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Old 06-08-2007, 06:40 AM   #1
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Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

I've had mild buttock/hip pain for about three months and just had an MRI which shows an L-5/S-1 herniation. I was fairly atheletic and worked out 4-5 times per week before the pain started (triggered by either running or a strength training gym class).

I spent about 6 weeks doing no exercise, then started physical therapy (been 6 weeks), and started gradually working out again about 3 weeks ago. Realistically, none of these have seemed to impact the pain level (3 on a scale of 10).

I started running again last week and have done three runs in the past week ranging from 3-4 miles and still no real change.

Does anyone know if I can actually be causing any damage to the spine, even if the pain doesn't seem to be increasing? I've read that research has shown that 25%-40% of people WITHOUT backpain in their 30s may have herniations of some degree and not am still not convinced that this is what is causing the pain (my current theory is TMS (see other threads) as the only time the pain has gone away is when I was on vacation).

My general thought is if it isn't aggravating the existing pain level than its probably not doing any damage, but I'd be curious if anyone has any further information/thoughts.

Thanks

 
Old 06-08-2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwolken View Post
I've had mild buttock/hip pain for about three months and just had an MRI which shows an L-5/S-1 herniation. I was fairly atheletic and worked out 4-5 times per week before the pain started (triggered by either running or a strength training gym class).

I spent about 6 weeks doing no exercise, then started physical therapy (been 6 weeks), and started gradually working out again about 3 weeks ago. Realistically, none of these have seemed to impact the pain level (3 on a scale of 10).

I started running again last week and have done three runs in the past week ranging from 3-4 miles and still no real change.

Does anyone know if I can actually be causing any damage to the spine, even if the pain doesn't seem to be increasing? I've read that research has shown that 25%-40% of people WITHOUT backpain in their 30s may have herniations of some degree and not am still not convinced that this is what is causing the pain (my current theory is TMS (see other threads) as the only time the pain has gone away is when I was on vacation).

My general thought is if it isn't aggravating the existing pain level than its probably not doing any damage, but I'd be curious if anyone has any further information/thoughts.

Thanks
I like you was very active, enjoyed running while hiking. I even stubbornly did it while I had a large herniation. It didn't hurt so much while I was being active, but the moment I sat after I was done, the pain was unreal. Jogging/Running is not good for your back, period. Especially, if you have an injury. I would ask your Doctor though, just to be safe. All of my doctors said it was a no-no.

 
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Old 06-08-2007, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

What running??? This is not a good idea even if you don't have back problems - but with herniated disc... You are pushing your luck :-)

Seriosly, you would defenately consult with my Doctor. Herniated disc is not something you whant to ignore.
Good luck to you!

 
Old 06-08-2007, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

I'm new to the board and have a very similar scenario to what you've described above. I am an active male in my early thirties. I was working out at least five days a week and started experiencing lumbar, buttocks, and some mild hip pain about 15 months ago. I would say it was a 3-4 all days and a 5-6 pain a couple days a week. I have been able to control it b/c i'm lucky in that i work for myself and can get up from the computer frequently. Been through the MRI, Bone Scan, Injection (X3), chiropractor, inversion table, physical therapy, massage, and mutliple dr's thing and still don't have a conclusive diagnosis. Nothing has helped except Lortabs on the days the pain is severe. My only real discomfort comes with sitting (car is the worst) and laying flat on my back. Activity does not seem to effect the pain. I now have a discogram scheduled for July 9th. My doctor is convinced it is the bulging on the MRI in L5/S1 that is causing the symptoms. I'm not so sure. I don't even know what they'll do with discogram results since i'm far from living in misery. By that I mean I don't feel like I would be a candidate for any surgical procerdure at this point. The worst part about this thing is all the things I've still had to give up in my daily life to control the pain. Sucks at 30years old! These boards make me realize how lucky I am though b/c many people on here are far worse than me.

Sorry to ramble.
John.

 
Old 06-08-2007, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

I too am in my mid thirties with a couple of bad disks (degenerative bulges, annular tear, dehydration). I use to do alot of high impact activities including alot of fitness running and have been advised and read alot of research indicating that running and other higher impact activities that require cutting, sudden weight shifts etc..(Raquettball, Basketball) are NOT a good idea. Given that we are in our mid thirties, we have to try and save those disks as long as we can. I have made some great adjustments in my physical activities. I do alot of core, yoga, elliptical and true stairmaster (not the silly one but the one with real stairs) and have substituted running and raquettball with cycling. Don't think of it as something you can't do but an opportunity to try other things. I was never the yoga or pilates type but have found them to be very challenging and enlightening. You might also try swimming. That is next on my list. But whatever you do, try to stay active if your pain level permits. Those disks still need to move and stay alot more healthy with increased blood flow.

 
Old 06-08-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Years ago I used to run and greatly enjoyed it.
I was training to run a marathon in San Francisco called the "bay to breakers" race.
The constant pounding to the discs finally caught up to me and I could not run anymore.

Running is harsh on a healthy back, more so on a back that has issues.

Swimming has been highly recommended to me also.

 
Old 06-12-2007, 12:39 PM   #7
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hwolken HB User
Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Hi John,
I'd be interested in hearing about the results of your discogram and if they determine it really is the herniated disk causing the pain. I'm in my mid thirties also, have been running for 10 years (including a marathon) and have never had back problems in my life. My back still doesn't hurt--its mostly in the area from the back/side of my butt up through the top of my hip. And it doesn't seem to change whether I'm sitting, standing or lying. My doctor said its referred pain but after 6 weeks of back exercises in PT with no change, I'm not convinced. I'm also beginning to wonder if it might be something more along the lines of a sacroilliac tendon issue.

Thanks to the rest of the posters for advice/suggestions/comments. I am mixing it up with other lower impact sports, but for the first week wanted to see if there was any change when I went back to what used to be more of a "normal" lifestyle for me.

 
Old 05-27-2008, 05:39 AM   #8
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Misery loves company.
I too am a victim of a disc herniation. Mine is at L4-5. MRI did not show a large disc however.
I am a serious Masters sprinter (age 48) ranked in the US in a few events. While working out on a ham-glute bench, I must have loaded my back too much. The next day I could hardly walk due to the pain in my left buttock and the lower left back just above that. The pain subsided with Ibuprofen and rest to the point that I can walk and sleep pain free. That may be fine for some people but I obviously want to compete again one day. I tried jogging but the pain ramps up very quickly and I have to stop. Very disappointing. I haven't gone the route of physical therapy or steroid injections yet, and from reading about people who have without much success, I am somewhat skeptical they will do much more than simply resting, doing some light stretching, and walking.
I too wonder if grimacing thru some jogging will do any damage or not.
Here's hoping we all get better real quick!!!

 
Old 05-27-2008, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

I am 51 and used to run till about 49. I always crossed trained. I have disc problems and have stopped running completely. It is hard but necessary. When I see others running, I miss it a lot. I do back exercises every morning, walk and lift some weights now.

 
Old 05-27-2008, 04:21 PM   #10
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Hi, from what i've read, standing (and sitting) put the most pressure on the spine. And jogging puts even more stress on the joints..I'm not a doctor, but I think you should probably avoid any jogging right now..and keep focusing on really strengthening your core muscles (in abs and back). However, just b/c you strenghten those muscles, doesn't mean your back problem will just go away. Some people do everything right, but yet, for example, a disc herniation never resolves itself and has them in pain all the time.

 
Old 03-12-2012, 06:38 AM   #11
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Re: Any danger in running/exercise with herniated disc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by riker439 View Post
I too am in my mid thirties with a couple of bad disks (degenerative bulges, annular tear, dehydration). I use to do alot of high impact activities including alot of fitness running and have been advised and read alot of research indicating that running and other higher impact activities that require cutting, sudden weight shifts etc..(Raquettball, Basketball) are NOT a good idea. Given that we are in our mid thirties, we have to try and save those disks as long as we can. I have made some great adjustments in my physical activities. I do alot of core, yoga, elliptical and true stairmaster (not the silly one but the one with real stairs) and have substituted running and raquettball with cycling. Don't think of it as something you can't do but an opportunity to try other things. I was never the yoga or pilates type but have found them to be very challenging and enlightening. You might also try swimming. That is next on my list. But whatever you do, try to stay active if your pain level permits. Those disks still need to move and stay alot more healthy with increased blood flow.
Thanks so much for your post. I am not in my thirties and even at my advanced age 57 I do not just want to stop living. I am at a loss on how to regain some semblance of fitness, having been a couch monkey for 4 years since the pain started. I see now that I have done myself a diservice and the elliptical machine can stop being a clothes hanger and my bike can get some fresh air. Once again your post was very helpful for me. H

 
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