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What Is the Best Cardio after Microdiscectomy Surgery?


11.17 - Whats the Best Cardio after Microdiscectomy Surgery-min

Optimal Cardio Choices Following Microdiscectomy 

Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that removes a small portion of a herniated disc in the back to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve and reduce back and leg pain. This surgery is usually effective in alleviating symptoms, but it also requires a careful recovery process to avoid complications and promote healing. 

One of the most important aspects of microdiscectomy recovery is exercise, especially cardio exercise. However, not all cardio exercises are suitable for microdiscectomy patients, and some may even cause harm or delay recovery. This article will discuss the best cardio exercises after microdiscectomy surgery, when to start them, and how to do them safely.

Why Is Cardio Important? 

Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits for your health, especially after spinal surgery. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improving blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the tissues, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation
  • Strengthening the heart and lungs, which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Boosting mood and energy levels, which can help you cope with stress and depression
  • Maintaining or losing weight, which can reduce pressure on the spine and prevent further disc problem

Risks of Cardio after Microdiscectomy Surgery

While cardio is beneficial for your health, it can also pose some risks after microdiscectomy surgery. Some of these risks include:

  • Aggravating the nerve root or causing scar tissue formation, which can lead to recurrent or new symptoms
  • Overloading the spine or causing excessive motion, which can compromise the stability and alignment of the spine
  • Increasing pain or inflammation, which can delay healing and recovery

The Best Cardio Post-Surgery Exercises

The best cardio exercises after microdiscectomy surgery are those that are low-impact, gentle, and do not involve bending, twisting, or lifting. These exercises should not cause pain or discomfort in the lower back or leg, and they should be done at a moderate intensity and duration. Some examples of these exercises are:

  • Walking – Walking is one of the simplest and most beneficial cardio exercises after microdiscectomy surgery. It can improve overall fitness, keep muscles flexible, and prevent blood clots. Walking is encouraged as a way to get moving as soon as possible after microdiscectomy surgery. Typically, patients are advised to begin with short walks and gradually work up to a few miles. When walking shortly after surgery, it is important to stay on flat surfaces rather than sloped or uneven ground. Some patients may prefer to use walkers or canes if balance is an issue. 
  • Cycling – Cycling is another low-impact cardio exercise that can strengthen leg muscles and boost cardiovascular health. You can use a stationary bike or an outdoor bike, depending on your preference and comfort level. Cycling should be done at a comfortable pace and resistance level, and the seat height should be adjusted to avoid excessive bending of the knee or hip. You can start cycling about 2 to 4 weeks after microdiscectomy surgery, depending on your surgeon’s recommendation.
  • Elliptical training – An elliptical trainer is a versatile piece of equipment that offers a smooth, low-impact cardio workout. It engages both the upper and lower body, making it a great choice for improving cardiovascular fitness while protecting the spine.
  • Swimming – Swimming is a great cardio exercise that can work the whole body without putting stress on the spine or joints. Swimming can reduce pain, inflammation, spasm, and stiffness caused by sciatica, and it can also increase blood circulation, muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. You can swim in a pool or a natural body of water, as long as the water is clean and safe, and you can start about 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery, once the incision site is fully healed. 
  • Water aerobics – Water aerobics can be an enjoyable way to get your heart rate up without straining your spine. The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on the joints, making it a safe and effective option for post-surgery cardio.

Exercises to Avoid 

While there are many safe cardio options after microdiscectomy surgery, it is equally important to steer clear of activities that can exacerbate your condition or hinder the healing process. Here are some exercises to avoid:

  • High-impact exercises like running or jumping
  • Exercises that involve twisting or bending at the waist
  • Heavy weightlifting or activities that put excessive pressure on the back

When to Start Cardio 

The timing of starting cardio exercises after microdiscectomy surgery depends on several factors, such as the type and severity of the surgery, the healing process of the patient, and the surgeon’s instructions. Generally, walking can be started within a few hours or days after microdiscectomy surgery, as tolerated by the patient. Other cardio exercises, such as cycling or swimming, may require more time to start, usually between 2 to 6 weeks after microdiscectomy surgery. It is important to consult with the surgeon before starting any cardio exercise after microdiscectomy surgery and to follow his or her guidelines regarding activity restrictions and precautions.

How to Do Cardio Exercises Safely 

To do cardio exercises safely after microdiscectomy surgery, it is important to follow some general tips and precautions:

  • Warm up and cool down – Before starting any cardio exercise, make sure to warm up for at least 5 minutes with some light movements or gentle stretches, such as sciatica stretches. This prepares the muscles and joints for more vigorous activity and prevents injuries. Similarly, after finishing any cardio exercise, you should cool down for at least 5 minutes with some gentle stretches or easy movements to relax the muscles and joints and prevent stiffness.
  • Listen to your body – While doing any cardio exercise, listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of pain, discomfort, or fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop the exercise immediately and rest. You should also avoid any movements or positions that cause or worsen your symptoms, such as bending, twisting, or lifting. Report any changes in your symptoms to your surgeon or physical therapist.
  • Start slowly and progress gradually – When starting any cardio exercise, start slowly and advance at a measured pace. You should not overdo it or push yourself beyond your limits. Start with low-intensity exercise for short periods and steadily increase the time as you feel more comfortable and confident. You should also vary your exercises and avoid doing the same exercise every day to prevent boredom and injuries due to overuse.
  • Use proper equipment and technique – When doing any cardio exercise, it is important to use the right equipment and technique. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes and clothing, and use appropriate equipment for your exercise, such as a walker, a cane, a bike, or a pool. Avoid any movements or positions that put stress on your spine or joints, and follow the instructions and guidance of your surgeon or physical therapist regarding how to do your exercise correctly and safely.

Choosing the right cardio exercises after microdiscectomy surgery is a crucial step in your recovery journey. Low-impact activities offer excellent cardiovascular benefits while minimizing the risk of spinal strain. By following these precautions and guidelines, you can regain your fitness and enjoy a healthy lifestyle without compromising your post-surgery healing process. Always consult with your healthcare provider to ensure you make the best choices for your specific situation.

Even though microdiscectomy surgery is a common and generally quite successful procedure, 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 reinjure themselves by having what is known as a reherniation. These 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-anchoreddevice 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 isperformed 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 844-705-1081.

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