Herniated disc exercises can be helpful or harmful, so it’s important that you follow some basic guidelines for exercising with this condition. This article will discuss some simple exercises that you can do for herniated disc healing, but before we can discuss that, we need to briefly discuss how a spinal disc functions so these recommendations make sense.
The discs of the spine are cushions that separate each set of bones in the back. Their primary function is to act as shock-absorbers, which prevents the bones from absorbing this shock and helps you avoid quite a bit of pain.
Each disc is made up of two parts – a strong outer covering called the annulus, and a soft jelly center called the nucleus. This structure basically resembles a jelly doughnut.
When a person has a herniated disc, the strong outer covering of the disc tears and the jelly begins to shift out of the center into the area where the disc is weakest. This creates a bulge in the disc, which applies pressure to the nerves of the spine.
This is actually why this condition is so painful and debilitating – the nerves of the spine control everything in the body, so when they have pressure applied to them, not only is it painful, but whatever they control in the body will begin to malfunction.
One of the most difficult things about healing a herniated disc is the fact that the discs of the spine do not receive a good amount of blood flow. The body normally depends on the blood to transport oxygen and nutrients to an injured area for faster healing.
However, because the discs of the spine do not receive a lot of blood flow, they can be very stubborn and frustrating to heal properly.
This is actually a very important point to discuss when talking about herniated disc exercises, because the discs of the spine receive their oxygen and nutrients in a very different way. Remember how we were discussing the fact that each spinal disc has a jelly center?
Well, this jelly center is very important, because the disc will actually store oxygen and nutrients in this jelly for proper healing. So, one of the exercises we’ll be discussing will be helping to replenish this oxygen and nutrient supply so you can experience faster healing.
Alright – now that we have that background, it’s time to talk about some specific herniated disc exercises you can do. I’m actually going to give you a routine that you can do, which I use in my clinic for the fastest and best results.
The first exercise I will recommend will require the use of a mini-trampoline, which is a small trampoline that’s about 4 feet wide. They’re very inexpensive, and you can find one at most sports stores.
However, you will not be using the trampoline in the way you may imagine – in other words, you will not be jumping on the trampoline. Basically, I’m going to recommend that you simply stand in the center of the trampoline and march in place. This should be a very controlled movement, and you want to make sure you keep your head looking straight ahead and your arms at your side when you are marching.
This exercise should be done for 5 minutes every day. The goal of this herniated disc exercise is to improve your balance, which strengthens the smallest muscles around the spine. When you strengthen these muscles, it not only balances the spine, but it removes pressure from the discs, allowing them to heal more quickly.
The next exercise I’ll recommend involves the use of a therapy ball, which is one of those large balls you see in health clubs or physical therapy clinics. Basically, you just want to sit on the ball, and gently bounce up and down, keeping your head looking forward and your arms to your side.
This exercise should be done for 5 minutes every day, and it’s best that you do it immediately following the trampoline exercise we just discussed. This exercise is actually the most important one I’ll be discussing today, because this is the one that’s going to help bring new oxygen and nutrients to the injured disc for faster healing.
Basically, when you bounce on the ball, you are pumping every disc in the spine. This pumping action (called imbibition) is literally pumping new oxygen and nutrients into the disc, and pumping toxins from the injury out of the disc.
Finally, we need to discuss stretching and strengthening herniated disc exercises. Stretching should also be done every day, but I recommend that you do your stretches immediately after you do the trampoline and ball exercise. These exercises combined will act as an excellent warm-up and prepare your muscles for your daily activity (which reduces the risk that you will re-injure your herniated disc).
Strengthening exercises, on the other hand, need to be done just 3 days per week. These exercises are a little more aggressive, so I don’t recommend you begin these until you’ve been doing the stretches for two weeks. The stretches will prepare you for the strengthening exercises, and you should always stretch before strengthening.
In other words, I would recommend that you do the trampoline exercise, then the ball exercise, then stretch, and finally strengthen. This routine will gradually warm up the area around the herniated disc, which ensures the fastest result.
There isn’t enough room in this article to provide you with specific stretching and strengthening herniated disc exercises, but if you visit http://www.HealYourBulgingDisc.com, you can find more information about specific stretches and strengthening exercises there.
Dr. Ron Daulton, Jr. is a chiropractor, a national speaker, and author. Visit http://www.HealYourBulgingDisc.com for more info.
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