Exercise with DDD


Q: Xrays show i have severe degenerative disc disease at L5-S1. Significant narrowing with some sclerosis and spur formation and osteoarthritis setting in. I am a 37 year old male who was very active until august 2009 when being diagnosed with this. Since then my back has gone out once and put me out for a few days but nothing major since or before. I work a job where i bend, lift light weights and twist 5 days a week. I was into running half marathons and weight lifting before all this happened but have not tried to do anything besides work not to aggravat even more.I have since put on about 20 pounds, 5'4 190lbs, and feeling more pain with the additional weight around waist. I am also very depressed due to not being able to get my "high" from the running and weight lifting. My question is can i resume moderate running and weightlifting or is this just going to worsen my situation in the future?


A:    Of course you can, moreover, I encourage you to do so, just have in mind that if you are going to run, you will have to use the right footgear, on the right surface, for the right period of time, avoiding “overuse”. I will recommend you using the treadmill at your own pace, at the beginning; for about 15 to 30 minutes daily or at least 3 times a week, but every person is different and most likely the exercise routine should be customized for each case in particular. There is a very well described entity in the medical literature called: Overuse Syndrome, which can affect any part of the body that is over stressed with movements or activities in a repetitive way, including occupational, recreational, and habitual activities. Repetition is part of the definition of overuse injury. The concept is that overuse injury is associated with repeated challenge without sufficient recovery time, and this is true for weightlifting, Running, Jogging or any other sport or activity in which you exceed the guidelines and your own limits or capacities. This is particularly special in your DDD case . So a daily healthy exercise routine besides the standard guidelines should be customized for each particular individual. Also I strongly recommend you to get a consultation with a dietitian or nutritionist, so along with the exercise you can have a balanced nutrition and keep your weight under control, which is very important in your particular case.

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