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Benefits of Walking for People with Bulging Discs


A bulging disc (which can become a herniated or “ruptured” disc) has the potential to disturb nearby nerves, which can make it difficult to benefit from regular exercise. At the same time, a lack of physical activity altogether isn't good either, since supporting muscle groups can weaken and make a protruding or abnormally placed or shaped disc more bothersome. Walking is a gentle form of exercise that has the potential to be beneficial if you have a bulging or herniated spinal disc. We explain why below.

Strengthens Spine-Supporting Muscles

Walking isn't too strenuous, which is one reason it tends to be beneficial even with a bulging disc. At the same time, the motions involved still provide enough stimulation to strengthen the muscles that provide some degree of support to the spine. What this does is ease direct stress on the bulging disc and other spinal discs, which could make it easier to manage your discomfort, including
lower back pain.

Nourishes Spinal Discs

Putting one foot in front of the other increases circulation. A boost in blood flow also brings beneficial nutrients to the spine's discs. In addition to delivering nutrients to the soft tissues around the bulging disc, increased circulation removes toxins from those same tissues.

Improves Posture & Range of Motion

Regular walking has the potential to improve your posture. This eases excess pressure on your bulging disc and provides an added incentive to make other efforts to improve your posture. Also, walking provides enough of a gentle stretch to help with range of motion and flexibility. Increase your likelihood of seeing posture improvements as you walk by paying attention to your movements and motions as you walk. A proper walking posture involves:

• Gently stretching and lengthening your spine
• Keeping your head up and your shoulders back
• Naturally swinging your arms

Strengthens Spinal Bones & Joints

Walking on a regular basis plays a role in preventing conditions like osteoporosis that can weaken spinal bones and joints. This is beneficial if you have a bulging disc, since it minimizes your risk of having additional discomfort from spinal fractures. Stronger spinal bones and joints are also less susceptible to bone density loss.

Contributes to Weight Loss

Any type of regular exercise has the potential to help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. This is good for your spine and the affected disc, too. Being within a healthy weight range naturally reduces stress on various spine-supporting parts and lowers the risk of additional disc damage.

Other Disc-Friendly Forms of Exercises to Consider

Walking isn't the only form of exercise that can be good for spinal discs causing you some discomfort during your daily routine. Others include:

• Yoga, since the moves are slow and controlled
• Stationary bicycling
• Low-impact workouts
• Water-based aerobics and/or swimming

Exercises/Activities to Avoid

While walking and other low-impact forms of exercise are generally good and safe if you have a
bulging disc, some activities and exercises are best avoided. These include:

• Contact sports
• Strenuous workouts
• Running and jogging
• Off-road biking

If you have a bulging or herniated disc that isn't responding to conservative treatment, a discectomy may be the best option. Although this is generally a very successful procedure, having a large hole in the outer ring of the disc more than doubles the risk of needing another operation. A new treatment, Barricaid, is a bone-anchored device that closes this hole, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and doesn’t require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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