Exercise can be one of the most beneficial things you can do when diagnosed with a low back disc compression. Certain exercises help increase blood flow, which can lead to healing and relief. Other exercises can increase your flexibility and strength of the back muscles and spine. Before starting any exercise program, consult with your physician.
Yoga incorporates both stretching and strengthening the joints and muscles of the back. The gentle movements of yoga can ease your pain while increasing range of motion and stability. Standing poses, sitting poses and lying poses are all utilized to improve posture. Because there are many types of yoga, work with a certified professional who has experience in training injured clients.
Low-impact aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the lower back area of injury. More blood flow stimulates healing. Grater blood flow also lubricates the area, which reduces stiffness and increases pliability. Avoid excessive weight-bearing aerobic exercises because these may exacerbate your pain. For aerobic exercise, choose biking, swimming or walking. Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes per day.
McKenzie exercises are a series of strengthening exercises aimed at improving the function of the lower back. McKenzie exercises focus on extension of the body and spine to reduce pressure and elongate the spine. These exercises also consequently improve the strength and mobility of the back, aiding in the ease of activities of daily living. Working with a certified McKenzie exercise specialist, like a physical therapist, may be your best option. These exercises include seated posture, standing posture, prone lying, press up, supine lying, knees to chest and flexion.
Stretching can increase your range of motion and ease the pain of a disc compression. When your muscles are more pliable, there is less stress on our spine. Try a back-flexion and knee-to-chest stretch. To do back flexion, lie on your back and simultaneously pull your knees in toward your chest and flex your head forward by lifting your shoulder blades off the ground. To do the knee-to-chest stretch, lie on the ground with legs extended. Pull one knee in at a time to your chest and hold it for the stretch.
It is normal to feel mild pain or discomfort when first starting these exercises. As your fitness and health progresses, the pain should begin to dwindle. Within weeks you should notice an improvement in pain and function. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, including one to treat your back.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Low Back Pain Fact Sheet; 2011
- Greater Baltimore Yoga: Hatha Yoga as Physical Therapy for Low-back Pain
- Spine-Health; Low-impact Aerobic Exercise; Peter F. Ullrich Jr., M.D.; 2009
- Spine-Health; Back Strengthening Exercises; Peter F. Ullrich Jr., M.D.; 2009
- Spine-Health; Pain Relief from McKenzie Treatment; Ted Dreisinger, Ph.D.; 2007
- Spine-Health; Back Pain Relief: Stretching to Relieve Back Pain; Peter F. Ullrich Jr., M.D.; 2009