Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exercise Treatments for L4 and L5 Herniated Disc

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My sister has this problem as well as a few of you here who have asked me how to stay in shape while dealing with a herniated disc. It can be done and you should always talk to your Doctor first before starting any workout program. With the research I have done this is what I know.

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At the bottom is the sacral and coccyx or tail bone. L4 and L5 are the lower two vertebrae in the lumbar or low back area, and it is a common spot for disk herniations. While you may need medication to help manage your symptoms, exercises that help to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your low back will be an important part of your treatment program. They will help you to both recover from the herniation and prevent future injuries.

Abdominal Strengthening Exercises

When your abdominal muscles are weak your back muscles take on extra work. This can lead to muscle strain and disk problems. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states it is important to "Do crunches and other abdominal-muscle strengthening exercises to provide more spine stability."

Pelvic Tilt Exercise
This exercise will help you learn to isolate your low back and abdominal area which in turn will make the muscles stronger. As you become better at pressing your back flat to the ground and then releasing it, you will know how to use this movement to alleviate back pain during other activities.

How To: Relax on your back and concentrate on the contraction of the buttocks muscle while you hold the abdominals in tight. This exercise strengthens the buttocks and releases the back.

Step 1
Pelvic Tilt  Step 1
Lie on your back with legs hip-width apart, both knees bent, and both feet on the floor. Place arms alongside body with palms down. Keep head and shoulders relaxed.

Step 2
Pelvic Tilt  Step 2
Hold abdominals in as you rotate and tilt your pelvic girdle up toward the ceiling with a smooth and controlled motion. Repeat for 8 times and progress to 3 sets of 8 times. 
Crunches on Swiss ball or physioball
Use good form to keep from straining your neck.

Crunches on ball Picture: ANDREW CROWLEY 
How to: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with fingertips behind your ears. Curl up one vertebra at a time, shortening the distance between your sternum and pelvis. Exhale as you crunch up,drawing your navel into your spine.

Lower Abdominal Dead Bug
This will teach you how to hold your midsection in good alignment as you move your legs. The object is to keep the low back in contact with the floor while lowering the legs one at a time.

Lie with back on a mat,hands by your sides, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and feet off the floor. Tighten abs, and slowly lower left leg toward floor, straightening leg, as shown. Stop when you feel lower back coming off the floor. Return to starting position, then switch legs. Alternate for one minute.

Low Back Stretches

Stretching your lower back will relieve tight muscles around the herniated disk. When the muscles in your low back and hips are tight, they can pull on your back and increase your symptoms.

Yoga Poses for Bulging Discs

Quite a few of the postures consist of floor work for instance Savasana, single leg raises, the cat stretch, cobra and child's pose. Most of these poses can be modified to accommodate every level of mobility by utilizing props like cushions, bolsters and straps to be able to cushion or give a stretch to the entire body.

Does RUNNING burn more calories than WALKING?

Is it a myth that runners burn more calories than walkers? It sure seems like it would with all the extra sweat and hard breathing. The difference in calories burned per mile or kilometer is very small, and there is no difference at higher walking speeds.

Calories per Mile for 160 Pound Person
2.0 mph - 91
2.5 mph - 87
3.0 mph - 85
3.5 mph - 83
4.0 mph - 91
4.5 mph - 102
5.0 mph - 116

5.0 mph - 116
6.0 mph - 121
7.0 mph - 119
8.0 mph - 123
9.0 mph - 121
10.0 mph - 131

Should I Go Faster?

If you can build up your walking speed to 5 mph, or 12 minutes per mile, you will be at the top calorie burn per mile and achieve the same burn as a jogger. If you are a runner, you don't get any calorie burning benefit by going faster than 10 minutes per mile or 6 mph.

Should I Go Longer?

The further you walk or run, the more calories you burn. You get the most benefit by adding distance to your workout, whether you walk or run.

Should I Add Weight?

You will burn more calories per mile at every speed by weighing more, but it is a very small difference and not worth the risk of strain. Every extra pound means more pounding on your feet, ankles, knees and hips. It is better to walk or run further than to add any weight.

Should I Walk or Run?

If you enjoy running, you can burn calories in less time and be done with your daily workout sooner. Many people enjoy the higher heart rate and the burst of happy brain chemicals it produces. But for others, running is a grind that they have to force themselves to do. In order to get any benefit from a workout, it has to be one that you enjoy and will do day after day. If you love to run -- run. If you hate to run but love to walk -- walk. You will just need to spend more time walking to go the distance you need to burn the calories you want to burn.

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  1. Thanks So much Michelle! I will def give this a shot!

  2. I can personally vouch for these exercises as I have been doing them for two months now for my torn disc and the pain is gone! I also found that yoga on a weekly basis helped. I was finally able to get off lyrica and am now back into my weight lifting again!

  3. I understand that people who run and walk can burn the same amount of calories but does it have the same effect on working your abs? I hear that if you want good and defined abs and legs, running is your best option. So I was just wondering if I would still be getting the same definition in my stomach by walking?