Do you suffer from excruciating back pain? Take relief in the fact that you are not alone! Over 80 percent of the adult population suffers from back pain owing to different reasons. Many also suffer from the problem of herniated discs that is now more commonly noticed and reported by people.
So, how can one treat herniated discs? Yoga has the solution. Would you like to know more? Read on!
Herniated Disc – A Brief:
Herniated disc can be a very painful condition. It occurs when the discs placed between your vertebrae tear, and the interior of the disc protrudes. This pressurizes the adjacent nerves. In simpler terms, when the intervertebral discs become compressed and begin to bulge outward (herniation) or in certain cases rupture, it causes severe lower back pain (1).
When you are afflicted with this painful condition, both the legs and back are affected. The pain gets aggravated by movements and intensity can vary from one person to another. As it is, herniated disc may occur in any part of your spine, but the lumbar spine gets affected in most instances.
[ Read: Yoga Asanas To Cure Kyphosis ]
Causes Of Herniated Disc:
The main causes are:
- Degeneration of the spine with age, wear and tear.
- Accident and resultant injury.
- Sports related injuries.
Treatment Options For Herniated Disc:
There are several treatment options that doctors suggest for treating this condition. Non-surgical procedures are attempted first. Pain medications are given, and changes in diet are also advised. Exercises and yoga poses can bring significant relief from the pain, as it has been seen. Surgery is attempted as the last option. Only one out of ten are suggested surgery, and this is done when they do not see any improvement even post a whole month’s treatment (2).
NSAIDs are often applied to reduce pain as are ice packs. Experts today also recommend yoga to strengthen the back. This form of exercise not only helps strengthen the back, but is also a great way to stretch and keep your back flexible (3).
Experimental treatment options such as endoscopic discectomy and electrothermal disc decompression may also be suggested to certain patients (4). But we strongly recommend that you take a second opinion before resorting to such treatment plans, that may at times do more harm than good.
Why Opt For Yoga To Get Relief From Herniated Disc?
Is yoga good for herniated disc? Specific yoga poses, when performed under care and expert supervision, can bring victims of Herniated disc effective relief from the excruciating pain. Several yoga experts like B.K.S. Iyengar have recommended some special yoga poses for patients with this condition.
Studies also suggest that those suffering from a herniated disc will benefit greatly from simple movements that emphasise the extension of the bones (5). Like you already know, yoga has a number of stretching exercises that are bound to give herniated disc patients immense relief from acute pain while at the same time help strengthen the bones in the back.
Yoga For Herniated Disc:
There are quite a few yoga poses for herniated disc patients that can bring relief from this medical condition. These are Seated Forward Bend, Locust Pose, Cobra Pose, Bridge and Camel Pose. A few inverted yoga poses like Forearm Stand and Shoulder Stand can also be good for the patients.
1. Camel Pose:
- To get into the camel pose, kneel on the floor and then keep both hands on your hips.
- The top part of your feet should be on the mat. Now, lengthen your spine.
- Slowly bend backwards while placing both hands on your heels.
- Stretch out your neck and bend the head backwards.
- Next, slide both hands to the soles.
- Stay in this posture for a few seconds.
2. Locust Pose:
This pose helps stimulate blood circulation and enhances flexibility.
- At first, lie on the floor on your belly. Use a soft padding if required.
- Your arms should be stretched along the body. Rest your forehead and face on the floor.
- As you breathe in, lift your chest, head, legs and arms off the ground.
- Ensure your legs are straight and arms remain flat on the sides.
- Next, spread your toes and fingers. Focus on inhaling.
- Stay in this pose for a few seconds.
[ Read: Yoga Poses To Treat Sciatica ]
3. Cobra Pose:
This back bend exercise strengthens your shoulders, arms and stretches muscles in the front section of the torso.
- Lie on the floor with both palms flat and kept beneath your shoulders.
- The feet tops need to be flat on the floor.
- Then engage your abs by drawing the belly button inwards and tilting your pelvis section.
- Now, press your palms and spread the fingers.
- Bring your shoulders backwards.
- Then push your body’s upper part off the surface and keep your arms straightened.
- Your feet, hips and legs need to be planted firmly on the floor.
- Tilt your chin upwards and lift the chest.
- Remain in this pose for a few seconds.
How To Use The Yoga Poses For Pain Relief:
The backward bending yoga poses help in strengthening your posterior ligaments as well as muscles that keep the damaged disc in its position. Regular practice of such yoga poses aid in making the spine stable and fit.
To get relief from acute pain caused by the disc, asanas like makarasana and matsyakridasana can be tried. You can try them on a bed. They can relieve the pressure on damaged nerve roots. As the pain reduces, you can switch to the backward bending yoga poses, say the experts. When the pain is less, you can start doing Bhujangasana or Cobra pose. After some time, you can also try yoga poses like Ardha shalabhasana, Poorna shalabhasana and Dhanurasana. After practising the poses, you need to rest in shavasana. Ideally, you should practice these poses in the morning.
After you are diagnosed with a herniated disc, you can begin with easy yoga poses like those mentioned above. However, for the first few months, forward bending poses should not be tried as doing so can make the condition worse. Similarly, you should refrain from trying the cross-legged sitting postures as they can lead to pressure on the nerve root.
[ Read: Yoga Asanas To Reduce Scoliosis ]
Making Changes In The Diet:
While practicing yoga poses can bring you relief from pain caused by herniated discs, you need to watch your diet. A semi-solid diet that has plenty of vegetables is highly advisable. Evade having too much meat, fat-laden dishes and eggs during this time.
You should stick to the recommended yoga poses and safer exercises during the recovery period. A trained and veteran physical therapist can aid you in mastering the proper exercise technique. You can also resort to DIY, yoga lessons and video tutorials for this purpose. While the safer yoga poses are not likely to cause any problem, if you feel the pain is being aggravated by a pose, stop doing it.
Have you ever tried yoga for herniated disc relief? Not only will yoga help treat the pain caused by herniated disc, but will also give you relief from other symptoms such as tingling and/or numbness in the legs and back. Try yoga under the supervision of an expert and you will feel a lot less tired and can get rid of acute pain in no time at all!
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