Low back pain can stem from a variety of causes, one being disc herniations. Disc herniations occur when the soft disc gets pushed outward, irritating the nerves. We share our TOP 6 STRETCHES for DISC PAIN + provide a simple explanation to what is going on and what can help!
Between most of our spinal segments are highly hydrated and squishy discs that help our spine manage the forces. Discs make up about 1/4 of the length of your spine! As we age, our discs lose hydration and height, which is why some of us grow shorter with age. A disc herniation occurs when the squishy disc gets pushed outward. The bulging disc can compress the surrounding nerve roots which end up referring down your leg creating a lot of pain and muscle spasms.
Disc herniations can occur from a variety of activities [most often in flexion/forward bending]. However, most people can recall the exact timing of how or when they injured their back. Risk factors for disc herniation includes improper lifting techniques [exercising or day-to-day] and a sedentary lifestyle. With a disc herniation, you will experience sharp, stabbing, or even burning pain. Typically, the pain will be made worse with sitting and bending, unlike a muscle strain which is relieved by sitting. Symptoms can radiate down the leg, as the disc is pressing on our leg nerves!
Conservative care is recommended for disc herniations. In most cases, imaging isn’t necessary or warranted. It’s beneficial to seek out help in the first 6 weeks of injury to help manage pain. With chiropractic adjustments, we gap open the spinal segments, allowing space for disc. At CHIROFORMOMS, we actually have special chiropractic tables that allow for a unique flexion/distraction technique that can be really beneficial. As always, we also recommend active care at home [tutorial video]!
TOP 6 Stretches for Herniated Disc
1. Back extension: using your arms on a chair in front of you, raise your tailbone and allow your belly to drop. You can take it to the side for side body stretching.
2. Cat/Cow: while in table top position, flow through the two positions. This creates fluid ambition throughout your low back which keeps your discs healthy.
3. Seated Piriformis Stretch: Go into a figure four and cross your leg over the other leg. Pull up on the leg and twist your head to that same side looking over your shoulder. Extend through your low back, which isolates the muscle. The muscle is little but it's where the sciatic bundle tracks down.
4. Kneeling Iliopsoas: Get into a kneeling position, with something to lean on for stability. Twist and extend backwards. Look back over the shoulder thats the same side as your bent leg. The iliopsoas muscle starts in your groin and attaches to every lumbar vertebrae. This one is big for movement within the joint space - decompressing and taking pressure of the low back.
5. Relaxed Cobra: Belly is on the ground and you're inducing back extension. You are neutralizing your discs and taking pressure off. If this is painful stop and discontinue.
6. Classic bridge: When you are up in the bridge your back is neutral and you are lengthening hip flexors and strengthening your glutes! All of that will help with back pain. You are also stabilizing core and strengthening.
**Hold all of those for 5 seconds. If it feels good then hold a little longer! Directly following an injury, the disc may be too painful, so feel free to rest for a day or two, but after try to avoid long periods of sitting or slouching. Any core stabilizing exercises will be beneficial!**
*** As always, don't hesitate to reach out with questions /// thoughts surrounding this topic! ***