There are three types of hernias: when the protrusion of the soft tissue occurs at in the abdominal wall, it is known as an umbilical hernia; when the protrusion occurs through the diaphragm, it is known as a hiatial hernia; if the protrusion occurs through the lower abdominal wall, it is called an inguinal hernia. All three types are corrected by surgery, but your recovery from any of these surgeries can be hindered by improper weight lifting.
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Hernias are caused by a weakness in the diaphragm or a portion of the abdominal wall. An increase in abdominal pressure -- which occurs during lifting heavy objects -- can also bring about a hernia. An improper weight-lifting form increases your chances for herniation. Frequent coughing, vomiting and excessive straining during bowel movements are also factors that can cause a hernia.
Hernia surgery is most often conducted under general anesthesia. In most cases, a surgeon makes a small incision through which he pushes the soft tissue back into the abdominal cavity. The surgeon then stitches the weakened or damaged area back together to prevent future herniation. In some cases, a surgeon may place a synthetic mesh near the weak point to support your abdominal wall. If the herniation is small, these procedures may be carried out laporoscopically, meaning in a minimally invasive way, by making tiny incisions.
Unless the procedure was complicated and observation is required, you can usually go home a few hours after surgery and spend three to seven days resting in bed. In most cases, you can return to your normal diet within five to six days after surgery. After the first week, your doctor may advise you to take walks, perform some stretches, drink lots of fluids and eat lots of fiber.
The surgical wound from a hernia surgery usually heals within 10 days following the surgery. However, this does not mean that you are fully recovered, as the deeper tissues may take as long as six months to heal. This means that you should avoid running, lifting heavy weights, having strenuous bowel movements and engaging in strenuous exercise for at least three months to allow for the walls of your abdominal cavity to heal.
After this period, begin weight training with lighter weights, and choose exercises that place the least pressure on your abdominal cavity. Also, perform abdominal exercises to strengthen your abdominal wall to prevent future herniation. Stop exercising and consult your physician if you feel any pain or discomfort during exercise.