Can I do exercise after a disc hernia operation?

A herniated disc can make both daily activities and sports difficult. Therefore, one of the main concerns of people who are considering having an operation to end the pain, is knowing whether they will be able to return to normal exercise later. At Instituto Clavel, specialists in spine surgery, we have confirmed that in a great majority of cases it is possible. Let us tell you about it!

Suffering a back injury can greatly reduce your quality of life. A problem like a herniated disc is a handicap for any ordinary citizen, but it is much more traumatic for an active person, who plays sports frequently or even professionally.

If you face this situation and your doctor has recommended that you try surgery, you may have many doubts. Surely, one of the main ones will be about how it will affect your mobility and whether after the disc surgery you will be able to exercise without problems. At, Instituto Clavel, where we have a team of neurosurgeons with more than 20 years of experience in this type of surgery, we would like you to know the answers. To begin with, there are several aspects to take into account, which we will discuss below.

Of course, what we tell you here is general information, so our recommendation is that, after reading it, you go to a spine neurosurgeon who can answer the questions that concern you in a personalized way, taking into account all the characteristics of your case.

Every lesion is different

The first thing to keep in mind is that not all injuries are created equal. Understanding what's wrong with you and what the extent of the injury is, is important. For this it is essential that the medical professional makes a correct diagnosis that includes different steps, from the physical examination to the specific tests.

At Instituto Clavel we have the EOS scanner, which allows us to obtain a complete, high quality image of the spine and with much less radiation than conventional x-rays. This makes it possible for us to gain a better understanding of the problem and determine what treatment it requires, whether surgery is necessary or not and, if so, which surgical technique is the most appropriate.

If in your case, it has already been confirmed that your back injury does indeed need surgery, don't throw in the towel. As we said at the beginning, this does not automatically mean that you have to stop doing sports forever. This depends on many factors, ranging from the state of the patient's muscles (the more toned, the better the expectation of recovery) to the type of surgery chosen, and rehabilitation. We review these points in more detail below. Keep reading! 

The type of surgery is a determining factor

Apart from the nature of your injury, and what kind of shape you’re in, it’s important to learn about the type of operation you are going to undergo, what technique they are going to use and what implications it will entail. All this information is essential to know the minimum healing time and what type of recovery program will be the most appropriate.

You should know that some types of surgery are more invasive than others, which will mean that the recovery can be faster or slower. One option for herniated discs may be fusion surgery. Although it is widely accepted and in some cases it may be the best alternative, the truth is that it does not have as many advantages for the patient as minimally invasive techniques

At Instituto Clavel we prefer to choose artificial disc replacement surgery (ADR) whenever possible. This technique allows us to replace the damaged disc, whether cervical or lumbar, barely affecting the tissues and guaranteeing that the postoperative discomfort is much less and the recovery is faster.

The importance of rehabilitation

After surgery, in the hospital discharge report, you will find all the necessary information for the recovery process. This period is very important in order to be able to go back to sports when you are better. In principle, if you follow the instructions of your surgeon carefully, in the mid to long term, you should be able to lead a normal life and resume your sports activity.

Rehabilitation with a specialized physiotherapist is of vital importance at this point, and that is why at Instituto Clavel we work hand in hand with FisioSpine. They are specialists in spinal rehabilitation and their professionals have direct contact with our surgeons to adapt the rehabilitation plan to each patient, taking into account all the details of the surgery they have had.


In conclusion, having a back operation does not have to result in any decrease in mobility. On the contrary, the point of the surgery is to eliminate the aches and pains that prevent you from moving freely. However, to achieve the best possible result, you must respect the recovery phases

At Instituto Clavel we want to emphasize that during the first month it is important not to engage in any type of sports activity. Just some daily activity such as sitting up, climbing stairs, riding or getting out of the car will be enough to exercise your back and regain mobility.

After the first month, depending on the injury and recovery, the doctor will assess whether it is possible to start doing some low intensity sports activity. If this is the case, the most recommended exercise is in water, or swimming, or walking. Gentle isometric exercises are also very suitable for strengthening the muscles.

Would you like more information? Don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can give you a personalized assessment.

Categories: Spine pathologies, Surgery

Share on:

Related posts

Everything you need to know about disc replacement surgery

Disc replacement surgery, or ADR, is a procedure in which a damaged or unhealthy disc is replace by an artificial disc implant. Here at Instituto Clavel we would like you to know all about this surgery, including its advantages and risks. 

Read more
The spinal column and its most common problems

The spine is a solid bone structure that supports the body and allows it to move. It also has the function of protecting the central nervous system. At Instituto Clavel we are experts in the spine and we want to tell you more about it: its structure, its functions and the most frequent problems it can have.

Read more