Two beneficial herniated disc physical therapy exercises

Piriformis stretch

Herniated discs are particularly common in the lower back. When a disc herniates, the inner material pokes out through a rip in the outer disc layer, and this herniated material can rub against or pinch a nerve. Often, a herniated disc can lead to a condition called sciatica. This can cause you to feel pain in your lower back, and the pain can feel like it’s running down through your buttocks and legs. One technique that physical therapists can use to help with herniated lower back discs is therapeutic exercises. Here are two herniated disc physical therapy exercises in particular that can benefit you: 

  1. Piriformis stretch

One goal that herniated disc physical therapy typically aims for is to stretch muscles that support the lower back. This is a common therapy goal because tight muscles in the hips, buttocks and legs can increase strain on the lower back, and the increased strain can lead to more herniated disc pain. An example of a therapeutic exercise that can help decrease this pain is the piriformis stretch. 

To start this stretch, lie back on a flat surface. If you have one, you could use a massage table, but most people can get by with doing this exercise on the floor. The starting position for this exercise is lying flat on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. From this position, bend your right leg up until your foot is flat on the floor and then move your left leg so that your ankle is resting on your thigh just above the knee. Next, slowly pull your right thigh toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your left buttock. Hold this stretch for eight to 10 seconds before returning to the start position. Repeat these steps until you’ve done 10 repetitions with each leg. 

  1. Cobra Pose

Your physical therapist might also bring a beneficial yoga move called the Cobra Pose into your herniated disc physical therapy. 

This movement is intended to help stretch the muscles of your lower back, and you’ll begin the pose by lying on your stomach on the floor. You’ll also want to keep your legs straight, and you should bend your arms so that your forearms are resting on the floor. Your hands should be resting on the floor at about shoulder level. Once you’re in this starting position, slowly push your upper body up with your arms until you feel a stretch in the lower back. It’s important to keep your head and neck straight while you do this. When you feel the stretch, hold that position for five to 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Your goal should be to complete 10 repetitions of this stretch, but it’s OK to do fewer if the movement tires you out too much. 

Find out other types of herniated disc physical therapy Panther Physical Therapy offers

Therapeutic exercises are one technique our Panther Physical Therapy team uses for herniated disc physical therapy. But we also offer many other options that can help with this issue. Our team provides complimentary screenings that can help us learn how your injured disc is affecting your body. This information is important because it allows us to create a therapy plan that’s personalized to your needs. Our individualized plans are designed to use multiple therapy methods, and some of the methods that may be included in your plan are: 

Don’t wait any longer to get started with your herniated disc physical therapy at Panther Physical Therapy. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an appointment.