Herniated discs are a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the back and legs. It occurs when the soft tissue inside the spinal column protrudes through a tear in the outer layer of the disc. While there are several treatment options for herniated discs, exercise can help improve symptoms and prevent further injury. In this article, we will discuss the five best core exercises for herniated disc that are safe and effective.
Main Causes Of Herniated Disc
A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are the top three main reasons for a herniated disc:
- Age-related wear and tear: As we age, the discs in our spine lose their flexibility and elasticity, making them more prone to injury. This age-related wear and tear can cause the outer layer of the disc to tear or rupture, leading to a herniated disc.
- Trauma or injury: A sudden impact or trauma to the spine, such as a fall or car accident, can cause a herniated disc. The force of the impact can cause the soft tissue inside the disc to protrude through a tear in the outer layer.
- Poor posture and body mechanics: Poor posture and body mechanics, such as sitting for long periods of time or lifting heavy objects incorrectly, can put excess pressure on the spine and cause a herniated disc.
Other contributing factors to herniated discs may include genetics, obesity, and smoking. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider if you suspect you may have a herniated disc, as prompt diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further injury.
The plank is an excellent core exercise for people with a herniated disc because it reduces the amount of pressure on the lower back. To perform a modified plank, start on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor. Extend your legs behind you and raise your body into a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax and repeat for three sets.
2. Pelvic Tilt
Pelvic tilts are a gentle exercise that can help alleviate lower back pain caused by a herniated disc. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly tilt your pelvis forward and backward, using your abdominal muscles to control the movement. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions, then rest and repeat for two more sets.
3. Bird Dog
The bird dog exercise is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and improve your balance. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your right arm and left leg simultaneously, keeping your hips level. Hold this position for three seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each side for three sets.
4. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is a simple yet effective exercise that targets the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, which can help alleviate lower back pain. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push your hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top. Hold for three seconds, then lower your hips back down to the floor and repeat for 10 repetitions. Rest and repeat for two more sets.
5. Dead Bug
The dead bug exercise is a great way to engage your core muscles without putting too much strain on your lower back. Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg towards the floor, keeping your lower back pressed firmly against the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each side for three sets.
Herniated discs can cause pain and discomfort, but incorporating these five core exercises into your fitness routine can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further injury. Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have a herniated disc. Remember to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. By doing so, you can safely and effectively strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall health and well-being.