Dr. Brent Wells
A herniated disc, also called a slipped disk, causes pain and discomfort that can range to mild to severe. A herniated disc occurs when a bit of the soft jelly located in the center of the disk slips out. When this happens, it can cause pain in the back, neck, shooting pain in the arm, numbness, weakness, and tingling in both the arms and the legs.
Although this can happen in the neck, a herniated disc typically happens in the lower back. The lower back is a sensitive area and often prone to pain, soreness, injury, and aches. Your lower back is an important part of your ability to walk, run, have good posture, perform exercises, and support your core and body as a whole. When an injury occurs in this area it can severely alter the quality of your life and prevent you from doing the things you love.
However, the good news is that there are a few different tips to strengthen your lower back to prevent a herniated disc from even happening in the first place. The key to keeping your back healthy in the first place is to do what you can to prevent pain and injuries from even happening at all.
In this post, we will explore to top ways to strengthen your lower back in an effort to prevent this common injury, so you can continue to live your life in a healthy and pain-free way!
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
When you have a herniated disc in the lower back, one of the first ways to identify if you have this condition is where the pain is located. You will feel pain in the lower part of your backbone right above your hip area. You may also experience the pain in your butt, your legs, and it can even travel down to your calves as well.
If you find the pain is getting worse when you walk, move, around, and exercise, it may indicate a herniated disc in the lower back. Surprisingly, if you have pain in the area when you cough and sneeze it can also point towards a herniated disc. This is because sneezing and coughing can put pressure on the area where the disk has slipped and the pressure on the affected area hurts.
Numbness and tingling in the area, plus the legs, can be a hallmark symptom for a herniated disc as well. If you are experiencing these systems, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor and to come up with a treatment plan. Most of the time getting herniated disc pain relief does not need surgery or any other more invasive treatments. Since this is most often the case, below are some of the best exercises that can strengthen the lower back and the muscles in the surrounding area, so you don’t slip a disc in the first place.
Having more flexibility in your back can go a long way to preventing a herniated disc. When you are more flexible you have a greater range of motion and are less prone to injury. The lower back takes a beating on a regular basis. We tend to sit too much, have bad posture, and do exercises like running and HIIT that can be abrasive for the lower back.
For an easy yoga pose that not only stretches the lower back but can also strengthen the area, try the half cobra pose. This pose is great in helping to prevent back pain, but it can also help ease back pain if you have found yourself with a herniated disc or other lower back injury.
Bridges is another exercise that is ideal for strengthening your lower back and can be done anywhere with no special equipment. While this exercise puts an emphasis on strengthening your glutes, your glutes actually contribute to the strength of your lower back as well since the areas are connected. Strong glutes will help to support your lower back and your lower back will have to work less to support your body when you also have strong glutes.
Bridges can aid with the prevention of a herniated disc since the exercises help to strengthen all of the large muscle groups in the area.
Planks work the entirety of your body, but they are particularly effective at strengthening the core, which plays a major role in supporting the lower back. A strong core is able to better stabilize your spine, which will prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Again, planks do not require any fancy equipment and can be done anywhere at any time. They are easy to incorporate into your daily workout routine. You can start small and hold a plank for twenty seconds and then work your way up to holding a plan for a minute or more! As your core and body strengthen the longer you will be able to hold the pose.
To get yourself off the floor and in a standing position, try the standing extension. This exercise will stretch your back, but it will also help build the muscle in the back, particularly the lower back. The exercise will lead to better posture, less hunching, and stronger muscles which all greatly contribute to preventing a herniated disc.
In the end, preventing a herniated disc simply requires exercise, a strong back, core, butt, and legs, plus good posture and less hunching. Lower back pain and slipped disc are very common, but there are simple ways to help prevent these common issues. Try out the tips above for strengthening your lower back and you will be well on your way to feeling stronger, happier, and healthier in no time.
About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Anchorage, Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.