One common recommendation for treating the neck or back pain sometimes associated with a herniated disc is exercise. Many patients have achieved success in relieving their herniated disc symptoms with an appropriate exercise program. If you would like to try exercising as a way to relieve your neck or back pain, make sure to consult your physician or physical therapist. He or she will customize the exercise plan that’s right for you and your specific condition.
Typical herniated disc exercise recommendations include the following steps:
- First, receive medical confirmation of your herniated disc diagnosis. When first diagnosed with a herniated disc, you will probably be asked to rest for a couple of days before exercising.
- Do not perform any exercise or physical movement that could aggravate your herniated disc symptoms. Exercises that involve simultaneous bending and twisting of the neck or back can make symptoms worse.
- If you carry excess weight, it is important to become engaged in regular aerobic exercise and calorie control (as approved by your physician) to help you lose weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the spine and your damaged intervertebral discs.
- 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 pumps oxygen and nutrients to your herniated disc. This is believed to promote disc healing.
- Stretch to increase spinal flexibility and temporarily extend your spine, which can take pressure off your intervertebral discs and spinal nerves. Your physical therapist will recommend specific stretching exercises. Use extreme care, as improper stretching techniques can worsen symptoms.
- Try core stability exercises, which 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/or a licensed physical therapist.
If exercise and other conservative herniated discs treatments, such as physical therapy, injections 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, we offer minimally invasive procedures that have helped tens of thousands of patients find relief from pain. To find out if you are a good candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your MRI or CT scan.