Previously, I shared with you some aspects of healing a herniated disk – emotions, nutrition, hydration. Now it’s time for a very important part of the treatment – exercising. This is an essential part not only of restoring our back’s health, but also of keeping our back muscles in shape in order to prevent further issues.
The back needs movement and stretching to be healthy. The main flaw in the convention treatment of herniated disks is that doctors usually talk you out of exercising.
I remember once speaking to my doctor about yoga. I asked her if that was a good option. She just started laughing: “Oh, dear, you need to come to your senses! This is incurable. You are going to live with this for the rest of your life. And stay away from the gym or any other type of exercises. It will get worse!” But fortunately, I did some research and found out that many people suceeded in relieving their issue by stretching and strenghtening their muscles. I even talked to a physical rehabilitation therapist and he strongly advised that without exercising, another disk incident might be inevitable. After all, the guy had been working in this field for many years and had seen many similar cases. Remember the man from the previous article – the one that healed his back by working out? I didn’t mention that he was a taxi-driver. He had been driving for many years and the result was not one, but multiple herniated disks along the spine – simply because his back muscles were not in shape due to the constant sitting position. So, let’s get going!
There are many types of exercises for people with herniated disks. I, of course, am a big fan of yoga, because it helped me tremendously to recover from this condition. Here are some very beneficial yoga poses for the back:
– Cat/Cow pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana) – perfect for beginners. Here is how it is done.
– Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana) – this one needs a little more practice to achieve its full benefit. But the good thing about yoga is that the path is equally effective as the goal.
– Standing forward bend (Padahastasana) – also very beneficial for the proper blood flow into the head and also good for the eyesight.
– Cobra and Upward facing dog (Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) – they look very similar, but are not the same. Choose your favorite or even better – do them both, because they are very good for your back. Here is the proper execution:
– Locust pose and Bow pose (Salabhasana and Dhanurasana) – these asanas are very tough, but if we want to strengthen the muscles on the back, these poses are essential. At first it may be difficult to hold the poses, but don’t worry, the body will respond with practice. Don’t try to overdo the poses and listen to your body.
– Half Camel pose (Ardha Ustrasana) – the full Camel Pose is very difficult, so I would advise you, if you are a beginner to start with Half Camel. Do the asana on both sides and hold it as long as you feel comfortable. Just make sure you put extra cushion under your knees to keep them from hurting.
– Sitting Half Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) – if you remember my previous post about detoxing the liver, you may recall this yoga posture. But after doing this twist for a while, I noticed that it really helped my back feel more flexible and strong. The pose is worth repeating:
– Hanging – another very good exercise (not a yoga pose :D) that you can do to relieve the tension on the spine is simple – hanging. Yes, you heard it correctly! When we hang on our hands, the disks take a break from supporting our weight. It also helps us stretch and relax our backs. Pull-up bars at home or at the gym are excellent for this purpose. If you have access to a Swedish wall, even better! At first, start by hanging on your hands as long as you feel comfortable. Later on, you can try to swing on the sides a little bit in order to further stretch the spine. This is an awesome exercise and should not be underestimated!
If your are not a fan of yoga, feel free to do your research and find your best workout that will suit you! There are many options available!
Next, we will continue to explore more options in restoring our back’s health and relieving back pain..