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Recommended Exercises for Patients Following Microdiscectomy Surgery


10.14 - What-Exercises-Should-You-Do-After-a-Microdiscectomy

It is important to strengthen spinal muscles following a microdiscectomy. Post-operative exercise also benefits patients by increasing the production of hormones that naturally relieve pain, which minimizes reliance on post-surgery medication. This article discusses some of the specific exercises that are generally recommended for patients following spinal disc surgery.


One ideal post-microdiscectomy exercise is walking, since it can be done at any pace that is comfortable for you. Stick with smooth surfaces as much as possible. You may also want to gradually increase your pace as you heal and recover.


Generally, riding a bike following a microdiscectomy is acceptable. However, you should still be careful with how you position yourself on the bike. A safer alternative is a recumbent bike. This is a type of bicycle you ride in a laid-back reclining position, which is better for your healing spine and the affected disc.


Yoga is beneficial for many microdiscectomy patients because it provides a sufficient workout by targeting all the key muscle groups, including the ones that support your spine. It is also a form of exercise that boosts circulation, which is good for post-surgery healing as well.

Yoga is generally considered safe, since the motions are slow and controlled, but be careful with the poses you opt to do. In many instances, there are ways to modify poses so you are not overstretching your spine. 

Swimming and Other Water-Based Exercises

Exercises performed in water tend to be beneficial for microdiscectomy patients due to the natural buoyancy of water. This makes it easier to stimulate key muscle groups without too much extra stress and strain. However, you will still be sufficiently stimulating muscles and soft tissues when swimming. Plus, if you opt to swim or perform other water-based exercises in a heated pool, you can receive extra therapeutic benefits.


As you recover, stretching areas around your spine can be beneficial by increasing mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. Focus on stretches that support and strengthen muscles around the surgery area. 

If you had a lumbar microdiscectomy, hamstring stretches and sciatica stretches can be beneficial. If you have difficulty doing traditional versions of these stretches, you can always try to do them while seated or lying on the floor. 

Taking Proper Precautions

Exercise following a microdiscectomy is definitely important and beneficial. However, it is equally important to take precautions so you do not reinjure what remains of the disc. Find a happy medium between exercise and safety as you recover from your microdiscectomy by:

• Maintaining proper form, balance, and posture as you exercise
• Taking breaks so you are not overstressing your spine
• Drinking plenty of water so your spinal discs stay hydrated
• Seeing your doctor if you experience an increase in discomfort

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-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 performed 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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