Exercising with Degenerative Disc

Exercising with something as painful as degenerative disc disease can be very difficult and weight gain is discouraging to ones self esteem. Gaining weight can also make matters worst by putting stress on your spine and ligaments. Nature designed the spinal column and all of the connected muscles, ligaments, and tendons for motion, and limitations in the back’s range of motion can cause low back pain.

A regular routine of back exercises can prevent low back pain and/or reduce the severity and duration of any “flare-ups.” Controlled, gradual, progressive back pain exercises can help the back retain its strength and flexibility. Also, back movement promotes the delivery of nutrients to spine, keeping discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthier.

Prior to starting a new exercise program, it is always advised that patients first see a spine specialist who is trained in developing individualized back exercise programs and in instructing patients in using the correct form and technique for each exercise. Low back pain exercise regimens will vary widely depending on the patient’s diagnosis and level of pain. Some of the stretching exercises below may help alleviate low back pain.

Stretching to Reduce Low Back Pain:

•Hamstring stretches&lt. Researchers have noted a link between tight hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) and low back pain, although it’s not yet understood which way the causal relationship flows. However, it is known that hamstring tightness limits motion in the pelvis and can place it in a position that increases stress across the low back. Hamstring stretches often help ease the intensity of low back pain and the frequency of recurrences. There are a variety of hamstring stretching techniques that are gentle on the low back, such as sitting on a chair and placing one’s leg on another chair to gently stretch the hamstring.
•Psoas Major muscle stretching exercise. A tight Psoas Major muscle (in the front of the lower spine) also limits low back movement. This muscle can be stretched by kneeling on one knee and rotating the leg outward, tightening the gluteal muscles on the side being stretched, and leaning forward through the hip joint (rather than bending through the lumbar spine). A stretch should be felt in the front of the hip that the patient is kneeling on.

Strengthening the Low Back to Reduce Pain

Dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises help stabilize the the spinal segments. Good muscular control can help compensate for a degenerated disc and will reduce both instability and pain. Focusing on lumbar extensor muscles is most important.These exercises, which are best learned with a physical therapist, consist of the following:

•Finding the position the spine is most comfortable in neutral spine
•Educating the back muscles to keep the spine in the neutral position
•Maintaining the neutral position through a series of movements that apply more and more degrees of freedom of motion.

Low Impact Aerobic Conditioning

Aerobic exercises get the heart rate up and the blood flowing, but do so without jarring the spine. Aerobically fit patients will have fewer episodes of low back pain, and will experience less pain when an episode occurs. Patients with chronic low back pain who do not work on aerobic conditioning are more likely to gradually lose their ability to perform everyday activities. Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are gentle on the low back include:

•Water exercises (also called pool therapy or aquatic therapy)
•Stationery biking
•Walking (including walking on a treadmill)
Exercise, along with your laser therapy is sure to be a formula to success! Don’t wait, this is a progressive disease, and will get worst in time. Call and book your first consultation today and take your health into your own hands.

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