Pain When Bending Forward or Herniated Disc
Does your back pain come when you move into certain positions, such as bending forward? Or has your condition been diagnosed as a herniated disc/ disc bulge?
Pain spreading to legs (sometimes experienced as numbness or tingling sensations) is commonly caused by the disc (in between two spinal vertebrae) protruding backwards and irritating or compressing a nerve root, which translates as pain radiating along the course of the nerve.
The exercises bound to give you relief are prescribed according to which positions cause your symptoms to move from the leg (or foot) into the lower back. For many patients, achieving this involves getting into a ‘backwards position’ called extension exercises.
- Lie on your stomach and gently prop up your upper body on your elbows, keeping your hips on the floor (or mat).This should be started slowly and carefully, since some patients cannot tolerate this position at first.
- Hold this position initially for five seconds, and gradually work up to 30 seconds per repetition, then return to the starting position. Aim to complete at least 10 repetitions.
If you tolerate this well, you may attempt a more advanced form of this exercise.
- From the same starting position (lying flat on the stomach), push your upper body up on the hands while your hips remain in contact with the floor (or mat). Keep the lower back and buttocks relaxed for a gentle stretch.
- Hold this position for about 1 second, repeated 10 times
As your pain works out of the leg and centralizes in the lower back, the exercises typically are advanced to strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles to prevent recurrences of radiating pain caused by a herniated disc.
- Lying on your stomach with hands at your sides, raise your head and chest slightly while looking at the floor (stay low). Begin by holding position for 5 seconds, and gradually work up to 20 seconds. Return to your starting position. Aim to complete 8-10 repetitions.
- Lying on your stomach with your head and chest lowered to the floor, lightly raise an arm and opposite leg slowly (keeping the knee straight) 2 to 3 inches from the floor Begin by holding position for 5 seconds and then return to your starting position. Complete 8 to 10 repetitions. As strength builds, aim to hold position for 20 seconds. Switch the other arm and leg and do the same.
These extension exercises should be done regularly, about every two hours or 3-4 times a day. More importantly, we recommend that if you have this condition, you should avoid getting into a forward flexed (bent over) position. This tends to counteract the effects of the extension exercises. You can correct any forward flexed positions immediately by doing the extension exercises.
Be sure to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting any exercise regimen.