Herniated Disc Part 2: The Best Exercises For Your Herniated Disc

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Have you gone over the Disc Herniation Part 1” article from last week and feel better but still have pain?

Do you want to find out the best exercises to put your herniated disc back in?

Do you want to feel better than you do now?

In this article I go over

  1. Best exercises to push a herniated disc back into place

  2. Stabilization exercises that keep your disc from coming out

Lumbar Disc Herniation-Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Lumbar Disc Herniation             From neurosciences.beaumont.edu

When you have a herniated disc the nucleus has been pushed through the annulus like in the picture above. What caused it to go out in the first place?

The answer is forward bending. Each time you bend forward your disc which is like a jelly/jam doughnut gets pinched at the front. Pinch the doughnut often enough or hard enough and the annulus breaks and the nucleus goes through and pushes on the nerve.

The disc is actually made of a hard cartilage on the outside, but the inside is relatively soft, like phlegm. You need to understand that with a disc or doughnut, they work in the similar way.

If you push on one side of the doughnut, the jelly gets pushed to the other side. Same with the disc so the analogy to a doughnut is pretty close.

When there is enough pressure on the nerve from a herniated disc or if there is inflammation you feel pain.

The solution is to push the doughnut to the opposite side. This is exactly how you can fix your herniated disc.

If you want to know more details about herniated discs, go to Disc Herniation Part 1: Best Self-Treatments To Help Your Lumbar Disc Herniation.

How Do I Put Pressure On The Opposite Side of the Disc?

The answer is you bend your spine backwards or put your spine into extension.

Best exercises to push a herniated disc back into place

Warning: You can get a little more pain while doing these exercises. If the pain is getting much worse or your pain goes further down the leg while you are doingthese exercises, stop right away

Lie face down or prone in bed with your elbows tucked in under your side:

  • As soon as you get up in the morning you should lie prone (face down). By getting in this position, your lower back becomes more arched, or as doctors say, you increase your lordosis.
  • The increased lordosis pushes on the back of the disc helping to bring the nucleus forward into the correct position.

Sphinx pose in Yoga or Prone Prop McKenzie

  • Get into the prone position lying down on your stomach.
  • Next get on your elbows. If you have a hard time with this position go back into the prone lying position.
  • Do these exercises holding each time for 1-2 seconds 6-8 times per set. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

Asses yourself. If the pain has decreased or pain has moved away from the leg or thigh and into the hip or buttock, this is an improvement. Even if the pain is increased in the back but relieved in the leg this is an improvement and a green light that you should continue this exercise. You also get a green light if there is no difference at all.

  • If your self-assessment gives you the green light, move onto the Cobra exercises just below.
  • If your thigh or leg pain is worse, then stop right away.
  • If your low back, thighs and legs are the same you get a green light, move on to the Cobra exercises.

Yoga Cobras or McKenzie Push-ups

 

  • Lie down face down with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Push up from as high as you can until your lower back stops you or your elbows are straight.
  • The pelvis should still be on the floor and the lower back muscles relaxed.
  • Do these exercises holding each time for 1-2 seconds 6-8 times per set. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

Asses yourself. If the pain has decreased or pain has moved away from the leg or thigh and into the hip or buttock, this is an improvement. Even if the pain is increased in the back but relieved in the leg this is an improvement and a green light that you should continue this exercise. If your thigh or leg pain is worse, then stop right away.

 

Standing Extensions

Herniated Disc Put your Disc Back In & Prevent Herniated Discs

Standing Extensions To Put your Disc Back In

  • Stand straight and put your hands behind your hips with your fingers facing down.
  • Push your hands into your pelvis so that your lower back arches.
  • Don’t use your lower back muscles
  • These exercises can be done 6-8 times for 1-2 seconds. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

 

Stabilization Exercises: Prevent Your Disc From Coming Out By Having A Stable Spine.

 

#1 The Cat-Cow or Cat-Camel

Cat Cow Herniated Disc Put your Disc Back In & Prevent Herniated Discs

  • On all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
  • Inhale and let your belly fall downwards toward the floor as you look up toward the ceiling for 2 seconds.
  • Exhale and arch your back up as far as it will go or until you feel pain. You should not feel pain with this exercise, otherwise you are going too high.
  • At the same time bend your neck forward and look toward your naval.

 

#2 Curl-Ups

Herniated Disc:Best ways to treat a Herniated Disc

Curl up to help strengthen your rectus abdominis i.e. Your Abs

  • To start, one foot is bent and the other is straight.
  • One forearm goes under your arch of your lower back to support it.
  • Other arm is supporting your head.
  • Your head and neck come up as one block, until your shoulder blades clear the floor.
  • Do three sets of 5 working your way up to 10. If it’s easy, then hold for a couple of breaths.

#3 Squats

How to Improve Posture-Chair Squats: Toronto Chiropractic Clinic

  • Stand in front of a chair as if you are going to sit on it.
  • Stand with your feet facing slightly more outward than your knee.
  • Make sure your butt comes out, and keep lowering you butt until you touch the chair.
  • Practice 3 sets of 10.
  • When you are stronger, take the chair away and go down until your knees are bent 90 degrees.

#4 Bird Dog

 

  • Get into a crawling position with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Harden your core by contracting your abs and lower back. This is called bracing.
  • Lift up your arm first. If this is easy, then lift your leg only. If that is easy, then lift the opposite legs and arms, for example right leg, left arm.
  • Want to make it tougher? Try lifting an arm and leg on the same side.
  • 3 sets of 10. If you are shaking a little or cannot balance quite right, you’re doing the right exercise for you, i.e.  lifting just the leg or arm might be easy, but lifting opposite arms and legs might put you off-balance a bit. Make sure you are stable before going to the advanced bird dog.

 

 

Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. This Toronto Downtown Chiropractor will answer all questions in the comments section.

 

References

 

1.  J Med Genet 2002;39:387-390 doi:10.1136/jmg.39.6.387


Author

Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

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