As people age, a number of health or medical conditions can lead to extreme pain and discomfort. These conditions can hamper the daily routine of the patient and can greatly limit the range of movement available to the person. Problems with the musculoskeletal system can particularly be distressing to older adults especially since treatments can take some time and may require the person to undergo therapy. One such condition is known as a slipped or herniated disc. Aside from pain medication and therapy though, people can also do some exercises to help with the aforementioned condition. In this article, we will look at some of the best exercises for a slipped disc.
Slipped Disc: A Brief overview
A disc that is herniated is also referred to as a ruptured disc or a slipped disc. This condition can happen when the center of the disc, particularly the soft jelly core, spills out of the disk’s exterior and can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Some of these painful symptoms include weakness, numbness, or tingling in an arm, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the foot or leg, arm pain that can be described as the shooting sort, pain in the neck, and pain in the back. Individuals with discs that are herniated will usually not require any form of surgical procedure. As such, healthcare professionals will usually recommend that the patient undergo some form of physiotherapy to address the symptoms of the herniated disc. These can include activities that can help alleviate pain, stretches, and exercises that are gentle.
While slipped discs can happen to any part of the spine and the neck, it will usually occur in back’s lower area or portion. A number of different physical activities can alleviate the symptoms of a slipped disc.
Exercise: Why Is It Beneficial For People with A Slipped Disc?
Herniated or slipped discs can be addressed by different forms of physiotherapy and exercises. Most healthcare experts will usually advise the patient to rest for a few days right after the occurrence of a slipped disc. Gentle exercises and activities have been shown to improve the strength of the muscles for spinal support and can aid in the reduction of the recurrence of the slipped disc. Healthcare professionals may also recommend that the patient start small and slowly build the levels of activity up. The doctor will also talk to the patient about certain exercises that the person can and cannot perform or accomplish within the period of recovery.
Some examples of activities that are gentle that can help improve a slipped disc or a herniated disc include cycling, walking, swimming, and yoga. These exercises should be conducted in a manner that is controlled and slows particularly when doing lifts or bends. These activities or routines should also be pain-free. If there is some pain, then the individual is advised to seek further medical advice from their doctor.
Slipped Disc Exercise Routines
Listed below are some of the different exercises for a slipped disc:
1. Pain in the neck exercises
Those with slipped discs will most probably experience pain in the neck if that portion is the one affected. Nerves experiencing pressure in and around the area of the neck can result in pain within the shoulder and neck muscles. It can also lead to pain in the arm that can be described as shooting pain. As such, patients can do simple neck stretches to alleviate this kind of symptom. Neck stretches can be accomplished by following the steps enumerated below:
- While sitting on a chair, ensure that your position is upright and gradually swing the chin to the breast before swinging it back to the headrest for some muscle stretching.
- Gently lower the left ear to your shoulder to the left, and lower the right ear to your shoulder on the right.
- This pattern can be done a couple of times or for a number of repetitions.
2. Exercises for the hamstring
If the individual’s lower spine is the portion affected by the slipped disc, then ensuring that the muscles of the hamstring are strong can aid in improving the and the core’s muscle support. Some popular hamstring exercises include:
- Seated chair stretches– Chair stretches should also be done in a manner that is gentle and along the length of the muscles of the hamstring.
- Sit down with one leg stretched straight out and pointing the heel of the foot to the floor
- Straighten the back and lean upfront until the upper thigh is stretched
- Hold the position for half a minute, then switch the legs.
- Repeat the process several times.
- Hamstring towel stretch– This can help individuals achieve a deeper stretch for the muscles.
- Lie on a yoga mat and lift one leg off the floor
- Wrap a towel around the foot of the raised leg, pull on the towel downward or move towards the body
- Hold the position for half a minute
- Switch the legs to be stretched before repeating a number of times.
3. Low back pain exercises
To add support and improve the supporting muscles of the lower back, the exercises enumerated below may be accomplished by individuals to address low back pain:
- Back flexion stretch– This kind of backstretch can help in stretching the muscles on the back and the spine. The patient is advised to seek their doctor’s advice before conducting the said exercise especially while recovering from some spinal injury.
- Lie on the back, pull knees towards the breast.
- Move the head toward the knees at the same time.
- Repeat the stretch several times.
- Knee to chest stretches – This kind of stretch can gently stretch the muscles on both sides of the body.
- Lie flat on your back
- Bend both knees with the foot flat on the floor.
- Place hands on one knee before pulling it towards the breast.
- Repeat the process.