An acute question: is it possible to run with a hernia?

Often before running lovers there is a question, is it possible to run with a herniated intervertebral disk? There is no simple and unambiguous answer to this question, since this possibility depends on a large number of factors. Let’s try to figure out with sports doctor Vladimir Demchenko what exactly should influence the decision making and the construction of the training process.

Hernia location

First, the location of the hernial disc bulging and the course of the disease is very important. If you have never had acute pain in the back and pulling pains on the lower extremity, and the disc hernia is only a finding on an MRI, then restrictions on running can relate only to extreme loads mainly associated with mountain running, especially with high-speed descents.

Stage of the disease

If a herniated disc manifested itself clinically, then it is very important at what stage the process is. In the acute and subacute stages (when pain is present), running is not indicated, but if it doesn’t manifest itself in any way for two weeks or more, it is possible to resume running training.

The presence of inflammation of the sciatic nerve

If the pain syndrome descends below the knee joint, there are sensations of reduced skin sensitivity in the lower leg and foot area, as well as the muscle strength of the fingers and calf muscles. Also, when bending towards the legs, there is a burning pain along the lower limb. With such symptoms, running is not indicated.


If you are in a state of stable remission, you do not have symptoms of inflammation of the sciatic nerve (ischiasis), or the hernia has never manifested itself clinically, then you can start running exercises, considering the following recommendations:

1. Reduce the shock load on the spine:

  • shoes with a high degree of depreciation;
  • soft track;
  • lack of explosive acceleration;
  • during a mountain run you can run up, but when you descend go to a step;
  • landing on the forefoot or the entire foot;
  • weight loss (preferably below 80 kg);
  • decrease in step width, increase in cadence.

2. Strengthen OFP and SBU:

  • active strengthening of the bark muscles (press, back extensors);
  • running with the most even body position;
  • working out easy landing.

3. Refuse the use of painkillers before workouts.

4. Do not bother the lower back and feet while running.

If you experience unpleasant sensations in the lumbar region in training, you must go to step. If, by the end of the workout, you feel fatigue and lumbar tension, it is necessary to stretch the extensors of the waist and use a heating ointment. Reduces the chance of developing complications in the lumbar region and holding the next warm-up before jogging: perform circular movements of the lower back, as if rotating a hoop, for 40 seconds.

If, after the jogging, pains still appear in the lumbar region, it is necessary to apply heating ointment and NSAIDs (diclofenac, nise, mavalis, etc.) within two hours after a workout, in order to prevent an increase in edema and inflammation in the hernia, because it is during this period that the incipient aggravation can be easily interrupted.

Often with similar symptoms it is useful to carry out the stretching of the spine on the bar for 3-5 minutes, or leaning on the edge of the table. It is very important to complete the hood smoothly and lie down for at least 30 minutes after the procedure.

Updated: December 17, 2018 — 8:17 pm

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