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Herniated Disc in Weightlifting

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A herniated disc, often called a slipped or bulging disc, is the rupture of an intervertebral disc in your spine. Once it bulges, it presses on your spinal nerves, causing great pain in your back, neck, arms, and/or legs. So, lifting weights on a herniated disc could be a challenge.

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Gentle exercises, stretches, and activities can all help relieve the pain of a herniated disk. Exercises can also strengthen and improve flexibility in the spine, neck, and back

A herniated disk, or a slipped or ruptured disk, occurs when some of the soft jelly in the center of the disk slips out past the tough exterior. People with a herniated disk do not usually need surgery. Doctors often recommend physiotherapy to treat the symptoms of a herniated disk. Any disk in the spine can become herniated, including the neck, but it most commonly occurs in the lower back. Different exercises can help depending on where the herniated disk is. Exercises and physiotherapy are often important parts of recovery from a herniated disk. A doctor will usually recommend a few days of rest after experiencing a herniated disk. Doing gentle activities and exercises will strengthen the muscles that support the spine and reduce pressure on the spinal column. They will also promote flexibility in the spine and may help reduce the risk of a herniated disk from recurring.

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Fundamental to the understanding of intervention for a multitude of low back pathologies is the understanding of the anatomy of the intervertebral disc and vertebral endplates of the lumbar vertebral bodies. Although a thorough discussion of anatomy and biomechanics of the lumbar spine is beyond the intent of this clinical commentary, a short refresher is important. Lumbar spine anatomy has been described comprehensively by a number of authors (Gray G, 2012). Thorough descriptions and depictions of anatomical relationships that exist in the lumbar spine can be accessed in textbooks such as Gray's Anatomy, ( Bogduk N, 2005) and the authors defer those detailed anatomical descriptions to other sources

Instead, the intent of the current review is to describe relevant anatomy from a clinical perspective. It is important that the reader be able to apply fundamental anatomic and biomechanical information to the selection of any intervention for the lumbar spine. A brief overview of the intervertebral disc and body articulations will be presented in order to provide a basis for the premise of healing of the HLD.

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As can be seen, although exercising with a herniated disc certainly poses some challenges for those seeking to stay in shape, with a little creativity and adjustment, you can safely continue your workout routine

You just have to put effort into having a purposeful rehabilitation program that will heal you effectively and quickly, allowing you to participate fully in the activities that make you who you are.

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Hsu WK, McCarthy KJ, Savage JW, et al. The professional athlete spine initiative: Outcomes after lumbar disc herniation in 342 elite professional athletes. Spine J. 2011;11(3):180–186.

Gray G. Gray institute. Gray Institute Web site.

Bogduk N. Clinical anatomy of the lumbar spine and sacrum. 4th ed. New York: Elsevier; 2005

Calliet R. Low back pain syndrome. 4th ed. Philadelphia: A. Davis; 1989

McGill S. Low back disorders: Evidence‐based prevention and rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2007

Gray's anatomy. 37th ed. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1989

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