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Submitted by: Patrick Foote
Should someone with a diagnosed herniated disc play golf? The short answer: probably not. As with so many medical conditions, however, there is a caveat to that answer. Not all herniated discs produce symptoms, and those that do might not be debilitating. And even though it may seem counter-intuitive, eliminating physical activity is not necessarily a good way to respond to neck or back pain associated with spinal nerve compression. That said, common sense dictates that someone suffering the effects of a degenerative spine condition should think carefully before hitting the links.
Doctor-Patient Communication is Key
Of course, if youve already been diagnosed with a herniated disc, chances are you know that the nerve compression symptoms associated with the condition (pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, spasms) usually can be managed with a regimen of conservative (non-operative) treatment. If youre an avid golfer, theres even a chance you may have asked your doctor to gear your treatment plan toward getting you back on the course as soon as possible. You may have been prescribed a course of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), painkillers, and muscle relaxants, or you may have been sent to a physical therapist to work on improving your body mechanics and posture. Either way, once youve begun your course of treatment, its vital to maintain an open line of communication with your physician. Let him or her know what works and what doesnt, and be sure to report any changes for the better or for the worse in your symptoms.
Ways to Avoid a Herniated Disc
The aging process takes a toll on the intervertebral discs, and over time the discs can dehydrate, become brittle, and lose height. If a discs outer wall becomes torn, the gel-like inner nucleus material can leak into the spinal canal. This is a herniated disc. How does a discs outer wall become torn? It can be a product of everyday wear and tear, but the twisting, turning, and bending associated with sports like golf also can accelerate the process. In order to avoid the onset of a disc herniation, its important for golfers to physically prepare themselves to play. That means proper stretching, a warm-up period on the range, and even focusing on general physical fitness away from the course.
Many golf pros recommend regular trips to the gym to maintain the physical fitness required to enjoy the game for life. Weight training, reps on an elliptical machine, laps in a swimming pool, and time on a treadmill are all good ways to attain peak physical condition. The only caveat? Always consult with a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen.
Fortunately, symptoms from a herniated disc usually subside after a few days or weeks of conservative treatment. However, if chronic symptoms persist after several months of treatment, or if the herniated disc causes a rare emergency situation like cauda equina syndrome, surgery might become an option. Talk to your doctor about your limitations if you are diagnosed with disc herniation, and be sure to research all of your surgical options if conservative treatment proves ineffective.
About the Author: Patrick Foote is the Director of eBusiness at Laser Spine Institute, the leader in endoscopic spine surgery. Laser Spine Institute specializes in safe and effective outpatient procedures for the treatment of
and several other spinal conditions.