Generally, “more exercise” is a fine answer for any questions about recommended ways to boost your physical health, and sometimes even your mental health.
Exercise gets your blood pumping, loosens up stiff limbs and joints, puts your muscles and other parts in motion, and creates happy endorphins – those natural painkillers everyone loves.
But there are certain medical conditions where the wrong type of exercise or movement can cause pain and damage. One of these is a herniated disc, where moving or shifting the wrong way, or putting too much pressure on the wrong spot, can cause further inflammation and nerve pain. Not to mention make it easy to not want to do any further exercise!
Whether you’re working with a provider for recommended stretches or following a home exercise routine, try to avoid the following movements until you get an all-clear to resume them again.
- Toe reach. Most exercise routines include the basic “stand, bend and touch your toes” which nicely stretches out your hamstrings and leg muscles. It’s generally a good way to build flexibility, but the forward, downward motion can put extra stress and pressure on a disc that’s already aggravated. Instead, as a way to try something less painful, try stretching out while lying on your back while leaning your leg on a doorframe and slowly stretching.
- Thrusting your back out while bending forward or grabbing something off of the ground can place extra pressure on any discs already in pain. As a substitute, try something that more resembles making a bridge, where you lie on your back and push your core muscles upward. Instead of rolling forward, a move which can hurt your spine, use your feet to push yourself up.
- Starting stretch. Some call it a “Good Morning,” others call it a “Salutation,” depending on your region and type of routine. While the basic “stretch your arms high and breathe” is a perfect place to start or end a session with, the second half of the exercise, which often involves bending at the hips but keeping your spine and legs straight, can cause pain and pressure on the lower back. A suggested substitute is to still bend forward slowly from your hips, but use a bed or a soft surface to place your hands on, while you slowly rock your body forward. This can support your torso, then you can move your hips and keep your lower back straight.
- Twist. Another common exercise to help flexibility is when you’re asked to pivot your torso sideways while keeping your legs straight. This move also can cause pain to lumbar herniated discs, and may be best avoided until your herniation is improved.
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, or suspect you may have one, contact Arkansas Pioneer Chiropractic Health Centre in Arlington, TX to discuss treatment options, including decompression therapy to reduce pain. Call us today to learn more and receive a free consultation!