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Best exercises to do during a protruded disc recovery

The discs of the spine are highly specialized structures that cushion and bind vertebrae. During a lifetime, these discs take a literal pounding as they absorb shocks and prevent the bones from rubbing together. All that stress can and usually does take its toll, with most adults experiencing at least mild deterioration in one or more discs. The most common malformation is a protrusion of the annulus fibrosus, or outer wall. If a protruded disc extends beyond its normal circumference, it’s referred to as a bulging disc. If a tear has formed, it’s called a herniated or ruptured disc. A protruded disc can trigger a number of symptoms if it puts pressure on a nearby nerve root, including radiating pain, burning sensations and tingling or numbness along the route of the affected nerve.

Although the pain caused by a protruded disc can be severe, in many cases symptoms diminish on their own over the course of several weeks to a few months. And while the process of disc protrusion recovery will vary from patient to patient, there are several conservative treatment options that may speed your rehabilitation and protect against future injuries. One of the most effective is adopting an exercise routine that strengthens the muscles of the lower back so they better stabilize and support the spine. The following low-impact exercises are great for increasing strength and flexibility. Just remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any new training program.

  1. Single knee to chest. While lying on your back, place both hands behind your right knee and bring it slowly to your chest, holding it there for three seconds. Complete 10 repetitions before switching to your left leg.
  2. Kneeling hip flexor. Kneeling on a mat, bring your right knee up and place your foot flat on the floor with your knee over your ankle. Slide your right foot forward several inches, place your hands on your raised knee and shift forward while squeezing your gluteal muscles. Hold this position for 10 seconds before leaning back. Repeat 10 times and switch to the other leg.
  3. Pelvic tilt. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Your feet, buttocks, shoulders and head should be pressed firmly against the floor. Slowly exhale as you lift your pelvis and lower the small of your back toward the floor, eliminating the gap formed by the lumbar curve. Try for 10 reps.
  4. Half cobra pose. Lying on your stomach, slowly lift yourself up on your elbows while keeping your hips against the mat. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower yourself back to the floor. Gradually increase the time you’re holding the pose until you can do it for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a disc protrusion and conservative treatment strategies have been ineffective in managing your symptoms, you may be a candidate for one of the minimally invasive outpatient procedures offered by USA Spine Care. As part of the screening process, we offer free MRI reviews* for perspective patients. To learn more, contact a member of our team today.

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