Exercises to reduce symptoms from a herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when the spine is compressed and causes the disc in between two vertebrae to crack, leaking inner disc fluid into the spinal canal. This is often a condition related to the natural aging process and can be treated through conservative methods such as exercise and lifestyle changes.

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, you should consult your physician about an exercise plan that will help relieve the pain and symptoms caused by your herniated disc.

Causes of a herniated disc

The natural aging process combined with the stress of everyday movement is the leading cause of herniated discs. Herniated discs often occur in the lumbar (lower) spine because it is responsible for supporting so much of the body’s weight. Over time, the discs become drier and lose elasticity, making them less able to withstand the pressure they are being placed under every day. A herniated disc occurs when a crack or tear develops in the outer layer, causing inner disc material to be pushed out into the spinal column.

If the jellylike disc fluid compresses a nerve in the spinal canal, the result can be both local and radiating pain in the back and extremities. For patients diagnosed with a herniated disc, there are several treatment options available to help you find pain relief.

Exercises to treat a herniated disc

Certain exercises can help improve the pain caused by a herniated disc in the neck or back by building the muscles around the spine to relieve pressure. Consult your doctor before you begin any exercise routine to treat your herniated disc. You should also tell your doctor if you experience any pain or discomfort during or immediately after your exercises.

Some commonly recommended exercises to treat a herniated disc include:

  • Chest raise. Lie on the floor on your stomach. Your legs should be straight on the floor and your arms should be tucked close to your side and bent at the elbows, allowing your hands to rest directly under your shoulders. Slowly push your chest up from the floor and rest your weight on your elbows. Keep your hips and legs pressed against the floor. This exercise will stretch the back and strengthen your core muscles to help support your spine.
  • Cat and cow. This exercise combines two yoga poses to help simultaneously stretch and strengthen the back. Start on your hands and knees. Take a deep breath and lift your head and neck toward the ceiling, allowing your stomach to push down and your back to arch. Exhale and round your back upward, letting your head tilt down to look at your hands and your belly button to be raised slightly higher than your hips. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Conservative treatment, such as exercise, can often be combined with other methods like pain medication or chiropractic therapy. Work with your doctor to find the right combination of treatments for your needs.

Minimally invasive surgery for herniated discs

In the event that you do not find lasting pain relief from conservative treatments, surgical treatment for your herniated disc may be recommended.

At Laser Spine Institute, we provide minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures. Depending on the severity of your herniated disc, you may be recommended to undergo a minimally invasive decompression surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. For more information about the surgical treatments we offer for a herniated disc, please contact our caring team today. We are here to help guide you to the best treatment option to help you find lasting pain relief from your herniated disc.

To determine if you may be a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your no-cost MRI or CT scan review* today.

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