Trauma or a degenerative joint disc could be the contributing factors for a herniated disc, which is characterized by the compression of a nerve by the jelly-like center of the intervertebral disc that leaks through a weak spot in the disc. This condition can sometimes affect the patient's ability to perform the routine activities. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on certain exercises that can provide relief.
The spinal column one of the complex structures of the human body. It comprises bony segments called vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral discs that act as cushions and shock-absorbers. Each disc comprises two parts: a strong outer covering known as the annulus and a soft jelly center known as the nucleus.
If the outer covering ruptures, the jelly begins to flow out of the center into the region where the disc is weakest. As a result, a bulge develops in the disc that exerts pressure on the nerves of the spine. This condition is referred to as herniated, bulging, or slipped disc. If the bulging disc is in the lower back, it can give rise to intense pain, numbness, or tingling in the back and the legs. Performing certain exercises can prove beneficial.
Exercises for a Herniated Disc
The main reason behind performing the following exercises is to improve blood circulation, so that the affected area receives sufficient amount of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. This will help alleviate the pain and pave way for a faster recovery.
This exercise can be carried out while sitting, standing, or lying down.
- Breathe in by pulling your stomach muscles inward, as if you are pulling your navel towards your spine.
- Hold as long as you are comfortable.
- If you are lying on the floor, press your lower back into the surface and don’t take help from your abdominal muscles and legs while exercising.
- Perform 10 to 12 times a day.
Crunches or Curl-ups
- To perform this exercise, lie flat on your back with the knees bent, press your lower back into the floor, and cross your arms over your chest.
- Slowly, raise your head and shoulders upward and curl your rib cage toward your spine.
- Stay in this position for two to four seconds, before returning to the starting position.
- Instead of raising the shoulders very high, try to curl your shoulders towards your hips.
- Do 8 to 10 repetitions. You can also increase the number of repetitions, as per your strength and comfort.
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent.
- Raise one leg slowly, while keeping your hands behind your knee.
- Stretch your leg and gently pull it towards your chest.
- Stay in this position for a few seconds and then return to the initial position.
- Repeat with the other leg. If you experience any pain or discomfort, discontinue the exercise.
Lower Back Extension
- First of all, lie on your stomach.
- Prop your upper body on your elbows, while keeping your pelvis on the floor.
- Stay in this position for a few seconds, or as long as you are comfortable.
- Slowly, raise your upper body, while pressing up onto your hands.
- Perform 10 repetitions.
Lower Back and Hip Stretch
- Lie on your back with the knees bent and the arms relaxed at your sides.
- Slowly, drop your knees to one side. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the steps on the other side.
- Perform up to 10 repetitions on each side.
While performing these lower back exercises for herniated disc, you must ensure that your back is not strained. Stop immediately, if you experience any kind of back pain.
Bulging discs are quite common in people between the ages of 30 and 40. Before starting any exercise program, it is better to have a doctor’s approval in advance. In some cases, physical therapy is advised, as a physical therapist would be in a better position to instruct you about the exercises that are best for recovering from a particular injury. Aerobics, stretches, flexibility and strengthening exercises, and exercises involving specific movements that help relieve nerve pressure can prove beneficial.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.