Need guidance for abdomen muscle strengthening exercises with inguinal hernia and slipped disc

by Suresh Upadhya
(Mumbai, India)

Hello doctor,

I am a 47 yr old male, with 165 cm ht and 54 kg wt, from Mumbai, India.

In Sept 2013 I had an incident of slip disc (L4, L5) and found your really useful website after research on the net related to suitable exercises.

I have been practicing some of your recommended exercises for maintaining my back. Issue is that earlier, in May 2009, I had a surgery for inguinal hernia and had a 'mesh' stitched in, to support my muscles. Yesterday my doctor was concerned about my abdominal muscles being very tender, unlike the stiffness he expected to encapsulate the foreign body (mesh) which was implanted.

My dilemma is that exercises for relieving and strengthening the back tend to stretch the abdomen, which is contraindicated for my hernia. All the same, forward bending/ abdomen crunching exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles hurt the back.

I routine exercises consist of walking for about 40 mins and a set of shoulder, back and neck exercises. Given my hernia, my orthopedic recommended that I do back strengthening exercises, but within limits, like raising my legs one at a time and not both together, ...

Kindly guide me with a suitable exercise regimen.

Again, thanks a lot for your time and clear guidance already provided by way of videos on your website.

Best Regards,
Suresh Upadhya,

Hello Suresh,
Seems to me you are already doing the right things. Your doctor is right, raise one leg only lying flat on the back, but that is more for the hip flexors than tum muscles. But if you at the same time, tighten the tum muscles, and slighly lift the head, then you will activate the abdominal muscles. Important, never both legs simulataneously.

Then the pelvic tilt exercises are safe and won't upset the hernia in the groin.

Avoid the forward bending exercises, they are aggravating that slipped disc, hence the pain.

Let pain be your guide. It will tell you when you are over doing it, or doing the right exercises.

dr B

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