Short answer? Yes.
Before you go rushing to the weight room, we need to take a step back.
Even though you can still exercise, play sports, and move in general with a herniated or bulging disc, there are a few precautions and steps you need to take to stop the owie from kicking your butt big time.
First, you need to understand your injury. Know thy enemy and all that.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Your spine consists of small sections of bone called vertebrae. In-between each of these bones is an intervertebral disc.
These guys are there for three reasons.
- Shock absorption
- Allow movement
Oh, and to piss you off when you try to lift something clearly too heavy for you.
A disc bulge or a disc herniation is when one of these fluid-filled discs is injured.
It can either protrude out or rupture, usually causing a restriction on nerves and generating intense pain.
On the other hand, most adults have disc bulges and suffer no effects at all. In general, it’s completely natural.
Many people get MRIs and decide they are done for when it shows herniated or bulging discs.
But if you’ve ever herniated a disc, you know the kind of pain it can trigger.
When I herniated three discs, I could not move at all without intense pain. I mean, really could not move, and if you are in that kind of pain this minute, I sympathize with you. I do understand because it sucks big time.
There Is Light at the End of the Tunnel
It might not seem like it, but there is.
You can come back from herniated discs just as strong if you take the right steps.
It’s all about building back the proper support around your spine and convincing your brain that it is safe and doesn’t need to generate that pain action signal.
There are four essential steps to getting you back in action.
1. Isometric Exercises
- Listen, if you’ve had a backsplosion (going to TM that btw), you need to take a step back and scrape it all down to your training foundations.
- That means learning to tense your muscles again by re-learning to brace your trunk ane support your spine. You are re-educating your brain, confirming that you know what you’re doing, you’re addressing the issue, and most importantly, it’s re-establishing your relationship with gravity.
- Also, by building isometric strength, you are giving your spine the support it needs to move safely and eventually accept a load.
- Proper support means less pressure on your discs.
2. Find Movements and Exercises You Can Do
- It sounds simple.
- But that’s not all. It would be best if you found exercises you can do that replicate the ones you can’t.
- For example, the second exercise in the video is the split stance lunge. This exercise replicates the back squat’s muscular activation, and it won’t leave you in tears the next day trying to get out of bed.
3. Start to Reintroduce Hinge Movements
It would be best if you started re-introducing your trunk and spine back into hinge movements.
Just hinging at the hip could be too much for your spine to take straight off, so you need to find a way to hinge but with consideration for initial weight and movement range.
Next, you need to increase weight gradually.
4. Build control
It would be best if you build control of the spine and the muscles that support it.
If you can’t control and support your spine, you’ll never fully recover from a herniated disc.
Try the all-fours-spinal-wave in the video to start building the control you need to keep moving well.
After all, if you can’t control the car you’re driving, you can’t expect it to stay on the road, can you?
It makes complete sense when it’s laid out, but sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.