Running after back surgery

Many of the clients of ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., have had successful back surgery. Herniated discs in the lumbar spine can cause disability, pain and loss of function. However, advances in medical science and surgical techniques have lead to shorter recuperation times and smaller scars. Clients of the Herndon Reston area injury and disability law firm have asked, “can I run after this surgery ?”

The Runners Clinic from “On the Run” addresses this question superbly

Can I run after back surgery?

Lumbar back surgery scar“I had a lumbar discectomy 1 year ago on L5. I was told to stay away from running. But I really want to start back. Is there a easy way to get started back running without injuring myself. I didn’t injure my back from running but from lifting. Is there a reason to stay away from running?”

“you are correct in assuming that you can run. The question is “should you?” Consider that the disc is now effectively a washer between your L4 and L5 vertebral body, and that all of your upper body weight is transfered through the disc to your lower body with every step. The problem with running is that it is a repetitive pounding activity that, over time, will take it’s toll on your tissue. Now that the disc has been reduced from a shock absorber to a washer – a space holder effectively, how much pounding can you reasonably tolerate?

My advice to you is to run only on soft surfaces – dirt trails, tartan track, grass, and avoid any hard surfaces – concrete especially. Also, you must have shoes in excellent condition, and if you start to run, make sure that they stay so. Further, you must start back slowly. Begin with a one or two mile walk/jog, and gradually increase your pace, always measuring your response. Listen to your back along the way. Being in excellent condition will help prevent future episodes of back pain, so it is good that you are walking down this path…but
you have to proceed with caution, and you have to think long term. You might consider some non-impact activities like roller blades as an alternative…Also, as long as your back troubles you – use ice!” Neil

[Shown here is the small scar from a lumbar disc surgery recently performed by the excellent spine specialists at the Commonwealth Orthopaedic Group on one of their own physicians !]

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