Anyone who suffers from herniated disks, knows how painful this condition can be. This life altering medical complication is also known as bulging disk or slipped disk. While it is most common in younger to middle aged people, it can certainly affect other age groups as well.
While all exercises are not suited for people who have this condition, there are plenty of handy exercises you can do in your house to relieve your back of pain and stress. Here, we will discuss some herniated disc exercises for fast results.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Our spinal structure is made of 33 individual vertebrae. They are separated by soft discs that allow our spines to move with flexibility, cushions them from impact, and keeps the vertebrae where they should be.
The discs are soft in the center but have hard exteriors. The material in the center is called nucleus and the exterior is known as the annulus. Herniation of the disc occurs when the nucleus material leaks out of the annulus. The inflamed disk can press on nerves on the spine and cause severe pain.
This condition may be cause by –
- Bad posture in sitting and walking for a prolonged period of time
- Excessive stress on the spinal structure such as heavy lifting, pulling, or bending
- Spinal structure degeneration
- Accidental causes
Best Exercises for Pain Relief
A serious medical condition such as this requires attention from your doctor or physician or a chiropractor. In many cases, herniated disc is treated through surgical procedures followed by rehabilitations. However, you may not want to go to that route and try working out for pain relief.
Here are the best exercises that you can do in your home, without needing any specialized equipment.
Exercise 1: Spinal Decompression
This exercise is meant to loosen the stress on your spines after you have been sitting or lying down for a while. You will need to hang a strong steel bar around the height of your maximum reach.
- Try to get a good grip on the bar and stay in a hanging position
- Hang on the bar for 30 seconds per stretch
- If you can’t physically hang completely, grab on the bar and let go of your lower body as much as you can, putting most of your weight on your hands
- Do 3-4 reps of 30 seconds
- Take a 30 to 60-second break between each rep
Exercise 2: Supine Folded Leg Curls (Stretches the Piriformis Muscle)
For this, you will need a pillow and a comfortable surface for lying down.
- Lie down with your knees bent and the palms of your feet touching the ground
- Take your left leg and fold it in a figure four manner so that your left leg is resting on your right knee
- From this position curl your right knee toward your chest while keeping the left leg resting on it
- Do 10 curls and switch legs
- Remember to rest a few seconds after 10 reps and before switching to the other leg
If at any point of this exercise you feel more strain or pain, you should stop. This exercise should make you feel better from the start.
Exercise 3: Neck Stretches
Doing neck stretches can relieve pain from the neck and shoulder region. Try following this method for best results.
- Get a chair with a straight backrest
- Align you back with the chair to get a good, steady posture
- Slowly tilt your head down, stretching your neck muscles while keeping your back straight
- Slowly tilt up, then tilt down and repeat for a minute
- Take a small rest
- Now tilt your head toward your right shoulder and then to the left shoulder slowly for another minute
- Repeat for a total of 10 minutes
Exercise 4: Back Curls
For this exercise, you will need some sort of soft matted floor like a soft carpet or a yoga mat.
- Lie down with your chest, pelvis, and knees touching the ground
- Bend your arms in a froglike manner so that your elbows are sticking out from the side of your chest
- Now try to put pressure on your arm and raise your chest to curl backwards, keeping your pelvis and your legs firmly attached to the ground
- Slowly try to do this curl and release to get to the ground state again
- Do this for 5 minutes to alleviate lower back pain
Exercise 5: Planks
Planks are very simple to do and can help your posture quite a lot. For doing planks, you need a soft surface as you can hurt your elbows. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your back that support your spine.
- Lie on your mat facing down
- Bend your elbows and bring them in under your chest
- Join your hand right below your head so that your forearms make an arrow shape
- Now, keeping your back as straight as possible, lift your body and put your weight on your toes and your forearms
- Try keeping your body lifted for as long as you can without stressing yourself
- You should be able to hold the plank position for 10-15 seconds at the start
- Try increasing your plank time bit by bit as you get more used to the exercise
- Do 5 reps everyday with 30 seconds to 60 seconds of rest in between
Exercise 6: Simple Knee Curls
These simple knee curls are great for those who may find the other exercises a bit too strenuous. While simple, they are great for stretching and activating your core back muscles on both sides of the body.
- Lie down on a comfortable but sturdy surface with a flat pillow for head support
- Put both of your arms under your right thigh and make a solid grip
- Now slowly stretch your right knee toward your chest with your hands as support
- Keep your back, head, and the other leg firmly attached to the ground
- Do this stretch for 2 minutes and switch legs
Exercise 7: The Cat-Cow Pose
This exercise is one of the most beginner friendly poses in yoga. Doing this for 10 to 15 reps can greatly increase your back strength and also amplify the movement of your spinal column.
- To get started, get down on your hands and knees, keeping your back straight
- Now, take a deep breath and as you do it, drop your lower back to the floor and try to look upwards by curling your neck and keeping your hips steady
- Now slowly exhale while looking down at the floor and raising your back to make a concaved shape
- Repeat the steps for 10 to 15 times
Other Ways to Relive Pain
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, you should consult your physician to get on a recovery plan as soon as you can. Maintaining a proper posture while sitting and sleeping obviously helps a ton.
For sitting, get a chair with a straight backrest and proper lumber support. For sleeping, you can use a specialized mattress for herniated disc to support your back. Following a good lifestyle plan can help you with this issue greatly.
It is strongly recommended that you don’t try to do any of these exercises if that clashes with your recovery plan prescribed by your physician. But if they don’t and you feel comfortable doing them, you should try out these herniated disc exercises for fast results and quick pain relief.