Inguinal hernia and exercise/lifting

Hernia Discussion Forums Hernia Discussion Inguinal hernia and exercise/lifting

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    • #11198
      Milo
      Participant

      Can anyone point me to information that shows what exercise is ok to do with a hernia?
      I have found anecdotal reports but I haven’t seen any clinical evidence showing what to avoid and what is ok.
      I am erring on the side of caution until surgery, but giving up exercise altogether doesn’t seem like a good alternative, so any help is appreciated.

    • #15675
      Momof4
      Participant

      In another post, Dr. Towfigh says that jogging and weight lifting are ok and so are most other forms of exercise. Yoga and Pilates are protective of hernia as well. Cross fit type of exercise is not recommended due to increased abdominal pressure with squats and rapid movement and direction change. Hope this helps.

    • #15676
      Milo
      Participant

      I will take that advice, but I’m curious what has caused her to make those conclusions, whether clinical studies or just something she has learned from experience.

    • #15677
      Good intentions
      Participant

      I recall that post from Dr. Towfigh and as I recall it was referring to studies that others have done. More specifically, I think that she referred to “barbell lifting”, which, of course, is an odd way to refer to weight lifting. I think that it was recent and you could probably find it by browsing topic titles. It was similar to yours, I think.

      My understanding of hernias is that once the “hole” is created, it’s abdominal pressure that will push material through it. So you want to avoid things similar to the valsava maneuver, a common weight-lifting technique to stabilize the pelvis, that pressurizes the abdomen. Personally, from my own experience, I would also avoid activities that might result in rapid reactions that create abdominal pressure. I played soccer after my hernia and think that reacting to the situation around me caused the hernia to increase in size. But, just before my repair surgery, I was able to run a couple of easy miles and do easy workouts at the gym. I had the surgery in an attempt to get back to my higher level of activity. It didn’t work.

      I saw your other post. There is a lot of good information on this forum. Read carefully and consider well.

    • #15680
      UhOh!
      Participant
      quote Good intentions:

      I recall that post from Dr. Towfigh and as I recall it was referring to studies that others have done. More specifically, I think that she referred to “barbell lifting”, which, of course, is an odd way to refer to weight lifting. I think that it was recent and you could probably find it by browsing topic titles. It was similar to yours, I think.

      My understanding of hernias is that once the “hole” is created, it’s abdominal pressure that will push material through it. So you want to avoid things similar to the valsava maneuver, a common weight-lifting technique to stabilize the pelvis, that pressurizes the abdomen. Personally, from my own experience, I would also avoid activities that might result in rapid reactions that create abdominal pressure. I played soccer after my hernia and think that reacting to the situation around me caused the hernia to increase in size. But, just before my repair surgery, I was able to run a couple of easy miles and do easy workouts at the gym. I had the surgery in an attempt to get back to my higher level of activity. It didn’t work.

      I saw your other post. There is a lot of good information on this forum. Read carefully and consider well.

      The reference to barbell lifting was in response to one of my posts, and I imagine she used the term because it’s the one I used, to differentiate between exercises using a heavy bar (squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, olympic lifting) from lighter varieties of lifting such as dumbbells or cable machines.

      Personally, I still squat 3x per week, press a couple times per week and do some deadlifting. Deadlifting is the only exercise that has felt like it might aggravate my hernia a bit, which is why I’m taking a break.

      While mine may have progressed a little, it hasn’t been much and I noticed it first almost two years ago. I have, however, made some changes in how I lift, most notably I DO NOT wear a lifting belt, which I used to. A common misconception is that the belt is there to help provide support for the lifter’s back. It’s not; its purpose is to allow for a harder valsalva maneuver and maximization of intra-abdominal pressure. Good for lifting progress, bad for hernias.

      I realize that this type of lifting is probably suboptimal for someone with a hernia, though I wonder how detrimental it really is, given its propensity to strengthen one’s core more than “core exercises” that involve far less weight. However, DO NOT listen to me on this, as I am hypothesizing with absolutely ZERO scientific basis for my thinking.

    • #30213
      pinto
      Participant

      Since being in the game of “hernias,” I have wondered what we can do specifically in workouts. A webpage that comes close though incompletely is:
      https://WWW.PREMIERSURGICAL.COM/01/BEST-EXERCISES-FOR-PEOPLE-WITH-HERNIAS/
      The page states the following:
      “…Below are some of the exercises often recommended for hernia patients:
      • Walking
      • Swimming
      • Jogging
      • Gentle yoga
      • Cycling
      … Exercises to avoid
      If you have an abdominal hernia, the following exercises should be avoided….
      • Situps
      • Squats or lifts with weights
      • Crunches
      • Pushups
      • Deadlifts
      • Inversion yoga poses”
      ——-
      The page above says “lifts with weights.” I wonder if this pertains solely to squats. The lifting of the weight during the squat exercise?

      The information is unreferenced; likely anecdotal. I share it solely as a springboard. A number of doctors have told me that walking and jogging are permissible (as well as sex). Jumping is not according to one medical professional elsewhere, seemingly reasonable advice or is it?. I would like to be informed about other forms of exercise esp. those in a training gym/weight room.

    • #30217
      Alephy
      Participant

      I think the question of what one can do with an hernia is not so simple. First of all a direct hernia is e.g. not really a hole, but a deformation. Also, muscles work together, which is already a very difficult problem to fully understand. If you add then the fascia in, which connects seemingly distant and unrelated parts of the body, the picture becomes daunting to say the least. I think it is not just high pressure => bad for your hernia, but then again what do I know?:) this is my personal opinion, and I am no doctor.

      Speaking of which, I am not sure that the average surgeon/doctor really knows about exercising and what may or not be ok: in this respect a sports doctor would be my bet if I needed some answers in this domain…

      I think that it greatly depends and changes from person to person.
      I personally go by trying something and checking how I feel immediately after and the next day…

      my 2 cents

    • #30218
      pinto
      Participant

      I agree fully. I found medical opinion varies widely. And as you say, there must be individual differences in patient conditions. So we’re left to our own devices, but there’s a rub in it: if we cross the line too much, the bulge gets bigger (or the condition worsens) with no return. So I don’t mind looking for medical guidance even though I will need to test it out. My hernia thrust me into a no-man’s land of much uncertainty, so as I amble along I’ll take whatever help I can get. 🙂

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