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muscle loss due to herniated neck disk

      Re: muscle loss due to herniated neck disk

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Posted by CCF NEUROSURGERY MD on September 19, 1997 at 13:43:01:

In Reply to: muscle loss due to herniated neck disk posted by James Kerr on September 19, 1997 at 11:03:37:

: I work out and herniated a neck disk. I recently (8 weeks ago) underwent surgery for a heniated disk in my neck, approx 6 weeks after the injury. The "pinched nerve" resulted in muscle atrophy and 70-80% weakness to an area of my lower & upper right tricep, right upper inner pec and some to the right lat.  My surgen said it is ok to do a light lifting routine with weights to bring things back to pre-op size, I am a bodybuilder with good overall muscle size. My questions are: 1) Can I do a six day split routine with light weights working each body part twice a week or is this too much on the affected muscles. 2) What can I do or take to accelerate the process of regaining my normal size and strength to these areas. 3) How long will the process take.  Thank you in advance for you help.
Dear James,
Your situation is unique in that you are a bodybuilder.  The problem with
this is that lifting weights can put unusual stresses on the spine and
discs in particular.  Clearly the best thing to do is to avoid the stresses
that caused the first disc herniation.  At times this is an unacceptable
option for patients.  If this is the case, realize that there is a tangible
risk for further injury, possibly chronic, with continued weightlifting.
With that said, some people choose to continue to lift weights after such
procedures.  A first suggestion would be to allow your neck to heal
completely before beginning serious weight training again.  Typically this
would be one to three months, depending on whether you had a fusion procedure.
At that time you might choose to lift less weight and increase the reps.
The return of muscle bulk and definition may be variable depending on how
much nerve compression was present and for what duration of time.  This will
take a number of months but should slowly improve.  
The best advice in your case would be not to push it too much too fast.  
Lower the weights and increase the reps in your routine.  Lastly, avoid any
exercises that put unnecessary stress on your neck.  
Further details should be discussed with your surgeon.
Good luck.

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