Spinal discs are an important part of the spinal anatomy. When functioning correctly, they cushion the other elements of the spine against impacts and help our bodies bend and twist with ease. However, as we age and subject our spine to daily wear and tear, spinal discs can lose elasticity and become more prone to bulges, tears and collapses when they are placed under pressure. When a disc bulges or tears, its gelatinous inner contents push against one side of the disc wall until it becomes damaged. In the case of a disc collapse, the extreme pressure the disc is subjected to causes the entire disc to flatten. Collapsed disc treatment may become necessary if the space available for nerves to pass through the spine is reduced and nerve compression results. If the loss of disc height also allows vertebrae to rub against one another, bone spurs could form and also cause nerve compression.
Exercising with a collapsed disc
A damaged spinal disc can result in painful symptoms that may affect your enjoyment of daily life, so it’s wise to see a physician so you can discuss your collapsed disc treatment options. The goal of treatment will be to reduce your pain and inflammation while strengthening the muscles that support the spine, so it’s likely that exercise will be an important part of your regimen. While you should consult your doctor before attempting any form of exercise, here are four specific exercises you should avoid, as they may do more harm than good:
- Leg lifts. If strengthening your core is the goal, there are plenty of options, such as planks, that will do the job without putting undue strain on your spine.
- Sit-ups. The bending involved in sit-ups can aggravate a collapsed disc, especially one located in the lower back area.
- Running. Cardio is important, but the impact of running can easily aggravate a disc injury. Consider swimming or using an elliptical machine instead.
- Overhead weightlifting. Lifting overhead can increase the compression of a collapsed disc. There are numerous lifting exercises that will apply less pressure to the spine.
If a collapsed disc has decreased your quality of life and your symptoms haven’t responded to conservative collapsed disc treatment methods, you can receive a free MRI review* at USA Spine Care to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures can treat a wide variety of degenerative spinal conditions, and are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery.^
Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more.
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