A neighbor of mine once told me “Getting old is not for the faint of heart,” and that’s always stuck with me.
After all, haven’t we all had one of those days where we wake up somehow having managed to injure ourselves in our sleep?
Or, if you’re like an old classmate of mine (who shall remain nameless), maybe there was a time you ate a big meal and a couple of hours later ended up taking yourself to the emergency room because you had not yet learned what heartburn felt like.
We’ve all been there.
And, like it or not, back pain is more likely than not something we’re all going to have to learn to prepare for and manage.
So, right here, right now, let’s start with lesson number one…
Simple ways to prevent a herniated disc.
Absolutely no one wants to deal with back pain.
Whether you’re living with pain today or looking to reduce your risk of injury and find ways to prevent a herniated disc in the future, you may be curious about how you can strengthen your spine.
And as the go-to provider of non-surgical spinal disc treatment in Rochester, NY, we’re here to tell you that you’ve come to the right place!
When it comes to fortifying your spinal discs, it’s wise to start with the body’s core -- the set of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support your spinal column and help your spinal discs move.
Why it Matters:
Your core needs to have a balance of strength and flexibility to perform at its best.
A strong core allows your body to have the support it needs to move, bend, and twist without causing injuries, and a flexible core is crucial to allowing the body to move well and through a full range of motion.
Together, these physical qualities help you keep your spinal discs healthy, just like movement-based care such as the adjustments we provide.
So, our top 3 ways to prevent a herniated disc include:
- Core exercises can help your back maintain a balance of strength and flexibility.
- Movement of the spine promotes the delivery of nutrients to the spinal discs.
- Spinal adjustments can improve your range of motion and help to decrease pain.
Ways to Prevent a Herniated Disc at Home
As noted in the list above, engaging in exercise to improve your core strength or to strengthen the abdominal, back extensor and rotator muscle groups can help you reduce your risk of spinal disc injury.
And in our time providing non-surgical spinal disc treatment in Rochester, NY, we’ve seen first-hand just how much of a difference incorporating and prioritizing core work can make in our patients’ spinal health.
The stronger your core is, the less load your disc sees with activities of daily living, ultimately lessening the risk of herniation, which is why we compiled the following list of ways to prevent a herniated disc at home.
We recommend the following exercises and stretches below and aiming for 10 repetitions of each and then repeating each 2-3 times a week.
- Start in a push up position, bend your arms, and support your body with your forearms.
- Keep your hips, legs, and torso in a straight line while tightening your abdominal and glute muscles.
- Draw your core muscles in at the level of your belly button and hold that position as long as you can.
- Get on all fours, making sure your spine is neutral (not arching up or down).
- Then, engage your core muscles and slowly reach forward with your right arm as you extend your left leg behind you.
- Hold for a breath and then slowly return your limbs to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise on the other side.
- Lie on your back with knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.
- Engage the muscles of the deep core and move into a bridge position by lifting your bottom off the floor. Instead of forcing your belly up by arching your back, try to maintain the natural curve in your lower spine.
- Lift your left foot off the floor and extend your left leg to maintain a straight line through your left heel.
- Return your foot to the floor and repeat with your right leg.
- Begin lying on your back with both arms extended towards the ceiling.
- Lift your legs off the floor to 90 degrees.
- Exhale to bring your ribcage down and try to flatten your back onto the floor by rotating your pelvis upwards and bracing your core muscles (this is the starting position for this exercise that you need to hold throughout the movement).
- Start the exercise by extending your left leg, straightening at the knee and hip and bringing the leg down to just above the floor (don’t let your lower back arch).
- At the same time, lower your right arm back to just above the floor.
- Keep your abdominal and gluteal muscles tightened and return your left leg and right arm to the starting position.
- Repeat with your right leg and left arm.
- Lie face down on a mat and place the hands on the floor or behind the head (more advanced).
- Contract the abs and keep them contracted throughout the exercise.
- Squeeze the back to lift the chest a few inches off the floor.
- Lower and repeat.
- Lie on the back with both legs flat against the floor.
- Lift the right leg, bending the knee toward the chest.
- Use both hands to pull the right knee toward the chest.
- Hold the right knee against the chest for several seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat with the left leg and then return to the starting position.
Kneeling Back Stretches
- Begin the exercise on the hands and knees, positioning the knees hip-width apart, with the shoulders directly over the hands.
- Round the back, pulling the belly button up toward the spine and tilting the lower back toward the floor. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Rock gently backward, lowering the buttocks as close as possible to the heels. Ensure that the arms are stretched out in front. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
- Rock gently back up to the starting position.
Modified Seat Side Straddle
- Sit on the floor with one leg extended to the side and the other leg bent.
- Keep your back straight and bend from your hips toward the foot of your straight leg. Reach your hands toward your toes and hold for 5 seconds.
- Slowly round your spine and bring your hands to your shin or ankle.
- Bring your head down as close to your knee as possible.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
It's been said that we don't get old and stiff, we get stiff then old.
The fundamental takeaway from our list of ways to prevent a herniated disc is that It’s much easier to keep your spine moving than to get your spine moving, and our practice is here to help you stay active, healthy, and happy!
If you’re ready to get serious about your spinal health or you’re looking for non-surgical spinal disc treatment in Rochester, NY, reach out to us today to schedule a visit whether it’s been awhile since your last adjustment or it’s time for your first.
Our expert team will work with you to assess your movement and create a plan of action to keep you pain-free and at the top of your game for years to come.
Our doors are open, and we’re here for you!
Exercise and Physical Therapy for Treatment and Pain Management. Spine-Health. 2006.
Exercise for Sciatica from a Herniated Disc. Spine-Health. 2019.
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