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Tips for Strengthening Your Core Following a Microdiscectomy


1.20 - How-Do-I-Strengthen-My-Core-After-a-Microdiscectomy

After having any type of spine surgery, it is important to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. This is also the case when having a microdiscectomy, which is the less invasive form of a traditional discectomy. One way to strengthen spine-supporting muscles is to focus on the core muscles, which are the muscles within the center of the body, including the abdominal area. This article offers some tips and suggestions for core strengthening after a microdiscectomy.

Physical Therapy

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your core muscles is to work with the physical therapist who is helping you during your
microdiscectomy recovery. Core-strengthening exercises can easily be incorporated into your regular routine. You can also learn proper form and technique so you can continue to do your exercises at home.

Leg Raises

Leg raises strengthen the core and legs at the same time, which can help to keep the spine and spinal discs properly supported. Simply alternate leg lifts while holding on to a chair or wall for support. Make sure to use opposite legs and arms when performing this exercise to maintain sufficient support. Also, hold the stretch for 10–20 seconds before switching legs.

Press-Up Extensions

Press-up extensions are a gentle core-strengthening exercise that can be beneficial if you are just getting started with exercises of this nature. When performing a press-up extension, rest on your stomach while gently lifting your upper body to your elbows.


Performing bridge exercises can also strengthen the abdominal core muscles. Start by resting on your back while bending your knees. Continue with this exercise by placing your feet on the floor, resting your arms at your sides, and raising your hips while keeping your body properly aligned. A variation on bridges is one-legged bridges performed while holding only one leg off the ground. Another option is to use an exercise ball for your legs.


You can modify planks as you advance and recover from your microdiscectomy. Planks are performed by lying on your stomach and then lifting your body off the ground while supporting your weight on your toes and elbows. Hold the position for as long as you can comfortably do so.


Another gentle way to work the core muscle groups is doing yoga. Yoga moves are performed in a slow, coordinated way. Experiment with various yoga poses to get a more well-rounded workout. However, you should avoid poses that are too demanding or those that involve awkward positions, since you are still recovering from your microdiscectomy. Hot yoga is also worth considering, since the heat promotes circulation in the spine and surrounding tissues.

Water-Based Exercises

If land-based core-strengthening exercises are a bit too demanding after your microdiscectomy, the same exercises can be performed in a pool. You will still be able to work all the necessary muscle groups. The only difference is that there is not as much stress placed on the bones and joints.

Even though a microdiscectomy is a common and generally quite successful form of
back surgery, a hole is frequently left in the outer wall of the disc. In fact, patients with these large holes in their discs are more than twice as likely to reherniate. Reherniations often require additional surgery or even fusions. Fortunately, there is a new treatment specifically designed to close the large holes that are often left in spinal discs after discectomy surgery. Barricaid is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not 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 does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

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

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