Exercise is often recommended for treating the back or neck pain and other discomfort caused by a herniated disc. Many patients have achieved success in relieving their herniated disc symptoms with an appropriate exercise program. Your doctor and your physical therapist will customize the exercise plan that’s right for you and your specific condition.
Typical exercise recommendations targeting the back and neck pain associated with herniated discs include:
- First, receive medical confirmation of your herniated disc diagnosis. At that time, you will probably be asked to rest for a couple of days before exercising.
- If you carry excess weight, it is important to become engaged in regular aerobic exercise and calorie control (as approved by your doctor) to help you lose weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the spine and your damaged intervertebral discs.
- Do not perform any exercise or physical movement that could aggravate your herniated disc symptoms. Exercises that involve simultaneous bending and twisting of the back or neck can make symptoms worse.
- Stretch to increase spinal flexibility. Your physical therapist will recommend specific stretching exercises. Improper stretching techniques can worsen symptoms.
- Your physical therapist may recommend the use of a mini-trampoline or a stability ball. When you stand on a mini-trampoline or sit on a stability ball and bounce gently for about five minutes every day, your body to pumps oxygen and nutrients to your herniated disc. This promotes disc healing.
- Core stability exercises are aimed at strengthening the entire body. This may involve sit-ups to strengthen the abdominal muscles, which, in turn, support the back. Yoga and Pilates also involve stretching for flexibility and help to strengthen back and abdominal muscles.
Remember not to engage in any exercise program for herniated discs or any other physical condition without first consulting with your physician and a licensed physical therapist.
When exercise and other conservative herniated discs treatments, such as physical therapy and over-the-counter medications, fail to help you, traditional disc surgery is sometimes the next step. Traditional open-back surgery, however, is not your only option for addressing disc pain. At Laser Spine Institute (LSI), we offer minimally invasive endoscopic procedures that have helped hundreds of patients become free from pain. To find out if you are a good candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, contact us at LSI today for a free MRI or CT scan review.