Hernia usually appears between 30 and 50. It is estimated that 3% of women and 5% of men suffer from herniated disc. The most common symptom of hernia is sciatica, which is an intense pain in the lower back, buttocks and along the leg, sometimes causing difficulties in walking.
What is the cause of hernia? The intervertebral discs, which are like small "cushions" located between the vertebrae of the spine, act as shock absorbers and aim to protect the spine from shocks. With age, because of an abrupt effort in a bad position or the wearing of a heavy load, or in case of obesity, these discs can be damaged and cause pain, that is what a hernia or a herniated disc is.
Hernia is not a fatality! It is possible and even strongly recommended to act against it. Indeed, if you suffer from a herniated disc and do not change your (bad) habits, which are often the cause of your back problems, your back pain will very likely reappear sooner or later. So what should you do to prevent hernia and back pain?
Back problems as well as pain caused by hernia (sciatica) can be recurring and come back if nothing is done against it! For this reason, it is important to have a good position of your back in everyday life and to muscle your back in order to relieve your spine in a durable way.
- Avoid bad postures! Keep your back straight and shoulders back. Get used to never bending forward when you bend down. Bend your knees and not your back!
- Do not sit too long. The spine experiences a 40% higher pressure when seating than when we are standing. When sitting, maintain a good posture of your back: well seated in your chair, seat at the correct height, keep your back straight and do not bend forward.
- Once the pain disappears, with the agreement of your doctor, you will be able to resume a physical activity that will strengthen your back, abdominal and leg muscles: swimming (backstroke), active walking and exercise bike. It is important to resume sports smoothly and gradually after suffering from a herniated disc. Regular physical activity allows you to strengthen your muscles (abdominal and back) and is the best sustainable prevention against back problems!
- Finally, losing a few pounds can only be beneficial because overweight is one of the causes of herniated disc.
Sports that involve identical, controlled and smooth movements, such as the exercise bike, nordic walking or swimming, especially backstroke, are strongly advised and particularly beneficial for the back. The stationary bike is preferable to road biking which involves vibrations and possible jerks.
You should however make sure to have the right position on your exercise bike! Keep your back straight, the saddle at the right level so that your knees are slightly bent when the pedal is at the bottom and hands well resting on the handlebars. Do not bend your back when leaning forward!
Especially in the first months, when you suffer from a herniated disc, you should avoid collective sports such as tennis or soccer that can cause sudden movements of the back and urge the spine. Also physical activities that require wearing heavy loads such as body building or weightlifting should be avoided.
Is the elliptical bike advisable? The elliptical bike is not recommended because it forces you to bend forward and slightly twist your spine due to the alternate arm movements, which could increase your herniated disc. This is therefore not ideal for your back! Instead, prefer the stationary bike.
Back problems are often recurrent and tend to increase with age. Back pain is more common among people who do not exercise or have little physical activity and also among those who have to carry heavy objects on a daily basis.
Regular physical activity and sports will strengthen your back muscles and permanently relieve your hernia, sciatica and back pain!
N.B. The information contained in this article should not be used as a substitute for a medical consultation with a health professional. The problems of back, sciatica and herniated discs are complex and can vary from one individual to another.
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