Fitness, Health

Disc herniation: Exercises can often avoid surgery


Back pain is a widespread disease: about every third German suffers from it. In most cases, one-sided loads or lack of movement are the causes. Back pain is only due to illnesses such as herniated discs, vertebral sliding or signs of wear in only 15 percent of cases. Up to 90 percent of back pain disappears within about six weeks.

The treatment of back pain has changed a lot over the past few years: While doctors used to focus on rest and protection, nowadays exercise is in the foreground – for example activating physiotherapy, relaxation procedures and muscle training. Tense muscles are loosened, weakened muscles strengthened. The therapy is designed to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. Protection, on the other hand, causes muscle loss and loss of strength, which leads to poor posture and thus leads to even greater pain.

Herniated disc: causes and symptoms

The intervertebral discs lie like shock absorbers between the vertebral bodies and distribute the pressure evenly over the entire spine. They consist of a fibrous ring made of connective tissue and a gelatin core inside the ring. If the fiber ring becomes brittle and cracked, the gelatinous nucleus can emerge and press the nerve.

From a certain age, herniated discs are quite normal: there are hardly anyone over 40 who have not damaged the outer fiber rings of the intervertebral discs. Hereditary factors can also play a role in the development of intervertebral disc problems. Most herniated discs are irrelevant because the body can compensate for the resulting disorders itself.


Physiotherapy: Surgery is usually not required

As long as a herniated disc does not cause neurological failures such as paralysis or sensitivity disorders, surgery is not required. The decisive factors for choosing a suitable therapy are the complaints and the resilience of the back – and not the findings on the x-ray.

The acute phase in a herniated disc lasts about four to six weeks. Even during this time, doctors no longer recommend strict protection, but a suitable exercise program and physiotherapy. In this way, strength and mobility should be retained without, however, additionally irritating the affected nerve root. Subsequently, the body has usually resorbed the leaked tissue to such an extent that the back is fully resilient. If pain occurs, the doctor can prescribe pain relievers .

Build muscles through exercises and movement

In the long run, after a herniated disc does not help, sparing, but regular training and movement with the aim of balancing the body, strengthening the muscles and relieving the spinal discs. Everyday activities can also help. Examples:

  • If you put the laundry basket on the floor while hanging up the laundry and lead the clothes from there to the leash, you make the spine more flexible by bending and stretching.
  • Lifting heavy loads brings an increase in strength.
  • Those who brush their teeth one-legged in the morning and evening practice coordination.

Functional back training stabilizes muscles

Functional back training is one of the most effective measures for preventing and treating back pain. Instead of training individual muscles in isolation, entire muscle groups and complex movements are trained using your own body weight, especially the deep muscle groups that stabilize the spine. The aim is to restore a balance between mobility and stability.

Exercise balance with wobbly boards

So-called wobble boards are an important aid for functional back training. This enables the interaction of motion sensors, muscles, joints and the brain to be practiced. Due to the unstable basis, many different muscles in the area of ​​the trunk have to perform permanent corrective movements in order to keep the balance. The aim of the training is to strengthen these muscles and improve their reaction speed. The stability gained thereby relieves the pain and in many cases even eliminates it.

Painkillers: interactions and side effects in the elderly

Especially in older people with a herniated disc, contrary to the guidelines, doctors often prescribe pain relievers instead of movement therapy in the long term. Important:

  • In old age, people often take several medications – the doctor should pay attention to possible interactions .
    Changes in metabolism in old age increase the risk of undesirable side effects such as drowsiness and balance
  • problems – it is best to gradually approach the necessary dosage.
  • Physical training should be adapted to performance – in addition to flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination and balance should also be trained.
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