Exercises for a herniated disc are an essential part of any healing program. However, a person suffering with a herniated disc needs to proceed with caution when it comes to exercises, because there is a good chance that you could aggravate your symptoms if you don’t follow some simple rules.
This article will discuss some specific exercises for a herniated disc, as well as some simple tips and rules you will need to follow for the best results. Before we can cover this information, we need to briefly talk about how the spinal discs work so the exercises we discuss will make sense.
The discs of the spine are shock absorbers that separate each set of bones in the spine. They are composed of a strong outer covering called the annulus, and a soft jelly center called the nucleus.
The nucleus is incredibly important for our discussion about exercises for a herniated disc, because this is where the spinal discs store oxygen and nutrients for proper healing.
If you’ve been living with this condition for any period of time, you’ve probably heard your doctor tell you that a herniated disc is a very difficult condition to heal, and tends to be quite stubborn. This is because the discs of the spine do not have a very good blood supply going to them.
The body normally depends on blood for transporting oxygen and nutrients to an injured area for faster healing, so without normal blood flow, the injured disc has to find another way to bring oxygen and nutrients for healing. One of the exercises we’ll discuss will help with this, but for now, just realize that the nucleus of the disc is going to be very important for this.
A herniated disc occurs when the strong outer covering tears, and the jelly begins to shift into the weak area of the disc. This creates a bulge, which will tend to apply pressure to the spinal nerves.
This is actually why a herniated disc can be such a painful condition – the nerves of the spine control everything in the body, and they are very sensitive to any type of pressure. This is also why the symptoms of a disc condition are not usually limited to the spine – the pain and dysfunction will tend to travel because of the nerves involved.
Now, there’s one more concept I would like to discuss before we talk more specifically about exercises for a herniated disc. There is one movement in particular that will make a herniated disc worse, so this motion needs to be avoided at all costs when learning and utilizing exercises for a herniated disc.
The movement I’m referring to is flexion and rotation at the same time. For example – if your herniated disc is in your low back, you would never want to bend forward at the waist and twist at the same time. The same is true with the neck – you would never want to bend your head forward and rotate your head to the side at the same time.
This position is where the discs are weakest, so you need to avoid it at all costs. What does this have to do with your exercise routine? Well, there are certain exercises that place your spine in this position – especially certain abdominal exercises.
A common exercise to work the abdominal muscles on the sides is to do a sit up while twisting at the waist. Sure, this exercise will target those muscles, but you are placing a lot of strain on the discs of the lower back at the same time. So, if you are suffering with a herniated disc, this type of exercise needs to be eliminated from your routine.
It’s important that you review your current exercise routine and look for any exercises that place your spine in this position. Avoiding them will go a long way in helping your disc heal.
Let’s talk more specifically now about exercises for a herniated disc. I’ll be teaching you a simple routine that will help you, no matter where your injured disc is located (in other words, you can use these exercises whether the problem is in your neck, middle back, or low back)....