What Things You Shouldn't Do with a Herniated Disc in Los Angeles, CA

Having a herniated disc doesn’t always mean surgery is in your immediate future. It’s actually fairly common for discomfort related to a damaged disc to gradually subside within a few weeks or so after you start to experience symptoms, as long as the resulting nerve compression isn’t severe. If your Santa Monica spine surgeon has recommended conservative methods instead of surgery to treat your herniated disc, it can be helpful to avoid the six activities mentioned below.

1. Sitting for a Prolonged Period

Avoid overstressing a damaged disc in your lower back area by making an effort to change positions when you’re sitting, and try to get up and move around as much as possible. When you do sit, minimize stress on your lower back by:

• Sitting against the chair with your shoulders back
• Positioning your thighs so your hips aren’t lower than your knees
• Supporting your lower back with a rolled-up towel or a lumbar support pillow
• Using your phone to set up reminders so you’ll know when to take a break to get up and stretch

If possible, consider using a sit/stand desk if you need to use a computer throughout your workday. This way, you can periodically go from a sitting to a standing position.

2. Doing Laundry

Bending down to pick up a basket and reaching for various items are just some of the movements associated with doing laundry that can aggravate a herniated disc. Reduce this problem by asking family members or friends to lend a hand with laundry-related tasks for a while until your disc pain subsides.

3. Vacuuming and Mopping

The repetitive motions associated with vacuuming and mopping can easily place too much stress on the affected part of your spine. Instead of extending your arms and leaning forward excessively when doing either of these tasks, make an effort to keep your back straight, and use your legs more than your arms.

4. Caring for a Pet

From bending down to fill water and food bowls to going on daily walks that could involve being tugged forward on a leash, caring for a pet can be surprisingly stressful on the spine. Possible solutions to consider as your herniated disc becomes less painful include:

  • Using a reaching aid to pick up bowls
  • Using specially designed pet bowls that don’t require bending
  • Extending one leg as you bend to ease lower back stress
  • Asking a friend or neighbor to take your pet for daily walks, especially if your pet is larger and difficult to handle

5. Performing Strenuous Exercises

Walking, stationary cycling, and water-based activities such as swimming and aqua therapy are forms of exercise considered perfectly fine if you have a herniated disc. In fact, these types of workouts are good because they strengthen the muscles that support the spine, taking pressure directly off the spine and its discs.

What you’ll want to avoid is strenuous forms of exercise that can do more harm than good. Examples include:

  • Repetitive activities such as running or jumping rope
  • Leg presses, squats, and similar exercises that overload the lower back
  • Anything else that can place too much strain on your spine, such as sit-ups, toe touches, and certain yoga poses

6. Gardening

Lugging around a heavy bag of fertilizer or mulch is just one of the actions associated with gardening that can make disc pain worse. Motions that involve bending forward or twisting won’t do your spine any favors either. When gardening, vary your posture and try to stick to simple tasks such as watering the plants.

If you suspect you may have a herniated disc, see a spine specialist as soon as possible for prompt diagnosis. The industry-leading physicians at The Spine Institute have vast experience in every type of spine treatment, including total disc replacement. Santa Monica residents who need information about herniated discs or have any other concerns about their spinal health should contact the caring professionals at The Spine Institute at 310-828-7757 and schedule an appointment today.