I am a 68 year old male in excellent physical condition and weigh 185 lbs. About four years ago, I had two herniated L4-L5 discs and was in considerable pain. However, it gradually went away after a number of months with physical therapy and a couple of cortisone shots. and have not had any pain since. I have religiously exercised (including back exercises) alternating between days with both weights and walking treadmill almost every day. However, I do miss my jogging (3 miles every other day on macadam). Whenever I ask my doctor if I can take it up again, he tells me that it's not wise to add any jolts too a back that has had problems. Do you think I can do this without harm? It is so effective for loosing weight, I hate to give it up.
You should start your jogging again. It is advised by doctors that you take rest for a few months to prevent more injury. But many a patients have benefitted from resuming their exercise schedule. Brisk walking and jogging , in fact, strengthen the back muscles. make sure you are not jogging with a weight on your shoulders !
If I have an attack of asthma, I don't stop breathing, do I ?
It is entirely correct that you should undergo exercises and activities to strengthen the front and back muscles that support the spine. And it is good that your pain has resolved without needing spine surgery.
However, I would advise caution when deciding on resuming high impact activities such as jogging. Remember that you had 2 lumbar disc herniations. Although most lumbar disc herniations show regression with nonsurgical treatment (Matsubara, et al, 1995), clinical improvement following a symptomatic lumbar disc herniation does not necessarily correlate with the radiographically documented resolution of the herniation (Fraser, et al, 1995). Symptoms could possibly return if high impact exercises are resumed without full regression of the disc herniations.
This is not to say that you shouldn't be jogging anymore. If you are going to resume this activity, resume it slowly, starting with short distances, then later on, longer distances. It would be a good idea to conduct follow up imaging of your spine some time after resumption of jogging to see the condition of the previous disc herniation.
However, if ever you experience back pain again as a result of jogging, you should immediately stop this activity and have yourself checked by your physician.
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