As is consistent with most conditions that involve back pain, gentle exercise is an essential part of treatment. A herniated disk, or bulged, ruptured, or slipped disk, is a painful condition. Disks in your spine are essentially shock absorbers, but they are often at the root of back pain. If you experience a herniated disk, the various exercises and movements in this article may provide relief from the pain.
Each disk has a soft jelly in the center, but it becomes herniated when that jelly slips past the tough exterior. You may not experience pain if a disk slips, but you will most of the time. Any disk in the spine can become herniated, and although it is a painful situation, it doesn’t require surgery. Common symptoms include shooting arm pain, back pain, neck pain, tingling or numbness in legs or feet, or tingling in one arm. Doctors recommend physical therapy or specific movements to treat the symptoms.
In order for healing to occur, you have to take it easy and avoid overexertion. Although resting and applying a cold pack can aid the recovery process, gentle movement is very effective at relieving pain. To help your spinal disk heal, experiment with the following movements.
Standing Overhead Reach
Helping to realign the disks, the standing overhead reach is a great place to begin your road to recovery and pain relief. To begin, stand up straight with your arms by your sides and feet hip-distance apart. Raise both of your arms over your head, but make sure to keep your shoulders down. Avoid bunching them up by your ears. Hold your arms above your head for two to three seconds to help stretch your middle and lower back. Lower your arms by your sides to return to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 10 times.
Seated Chair Hamstring Stretch
If you experience a herniated disk in the lower spine, strengthening and lengthening the hamstring muscles can help support your core and back. For a gentle hamstring stretch complete this seated chair variation. Sit on the edge of a chair, keep your back straight, and plant your feet on the ground. Extend your right foot slightly until your leg is straight and your right heel is on the ground. Lean forward over the right leg until you feel a stretch along the hamstring, ensuring that your back is straight and not rounded. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
Knee To Chest Stretch
Stretching both your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, this stretch is beneficial whether you have a herniated disk or general back pain. Carefully lie on your back and extend both of your legs out. Bring your right knee toward you and grab the outside of your shin with your hands. Pull your right knee closer to your chest until you feel a stretch in your back. Hold this position for five seconds and then release. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating until you complete five to 10 times per leg.
Standing Lumbar Extension
Lessen the pressure on the disks in your back and you can experience some relief. Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart and arms by your side. Put your hands on your hips and gently push your hips forward, extending your lower back. Hold this pose for two to three seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 10 times.
If you experience a herniated disk in the cervical region of the spine, then you have to stretch both the neck and back. Doing so helps to relieve pressure and pain. Sit up straight on a chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Tuck your chin to your chest and hold for five seconds, feeling the stretch in the back of your neck. Raise your head to return to the starting position. Tilt your head to the left, lowering your left ear toward your left shoulder. Do so without twisting your neck and hold this position for five seconds. Return to neutral position and then repeat on the right side, holding for five seconds. Repeat this sequence five to 10 times, two to three times per day.