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TOPIC: Bad Back and Treadmill = Good or Bad?

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March 19, 2011 7:01 PM
I have back problems and had back surgery in October 2010 and am in pain 24/7...My husband bought me a treadmill for my birthday because I asked him to. I have used the treadmill once and was only able to do 10 minutes at various speeds up to 3.5. Should I keep trying to exercise on the treadmill or should I stop? Any suggestions?
March 19, 2011 7:03 PM
Don't you think that is a ? For your DR?
March 19, 2011 7:04 PM
My doctor cleared me to start normal activity 3 months after my surgery
March 19, 2011 7:05 PM
So why would you start exercising ?
March 19, 2011 7:06 PM
I am not sure what your back pain troubles are from but mine are from a bulging disk in my lower back. I use to hurt 24/7. I started on my treadmill back in October doing about 20 minute at 2.6. Since then I have increased the speed and incline and all of my back pain is gone. The treadmill helped me for my back pain. Again since I do not know what your pain is from it might be best to talk to your Dr. about if it is a good option for you.
March 19, 2011 7:08 PM
Because it's been 5 months since my surgery so I figured taking it slow and walking at a slow pace on the treadmill would be a good way to start exercising. I was looking for other people with back problems to give me some suggestions on if it gets easier or just causes more pain for them...
March 19, 2011 7:09 PM
If your feeling hesitant, even if your doc has already cleared you, it'll probably put your mind at ease just to go in and get checked one more time. Better safe than sorry. You're probably fine, but you don't wanna mess around with your back.
March 19, 2011 7:10 PM

I am not sure what your back pain troubles are from but mine are from a bulging disk in my lower back. I use to hurt 24/7. I started on my treadmill back in October doing about 20 minute at 2.6. Since then I have increased the speed and incline and all of my back pain is gone. The treadmill helped me for my back pain. Again since I do not know what your pain is from it might be best to talk to your Dr. about if it is a good option for you.

Thank you this is what kind of answers I am looking for. I also had a bulging disk at L5 and had a L5-S1 fusion. It just seems once I do 10 minutes my legs feel like jell-o and like my legs are going to give out and I'm going to fall.
March 19, 2011 7:12 PM
I have a spur on my L4. About a year ago I was in pain 24/7. I hade PT and cortizone shots...nothing was helping. I knew I needed to keep strengthening my core in order to get stronger. The only way was through PT, walking and keeping at it. Start out easy. If it starts to hurt lay off. Have you got to PT at all for it? I am sure you have, silly question!
March 19, 2011 7:13 PM
I had another thought after I finished posting the last response. My husband has knee problems and was feeling that slight hesitation even though nothing really felt wrong. He went to the dr. after being cleared and it turned out he needed a little bit more time to heal and a couple of sessions of physical therapy. I doubt that this will happen to you, but I am one of the concerned mama types.
March 19, 2011 7:17 PM
I went through a year of physical therapy for my back and the tread mill was so hard at first but got easier. It is less impact on your back then walking on the street. You may want to combine it with back strengthening exercises. Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction.
Back health is an everyday exercise for me combining strengthening and stretching. I also had to relearn how to get up from a chair. (Both feet on the floor and stand up straight, instead of turning and putting weight on only one foot then the other). I do my stretching exercises in bed before my feet touch the floor in the morning. You will be amazed at how much they help relieve back pain.
March 19, 2011 7:17 PM
Is walking outside an option for you? I would advise walking outside on most days ... and only using the treadmill if walking outside is not an option. Walking outside you can go as slow as you need to... and dont have a belt underneath you.

Also I have a slipped/bulging disc at L4-L5. Many years ago they recommended surgery because of transient numbness in my left thigh, but I was only 29 and I did not want to have back surgery that young. Walking has significantly helped my back ... and I have even transitioned into running. Good luck!
March 19, 2011 7:17 PM
I have a bad back as well (multiple herniated discs at age 17 and again at age 19, not normal at all!) and I find that walking on the treadmill loosens things up and eases the pain.

I've been having a really bad week with my back, among other problems, and haven't really been able to exercise as a result, but last night after work I made myself go to the gym. I did 25 minutes on the treadmill and another 25 on the recumbent bike. I felt so much better afterward!

The important thing is to listen to your body and stop if it hurts.
March 19, 2011 7:23 PM
I have degenerating discs in my lower lumbar region (L3-L5) which only seem to be getting worse the more weight i pack on. Before i started working out I had gotten to the point where i couldn't stand in one place for more than approximately 8-10 minutes before having severe pinching pains and I could only walk for about 10-15 minutes before i'd have severe pain that started in my lower back and then shot its way thru my hip and down my left leg. Believe me it was not a pleasant feeling!

I have found that if you use the treadmill do it slow and for short amounts of time until you can handle more. When i first started going to the YMCA I was only walking at about 2-2.5 with NO incline and only for about 10-15 minutes at a time before i started having pain. At that point if my back would allow it I'd then move to an exercise bike for a while where i could sit down and allow my back to relax for a while.

The more I have been doing this i'm finding that my back can handle a bit more. I'm able to do 20-30 minutes on the treadmill at 3-3.5 with NO incline before i start to feel the pain. At that point I turn the treadmill off and go sit on a bike and ride for a bit unless the pain is great enough that I can't. If that is the case I head to the locker room, change, and go home.

You stated that you are trying to go as fast as 3.5 and you're just starting out... stick to the 2-2.5 range. I know it's slow, but you need to work your way slowly into the higher numbers. Going too fast starting out like you are can cause some SEVERE pain and problems. Don't give up on the treadmill all together... just take it extremely slow and if you start to feel pain or discomfort STOP! The longer you maintain that you will see that your back will allow you to go for longer periods of time. Just dont push it.
Edited by lnosgood On March 19, 2011 7:31 PM
March 19, 2011 7:24 PM
You need to go at your own pace. Make sure you do an adequate warmup, do some appropriate stretches of both your legs and back and then ease into the workout. There is no doubt that you will need to build up your tolerence and condition your muscles, especially after such an extensive surgery. It is okay to feel a bit weak.

It may take you a few weeks of incrementally increasing your intensity and duration, but you will make progress. Good luck with your workouts and keep at it.
March 19, 2011 7:31 PM
I have never had back surgery, but, my back gives me pain off and on.
When I was in therapy for my back, these were the hints they gave me.

-Do not use the incline!
-Go slow to start, maybe just 5 min. the first day, and progress 5 min. each day.
-Most importantly, hold your tummy in (tighten your core) and stand tall.
-Slightly round your shoulders forward, that also helps keep your core tight.

Those hints have helped me greatly. If I go too fast, or try the incline, my back pain comes right back.
Hope that helps!
March 20, 2011 7:01 AM
Thank you everyone for the great advice!!!! It really helps a lot!!!
March 20, 2011 11:34 AM
I walk outside and only 15 min cause my legs start the numb feeling too! If I feel like I can tolerate more I keep going but for me it feels good while Im walking but as soon as Im done, it hurts bad. So I mean u have to do what ur body can tolerate and every person is different. I would love to run and play sports but I know running would put more pressure on my discs that are messed up so I stick to walking. I think the treadmill is good but maybe start on a lower incline and speed and work ur way up. Even though u can only do about 10 min right now, its still better than nothing. I'm not able to walk every day right now cause the pain so I do it when I feel I am able plus with having seizures randomly I dont want to go for a walk unless there's someone home. I know right now for me I have to kind of take a back seat until I figure out what is going on in my body healthwise.
February 3, 2014 7:04 PM
these are some great suggestions. i liked the one where after time the pain went away- how long are we talking approximately in your case?


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