The role of a spinal disc is to provide a cushion between the vertebrae of your spine. When one of these discs slips out of place, the result is back in the lower back, with pain and numbness sometimes extending down into the legs with the constriction of the sciatic nerve. After the initial pain of a slipped disc has settled, you can carefully begin rehabilitation with exercise. Consult with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to begin an exercise program. Exercising without a doctor's consent may worsen a slipped disc.
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Lower Back Stretch
The lower back stretch can relieve tightness of the muscles around the spine that may be causing discomfort to your slipped disc. To perform a lower back stretch, lie on your back on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides and bend your knees. Rotate your knees over to one side as far as they can go, and hold the position for at least 20 seconds. Breathe normally, do not hold your breath. Once 20 seconds has passed, move your knees to the other side for another 20 seconds.
In addition to cardiovascular benefits, aerobic exercise is a low-impact way of strengthening the muscles of your back, glutes and legs. In particular, swimming has been shown to decrease back pain, according to the "New York Times Health Guide." Other options include jogging and riding a bicycle.
Abdominal strength is a major component of a healthy back, according to the Sports Injury Bulletin. To perform abdominal crunches, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Your hands should be at your chest. Contract your abdominal muscles to crunch the shoulders and head off the floor, then return to neutral position. Do not sit up all the way. Repeat for a total of 8 to 10 repetitions.
Supermans strengthen your abdominal muscles and your glutes. To perform a superman, get down on all fours. Both knees and both hands should be touching the ground in a neutral position. Slowly extend your left arm straight forward. At the same time, raise your right leg and extend it straight backwards. Hold the position for three seconds and then do the other side. Perform 8 to 20 repetitions per side.
Lie on your stomach on the floor. Prop yourself up on your elbows, then raise up to your toes so that only your elbows and toes are touching the ground. Keep your back straight, do not let your hips dip or curve. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Lie face down on the ground with your hands behind your head. Raise your chest and head off the ground while simultaneously contracting your glutes to raise your legs. Lower, and repeat for 8 to 10 repetitions.
- SportsInjuryBulletin.com: Lower Back Injury Prevention and Lower Back Pain Rehabilitation Exercises
- New York Times Health: Herniated Disc: Exercise and Physical Therapy: Herniated Disc Health Information
- University of Michigan Medical: About the University of Michigan Health System: (click on Low Back Pain Exercises pdf)
- National Institutes of Health: Herniated Disk: Medline Plus