Herniated Cervical Disk: Staying Safe during Workouts
Exercise can be a great way to prevent injuries from reoccurring. But people who suffer from a herniated cervical disk should also take certain precautionary measures during their workouts. In our post today, we have some recommendations to share with you.
Intervertebral disks soften impact and help the spine to move. These flat, round cushions separate each vertebra. In their center is the soft, gelatinous nucleus pulposus. Meanwhile, their outer layer, the annulus fibrosus, is hard and fibrous.
What are herniated disks?
When these disks deteriorate or fall out of place, hernias occur. A person who suffers a herniated disk will notice neck and arm pain and will need to seek medical treatment, which doesn’t always mean surgery.
The compression that falls on the nearby nerves and the resulting physical limitations determine the seriousness of a case. Other symptoms include tingling or lack of strength.
The fibrous ring begins to deteriorate from the age of 25 and generally affects people under 50. Risk factors include weak muscles, obesity, genetics, tobacco use, and sedentary lifestyles.
In addition, jobs that require heavy lifting are also a risk factor along with the lack of exercise or incorrectly exercising. Lastly, poor posture can also have a big impact.
Is it a herniated cervical or lumbar disk? Is there pain or no pain?
Herniated disks can be cervical or lumbar; the latter is more often the problem because the lower back is an area that deals with greater pressure. However, cervical disk cases have been increasing as a result of today’s lifestyles that employ new technologies.
In some cases, patients suffer pain, which causes them to stop their workouts until their conditions improve. In others, patients discover their herniated disk without having experienced pain or any physical difficulty. But a medical evaluation is crucial for both cases.
Herniated disks require some rest but not stopping all physical activity. Actually, exercising is one of the best ways to relieve pain. By seeing exercise as a part of rehabilitation, which will also reduce the risk of problems returning, staying active is really a necessary measure.
Physical therapy aims to improve flexibility and endurance. Physical therapy programs focus on stretches to improve flexibility and strengthen specific muscles. Programs also include aerobic exercises to work on endurance and improve blood circulation.
Understanding which areas to focus on during sessions comes first and foremost. You should work to strengthen your neck, back, glutes and abdominal muscles that help move the disks. Meanwhile, you should avoid exercises that require you to bend your core, such as classic sit-ups.
Herniated cervical disk: how frequently should you exercise?
How often you exercise is also an important factor to consider. Exercising these specific areas three hours a week is ideal. By keeping the total to three hours, you’ll allow your muscles to recover without overworking the affected area.
Feel free to do aerobic exercise daily as long as it doesn’t impact the herniated disk. Indoor cycling, swimming or walking are all aerobic exercises that don’t seriously affect the spine.
If you notice any pain, hold off on all physical activity until you feel better. Barbell squats are out of the question because the exercise puts the weight on your spine. In addition, make sure you stretch carefully.
Keeping the correct posture is also extremely important. You should keep your back straight or in a comfortable position during your exercises. Similarly, try to keep good posture every day as well as making sure you stay healthy and safe from possible injuries.
Other tips for everyday life
Patients that suffer from a herniated cervical disk should sleep on their backs with a pillow rolled up underneath their necks. Or, they can sleep on their sides with a pillow in between their legs. But they should never sleep on their stomachs.
If you have to stand for a long time, try to distribute your weight evenly on to both feet. When you walk, keep your back straight, head up and shoulders pushed back. In addition, when you drive, drive with both hands on the steering wheel and adjust your seat so that your feet effortlessly reach the pedals.
Furthermore, women should reserve high heels for special occasions only. As for lifting weights, bend your knees and don’t lean your back or create more pressure with it.
If you follow our tips during your workouts, your herniated cervical disk will become better in no time. Remember, if you want to live comfortably, you’ll have to become used to keeping good posture and avoiding unnecessary pressure on your back.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Sociedad Española de Neurología. Hernia discal cervical. Extraído de: https://senec.es/descargas/informacion-paciente/TRIPTICO_HERNIA_DISCAL_CERVICAL.pdf
- Congreso Nacional SETLA. 2014. Hernia discal cervical. Extraído de: https://www.mc-mutual.com/documents/20143/94587/35_Hernia_cervical_es/2dd3a0ce-438f-a887-6492-38a41ba37982