I was working with a client who has a herniated disc and thought I’d share a great Pilates exercise with you to help relieve the pain caused by this condition.
First, a bit of background about herniated discs. Also commonly referred to as bulging discs or slipped discs, a herniated disc is most often found in the lower back (and sometimes in the neck). It’s a bit technical to explain, but here’s my “layman’s” explanation that I hope is easy to understand! Imagine that the vertebrae of your lower back are like the chocolate cookie wafers in an Oreo cookie. The discs are like the white filling in the Oreo cookie. In a perfect cookie, the white filling is even in thickness all the way around the cookie and it acts like a little pillow between the two wafers. When we herniate a disc in the spine, it’s like squeezing one side of the Oreo cookie so that the filling ‘bulges’ out the opposite side. The chocolate wafers are too close together without much ‘pillow’ on one side of the cookie while the filling is bulging out the other side. In the spine, the filling (ie – the disc) contains nerves that run from the spinal cord down the legs. When there is not enough filling and the nerves are pinched, then we experience pain. So, in layman’s terms, we need to make sure that the filling doesn’t continue to be squeezed out. Make sense?
Discs almost always bulge out to the back of the spine so that means that to “squeeze the filling” back into the cookie, we need to do Pilates exercises that involve back-bending.
Here’s one of Joseph Pilates’ classic exercises that will help you out!
- Start lying on your tummy, propped up on your forearms.
- Look down at your fingertips.
- Reach your heart forward out of your chest and lift your ribs away from the mat, imagining that you are doing a back dive.
- Bend your knee and slowly pulse your heel in towards your buttock three times. Switch legs.
- Repeat 3 times.
You can do this exercise 2 or 3 times a day when your pain is acute. Once the pain is gone, don’t stop doing it! Once a day should be good for ongoing maintenance!
You can download a Pilates workout for Herniated Discs from my website. It’s the only Pilates workout designed especially for herniated discs that is available! It’s only $8.99 CDN which is an inexpensive investment in your health. I guarantee that you’ll feel better after you do it. Just go to http://www.PersonalizingPilates.com