Cardio exercises with a slipped disc in my neck?
August 16, 2017 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I have a bulging/slipped disc in my neck between C5/C6, which is causing lots of nerve pain. Prior to screwing up my upper back, I regularly did 45-60 minutes of cardio exercise 4-5 times a week. Usually a combination of elliptical machines, rowing machines, and stair climbing machines. I'm looking for suggestions of cardio exercises that I can do that don't put pressure on the neck and won't have me shutting down from irritated nerves after a few minutes. Any ideas?

I'm seeing several doctors and getting lots of treatments, but nothing is really working so far. I'd like to stay active while continuing treatment, but my regular exercise routine is too painful. Thanks!
posted by BigVACub to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may have to go back to walking just to stay active.
posted by heathrowga at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2017

You need to find low-impact activities that don't use your arms/upper body. Walking is probably the best. Walking on hills will allow you to get your heart rate up. It ain't an elliptical workout, but it's not bad. I also like these "walking" workouts by Jessica Smith (they're on YouTube, or you can buy DVDs) -- modify as necessary.
posted by radioamy at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2017

When this was me -- similar scenario, except lower back -- I did a lot of water aerobics. I also purchased a swimsuit that had a wetsuit-style long zipper down the front so I wouldn't have to wriggle in and out of it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Your routine may remain changed for a long time. How do you feel about recumbent cycle? How about water aerobics? Do you experience hand numbness? I was a firefighter at the time of my injury and my fitness routine included cardio time comparable to yours. Recovery took more than a year. The recumbent bike and water exercise were key to recovery. Be patient and follow your medical advise.

My bulging/slipped discs were C5/C6, C6/C7 - accompanied with fractured clavicle and other bones.
posted by X4ster at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I know this isn't what you asked for, but I would recommend this book, if you haven't read it already. It helped me deal with a disc issue in my lower back (that I'd previously had surgery for so I'm really glad it helped me avoid that path again.) My husband had success with the exercises in the book when he hurt his neck.
posted by pyjammy at 3:56 PM on August 16, 2017

When I was out on disability for my back (although, it was lower back) the only exercise my doctor would approve was walking in the pool. No swimming. Walking in water provides resistance which helps strengthen your muscles without too much impact on the body.

I made use of the stairs, hand rails and sides of the pool to do push ups, pull ups, leg raises, and other core exercises that I sort of made up. You will know best if it would be okay for your neck to do those extra things.
posted by vignettist at 5:28 PM on August 16, 2017

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