Lumbar disc herniation can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs, although not everyone experiences symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation and are experiencing any of these signs, there are exercises that may help alleviate your discomfort. In this article, we will discuss some recommended exercises for lumbar disc herniation and provide detailed instructions on how to perform them effectively.
Factors Influencing Lumbar Disc Herniation
Lumbar disc herniation is primarily caused by the natural wear and tear of the discs over time. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this condition. These factors include:
- Excess body weight: Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on the discs in the lower back, increasing the risk of herniation.
- Physically demanding jobs: Jobs that require repetitive lifting, bending, or twisting motions can contribute to disc herniation.
- Genetic predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more susceptible to developing lumbar disc herniation.
- Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of disc degeneration, which can lead to herniation.
Recommended Exercises for Lumbar Disc Herniation
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from lumbar disc herniation, the following exercises may help alleviate your symptoms. It is important to maintain proper posture while performing these exercises.
1. Neck Extension
- Lie face down on a table or bed, allowing your head to hang over the edge with your neck in a straight line.
- Gently lower your head and let it hang for 1 minute.
- Rest and repeat this exercise 5 to 15 times.
2. Prone Stretch
- Lie on your stomach with your arms bent and your forearms resting on the floor.
- Push up with your forearms, keeping your hips in contact with the floor.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Repeat this stretch 10 times, gradually increasing the duration to 30 seconds.
3. Cat-Camel Stretch
- Position yourself on your hands and knees on a mat or cushion.
- Inhale and let your stomach drop while lifting your chin and chest towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and round your back, tucking your chin towards your chest.
- Repeat this movement for 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
4. Knee-to-Chest Stretch
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and both heels on the floor.
- Place your hands behind one knee and pull it towards your chest.
- Straighten the opposite leg and hold for a few seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat this stretch 10 times with each leg.
5. Bird Dog Exercise
- Start on your hands and knees, ensuring your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.
- Engage your core muscles and lift one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower your arm and leg.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times on each side.
Exercises to Avoid
While the exercises mentioned above can help alleviate symptoms of lumbar disc herniation, it is important to avoid certain exercises that may exacerbate your pain or cause further injury. Avoid exercises that involve heavy lifting or twisting motions, as well as exercises that require overhead weightlifting. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before starting any exercise program for lumbar disc herniation.
In conclusion, performing specific exercises can help alleviate discomfort caused by lumbar disc herniation. The exercises mentioned in this article, such as neck extensions, prone stretches, cat-camel stretches, knee-to-chest stretches, and bird dog exercises, can provide relief and improve mobility. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable exercises for your specific condition. Remember to maintain proper form and listen to your body's limits during exercise.