Essential Exercise Tips For A Herniated Disc (Including Exercises to Avoid)

Herniated Disc

At some point in life, a large percentage of people are likely to experience lower back and leg pain. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 149 million work days are lost every year in the United States due to back pain. Reduced productivity and lost wages will, in turn, negatively affect the country’s economy. This pain is often due to a herniated disc that occurs when a bulging disc is mismanaged or was not adequately treated. Luckily, this is a preventable and treatable condition. To learn about John Cho, MD, and how he and his team of pain management specialists can help you, call the office or visit their website.

Benefits Of Exercising

After experiencing a herniated disc, it is advised that you take a few days rest as part of the recovery process. Gentle exercises must then follow to strengthen muscles supporting the spine and promote flexibility.

Exercises are also essential to reduce the risk of recurrent herniated disc. They should be performed in a controlled and slow manner. Some of these exercises include walking, cycling, swimming, and yoga. However, they should not cause any pain. One should stop immediately in case of pain and consult a medical specialist.

Exercises to help treat herniated disc include:

  •   Neck Stretches: In an upright position, move the chin towards the chest, then back against the headrest. Repeat the movements. Also, move the right ear towards the shoulder and left ear towards the left shoulder in a repeated pattern.
  •   Hamstring exercises: Extend the leg out straight with the heel touching the floor in a seated position. With the back straightened, lean forward until you feel a stretch along the back of the upper thigh. Hold for a few seconds, and switch legs. Perform the pattern repeatedly.
  •   Back flexion stretch: Lie on your back and bring both knees toward the chest while moving the head forward. Repeat this a few more times.
  •   Knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back and bend knees with heels on the floor. With both hands behind one knee, pull it toward the chest, and switch legs. Repeat the exercise.

Exercises To Avoid

  •   Standing hamstring stretch: Reaching down to touch your toes from a standing position may stress the front of the disc and cause problems. Instead, do the hamstring stretch from a sitting position.
  •   Deadlifts: Even when done right, it may cause excessive compression on the disc. A perfect substitute would be the bridge exercise that involves the abdominals and hips more.
  •   Squats: More weight is shifted to the lower back during this exercise, placing excess stress on the spine. This can worsen the herniation.
  •   Sit ups and crunches: The forward bending of the spine exerts too much pressure on the discs, which is not suitable for people with herniated discs.
  •   Straight leg raises: Raising a leg puts excess pressure on the discs. This type of exercise is not recommended.
  •   Twisting movements: Twisting may cause unnecessary force and further damage the healing discs. Movements should be controlled when performing daily routines to ensure a fast recovery.

Exercises are an essential part of the healing process and help ease the pain experienced. Strengthening the back also prevents pain and reduces the chances of future occurrence. However, it is good to seek medical advice before doing any exercises to avoid causing more damage or pain. Some conditions might require surgery, depending on the type of injury. At NJ Spine and Wellness, qualified staff will treat all your back, spine, and neck injuries.