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Can you deadlift with degenerative disc disease?

If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and deadlifting is an activity you enjoy, you may be wondering if you can continue to deadlift with this spinal condition. First, it helps to understand a little bit about degenerative disc disease. This condition is generally caused by the natural aging process, as the spinal discs wear down over time. These discs are responsible for absorbing impact in the spine and allowing for seamless movements like bending and twisting. As we age, the discs lose some of their water content, shrinking and becoming more brittle, which can result in neck or back pain.

Deadlifting is a challenging exercise that works out many different muscle groups, including the arms, legs, glutes, core and back muscles. When done correctly, a deadlift can strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, helping to protect and support it. However, it is also very easy to place excessive amounts of pressure on the spine and spinal discs when doing a deadlift. Therefore, if you have degenerative disc disease but enjoy deadlifting, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Consult with your physician. As with other physical activities, it is important to consult with your physician before beginning or continuing an exercise following a degenerative disc disease diagnosis. Your physician can help determine if this is an activity you can do safely without worsening your condition.
  • Use proper form. Deadlifting often causes spinal problems due to poor posture or stances that inadvertently place a lot of strain on the spine. You may want to consider having a trainer or other experienced professional help ensure you are keeping the spine safe while deadlifting.
  • Limit the amount of weight you deadlift. While it can be tempting to push your limits, increasing the amount of weight you deadlift can result in improper form that harms the spine.
  • Listen to your body. It is important to pay attention to any pain you may be experiencing and to stop deadlifting if the symptoms of your degenerative disc disease worsen. If deadlifting causes any pain, it may be time to consider other exercises that are safer for the spine.

Low-impact exercise is often an important part of conservative treatment plans for degenerative disc disease. However, if your symptoms do not respond to conservative therapies, you may eventually need to consider surgery. At USA Spine Care, we specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery to treat degenerative disc disease and various other spinal conditions. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures. For more information, contact USA Spine Care today.

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