It’s not unusual for back pain to be caused by a “herniated” or “prolapsed” lumbar nerve disc. The problem can cause severe pain, including sciatica, numbness and tingling in the lower back, as well as throbbing and tingling in your legs. However, it isn’t uncommon for the problem to cause no symptoms.
Spinal discs, soft, rubbery pillows that provide padding between vertebrae, are also known as spinal discs. Their structure is often compared with a jelly-doughnut. A hard outer surrounds a soft interior. The disc bursts or herniates when the casing cracks and the filling pushes into the outer wall. It presses on the sensitive spinal cords.
Your doctor will need to make the diagnosis. Sometimes surgery is necessary. But many can prevent or reduce their symptoms by engaging in exercise and strengthening the right muscles. It is important to strengthen the lower abdominal area, but that’s only part of lower back wellness. Talk to your doctor or physical therapy if you have a herniated distal disc. A complete exercise program can be arranged for stretching and core-strengthening.
What is the bulging disc?
A bulging disc is when the outer disc of a spinal disc is weakened and protrudes out of its normal location. The spinal cartilage’s inner nucleus is liquid-like and finds the weakest points of the disc. It then balloons out. Although it causes minimal pain, this swelling can cause serious injury if left untreated. If left untreated, the bulge may cause serious discomfort by putting pressure on nearby nerves. Most commonly, people feel a bulging or herniation in the lower spine.
What to avoid
Because the disc protrudes posteriorly it is crucial to limit spinal flexion. Exercises that include spinal flexion may worsen the symptoms. This is due to the possibility of disc damage from further spinal flexion.
Symptoms for Herniated Lumbar Disc
- Lower back Pain (typically the first symptom).
- Leg pains (traveling up and back)
- Leg numbness/tingling (traveling pain).
- Leg weakness
- It is more painful to sit than to suffer from pain
- Restricted trunk flexion
- Sciatica pain (Pinched Nerve)
Be aware that a herniated disc doesn’t always cause pain. It is best to seek proper diagnosis.
Important: This is an extremely rare sign of lumbar Disc Herniation. It can also cause loss of bladder control. This syndrome is caused when the spinal nerve roots are compressed and should be treated immediately.
What does a Herniated Disc feel like?
Lower back pain is usually the first sign of lumbar disc damage. This will often last for a few more days, then it will subside. However, leg pain and numbness or weakness in the lower extremities may follow. Typically, the leg pain travels below your knee and can even affect your ankle and foot.
How long does pain last? Most patients who have lumbar disc injuries will notice a gradual improvement in symptoms over the course of days to week. Most patients will feel pain-free within 3 to 6 months.
Core Exercises for Herniated Disc
A study of 63 men with herniated spines found that those who participated in a 12-week lumbar spine stabilizer exercises (LSSE), experienced a significantly greater reduction in their pain than those who only did general exercise. The LSSE group did prone planks, pelvic crosses, side bridge alternate arms/leg raises, curl-ups, and pelvic Bridges.
Good for Spine and Abs
Abdominal Draw In
Include the abdominal drawing into your ab workout using a herniated-disc. This exercise works not only the abdominis rectus, but also the internal and outer obliques. It also engages the transverse abdominis (the deepest abdominal muscles). The draw in, which is particularly recommended for lower back problems, can be done either standing or lying flat. However it is more effective when performed while standing.
It involves slowly drawing in the lower abdominal and then drawing the pelvic muscles up to contract with the lower stomach. Breathe normally during the exercise. The draw in, also called the vacuum, involves contracting the transverse abdomen, which in turn flattens and flatters the lower abdominals.
While curls are great for abdominal exercises to relieve lower back problems, they also work the upper part of your rectus abdominis. Reverse curls are able to engage the lower portion of your abs better. To perform a reverse curl, lay on your back and cross your arms across your chest. Flex your hips and knees to 45 degrees. You can raise the lower half of the body, including the buttocks, as high as you like. Turn them over on the mat for one more time.
Avoidance of Ab Exercises
Your ab exercises for a herniated sock should not include any of the following:
- The use of sit ups can put a lot of pressure on the neck and spinal discs. They can also sprain cervical ligaments or cause disc damage.
- Double leg lifts — They hyperextend your lower back by straining your hip flexors. Single leg lifts are recommended with the opposing knee flexed.
What exercises are safe to perform?
Superman or McKenzie press
An extension exercise is the safest and best option for a posteriorly herniated spinal disc. Because of the increased pressure, the leaked substances will be pushed back into the correct position in the spinal column.
Superman involves lying on your stomach and lifting your hands off the ground. Depending on your skills, this position will last for 30 seconds to an hour. McKenzie pressing is like a yoga “upward facing” dog. To begin, you will need to lie on your stomach pressing your hands into concrete. You can then extend your hips backwards and keep the hips flat on the ground. You can do this exercise in pulses, or statically.
Static abdominal exercise is great for strengthening your entire core and stabilizing your spine. The heel tap will get you to lay on your back flat with your knees bent. Once you’re in this position, you can lower one heel at once to the ground. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back toward the floor. When performing this exercise, you should not allow your lower back to arch. When lowering your heel to the floor, try to keep your back as straight as possible.
Glute Bridges are a safe, effective exercise for the lower body to strengthen the glutes. These muscles help to limit lower back pain by stabilizing sacral nerves. Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart while lying on your back. Keep your hips lifted off the ground, so that your shoulders, hips and knees align in a straight line. Keep your glutes tight at the top of this movement.
Decompression of the Spine
How it helps – You should first treat bulging discs with spinal decompression. This is because it creates space between vertebrae which, in turn, relieves disc pressure.
How to do it
- Hang your body from a barre or the top of an open door.
- Hang for 30 seconds and perform three sets.
- Slowly release from this position so as to not cause spasms.
** This shouldn’t cause any pain. If you feel pain while doing it, it is not a good choice. Instead, try these exercises.
How it works – This standing stretch reverses the damage done to your discs by poor posture, repeated flexion and bending of the spine (e.g. bending in bad posture).
How to do it
- Stand up straight and maintain a good posture.
- Now, place both of your hands on your lower back.
- Now, with the help of your hands, lift your pelvis up and extend your spine.
- Your neck should be extended towards the ceiling.
- Start with 10 repetitions. Do 2-3 sets.
- This one is especially great for when you’re tired of working at your desk.
- This should not cause pain. If you feel any pain, this is not the exercise for you. Instead, try these exercises.
Half Cobra Pose (Prone Lumbar Extension)
How it helps: The Half Cobra Flex pushes disc material toward the center of the intervertebral disc, which facilitates healing. “Centralization of symptoms” is achieved by repeated lower back extension. In other words, pain that travels down the affected leg should travel up the back to relieve it.
How to do it
- Begin the exercise by lying on your stomach (prone posture) and gradually lift yourself up onto your elbows, keeping your hips in contact with the ground.
- For 10-15 seconds, keep the prop-up in place before you return to the prone or face-down position.
- Gradually increase to the final position for 30 seconds. Ten repetitions are recommended.
** It is possible to not tolerate this position initially. Therefore, it is important that you take it slow and carefully. Try another exercise if it causes pain.
Full Cobra Pose: Advanced Extension
How it helps: This stretch uses the same principle of the half Cobra pose. This advanced extension allows disc material to be pushed back towards the center. It is intended to reduce pain symptoms.
How to do it
- Once you’ve mastered this pose, you will be able to move on to the difficult version.
- Begin by lying on one side, face down.
- Now press your hands into your chest and gently push your arms up.
- Maintain the prop-up pose for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times.
- If it feels good, you might hold this pose for longer (20-30 seconds).
**If you feel pain, this exercise may not be for you. In such cases, it is best to stop and start doing other exercises.
How it helps – This herniated disc exercise is very popular. Combining two yoga poses, a cat-cow strain can help to relieve pressure from the herniated spinal disc. It opens the intervertebral disc space. It may speed up recovery by increasing mobility and alleviating disc herniation pain.
How to do it
- Now, start this stretch by placing your hands on your knees.
- Breathe in and let your stomach drop to the floor.
- Next, gaze up towards the ceiling.
- This is how to exhale while slowly rotating your spine.
- Next, press your hands into concrete with your fingertips and turn your neck slightly to see your feet.
– Try to do 10 repetitions. Do 2 sets.
This is a great exercise to increase core strength, lumbar and back muscles.
How to do that
- Start by laying on your hands and knees.
- Place your hands under your shoulders, and your knees below your hips.
- Before you start any movement, brace (contract!) the core of your body.
- Bracingly raise your left elbow and extend it forwards towards your torso. At the same time, kick your right foot backwards toward your torso until it is aligned.
- Do not arch your low back when doing this.
- Continue to hold this position for about 2-3 seconds before slowly returning back to the starting place.
- Continue the procedure with your right arm, and your left leg.
- Alternate sides to complete 10 repetitions.
** Please extend your arm and leg only to the point that it is comfortable. Don’t arch your lower back.
This exercise can be used to strengthen both your deep core as well as your gluteal muscles.
How to do that
- Begin by lying on your stomach.
- Engage your core by lifting your body up so that your forearms are in line with your toes.
- Ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position.
- Maintain the plank position in place for 20-30 sec.
- After that, lower your body to the floor.
- Do 2-5 repetitions of the exercise.
** Remember to keep your back straight throughout this exercise.
Other treatment options for herniated discs
- Rest: Sometimes a few days of relaxation will be sufficient to relieve severe pain from lumbar spine herniation. It’s important not to rest for any longer than this, as it can make the problem worse and cause stiffness.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: drugs such as naproxen (or ibuprofen) can reduce inflammation and ease pain.
- Physical therapy: Specific exercises are performed to improve range-of-motion and strengthen muscles in your lower spine and core to reduce pain and prevent you from re-injuring yourself.
- Spinal manipulation: Manipulation of the lower spine joints can improve range of motion or decrease pain.
- Massage therapy may increase blood circulation, relax muscles, and help with pain relief.
- Injections of epidural corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are injected into the affected region to reduce inflammation and ease pain.