If you’re a runner, degenerative disc disease can make it difficult to maintain the regimen necessary to stay in shape for races. While running is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, it’s also a strenuous activity that can place added pressure on discs due to the repetitive motions involved, so some precautions are necessary to reduce the risk of being sidelined from pain.
Combine Running with Other Activities
Spine surgeons in Los Angeles recommend mixing in some less-strenuous forms of exercise into your regular routine instead of running every day. Some alternatives to running, such as yoga, can also help reduce stress and improve flexibility, which may further reduce back pain on the days you do run. Low-impact activities also include:
- Water aerobics
- Elliptical workouts
Rest Between Races
You don’t want to stay in bed too much with back pain since bed rest can lead to weakened muscles. It is, however, a good idea to take a break between races, especially if you’re a competitive runner, to allow back muscles time to recover.
Get Enough Sleep
Your body has a remarkable ability to rejuvenate itself. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, especially if you have a marathon coming up. Generally, 7-8 hours of productive sleep each night will do the trick.
Avoid sugary and salty snacks, refined grains, and tropical fruits if you want to reduce the inflammation that can aggravate DDD. Instead, opt for a healthy diet that includes green, leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties, including:
- Fish rich in omega-3s, such as salmon
- Berries, especially blueberries
Whether you’re stepping up your practice for an event or just running for your own personal satisfaction, drink plenty of water. A lack of proper hydration can increase pain from damaged discs.
While degenerative disc disease is a progressive condition, the pain doesn’t usually get worse. In fact, you many end up feeling better in time, or reach a point where the condition can be managed. As far as running goes, check with a board-certified back doctor or a physical therapist to further determine a regimen likely to minimize your discomfort.
If you would like to learn more about treating degenerative disc disease through artificial disc replacement or by other means, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at (310) 828-7757 and schedule a consultation today.