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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

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Fitness Consultant


What can I do with slipped disc and arthritis of the spine?

Hi its Christina here, can you give me tips on how to exercise when you have a slipped disk and also arthritis in the spine.I was going to use my step - do you think this will be a good idea. [:?]


Our expert says...

Hi Christina,

The key thing with any degeneration of the spine is to ensure the core (deep stomach muscles) that stabilise the spine are working and as strong as possible. This ensures that in everyday life we don't overuse our lower back muscles that can in turn aggravate and potentially accelerate spine degeneration. So, core strengthening is one thing you need to do long-term. My home core workout article and my home leg (buttocks mainly!) workout would both be suitable and will be avaliable very soon, so that is one option. Another option would be to see a trainer, or specifically a corrective exercise specialist who can set you up and guide you through specific training that is essentially exercise therapy. This would be the optimum solution but obviously would come at a cost.

Mobility/flexibility is the other suggested approach to aid your slipped disc and arthritis so aim to exercise regurarly, doing activities that don't aggravate symptoms of pain. This may take some trial and error on your part.

''Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of back pain and prolapsed disc is simply to keep active, and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming etc. (reference: patient.co.uk)''.

Any type of seated resistance exercises, machine based, or lying on a bench with free weights should be fine because your spine is supported and won't go through any undue stress from the movement. Avoid large amounts of impact, if any! Walking is impact so don't worry about not running for example if it causes discomfort (which is usually the case with a slipped disc!).

I would, for now, not use your step, because unless you get the technique 100% right in terms of using your core muscles and your butt muscles to do the stepping movement, you will put your lower spine (lumbar discs) under more stress then perhaps its ready for! If you know yourself and think you can do it then try and see how your body responds, just listen to your body. If it flares up, it doesn't like it and leave the movement out for a little while, perhaps returning after doing some specific 'core' work.

Hope this helps


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