and discomfort not to mention to strengthen up the area especially if there is nerve issues involved.
I am 2.5 years out from my own herniation and I run around 25-35 miles a week depending on what life has going on for me with my kids. I run races and in the shorter 5-10K races i normally place at a decent place within my age group.
I've had 4 herniated discs for the past 25 years. I used to have multiple epidural steroid injections every year to keep it under control. I had severe sciatica for years. The most important thing I've found is that exercise and consistent stretching has allowed me to manage it with no injections for years now. In the past, if I had a flare up, I would be incapacitated for weeks. Now, if I have any pain, it is usually gone in a day or two but I have to keep doing the stretches, even when I feel good. Look for a book called Treat your own Back, you can find it on Amazon. My PT recommended it years ago and the exercises are ones that most PT's recommend. It has been very helpful to me.
Most importantly, unlike age-related degeneration and some forms of arthritis, a disk herniation is a condition that can heal, under the proper conditions. In parallel with what Damien suggests, running is not the only way to stay fit. If your doctor recommends against running, he/she may not only be cautious, but right. If your physician does not approve of you running, make sure at least one physician does before you move back into high-impact exercise.
Regarding weight loss, the current thinking is that diet, and specifically, the timing of your meals and nutrition, are more important than physical activity. There are more theories on diet than we can discuss here, but in a nutshell, you are not likely to need anywhere near the level of carbs you would need for an active, vigorous, athletic lifestyle.
Fats are just as important when you are overweight, as they are when you are skinny. Without balanced, healthy fats in your diet, it is very hard to absorb and distribute vital nutrients or build healthy tissue. The more fat you deny yourself, the more your body will attempt to store. Sometimes, hunger is not an indication that you need more food, but food of a different type. You often don't need food at all. An occasional fast may induce your body to burn more fat as fuel, cause your body to become more efficient, and less dependent on a ready supply of food. The best way to limit the effects of food quantity, is to improve the quality and comprehensive nutrition of your food.
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