It is estimated that up to 80% of individuals will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lifetime, and some of these individuals will have pain as the result of a lumbar disc herniation. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation, you may be looking for ways to relieve your symptoms. In this article we’ll discuss what lumbar disc herniation is, the symptoms of the condition, and outline 4 stretches that can help to relieve your symptoms.
Before we get into the details about disc herniation, let’s first discuss the basic anatomy of your spine. Your spine consists of 24 bones (vertebrae) that stack on top of each other to create the spinal canal, which provides protection for your spinal cord. Nerve roots exit your spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae.
In between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc that is round and flat, which acts as a shock absorber when you move. Each intervertebral disc is made up of the annulus fibrosus, which is the tough outer ring, and the nucleus pulposus, which is the jelly-like center of the disc.
While a disc herniation can occur anywhere in the spine, they are most common in the lumbar region, which consists of five vertebrae.
When the inner jelly-like center of the disc starts to push against the outer ring of the disc, a disc herniation starts to develop. As stress continues to be placed on the disc, the jelly-like center may push all the way through the outer ring or cause the outer ring to bulge. This irritates the spinal cord and associated nerve roots, and may cause nerve inflammation. When spinal nerve roots are irritated and inflamed, disc herniation symptoms may start to occur.
Symptoms of lumbar disc herniation vary among individuals, depending on where the disc has herniated, and which nerve root is being affected. However, the most common symptoms include:
* Keep in mind that this position may be difficult initially, ensure that you start slowly and cautiously.
These therapeutic exercises should help to relieve some of your lumbar disc herniation symptoms. However, if your symptoms are lingering or progressing, consider an assessment with one of the physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation. They can ensure that you’re performing the exercises correctly and get you on the right path toward optimal spine health.