Spinal decompression exercises can easily alleviate excessive strain on the disks that serve as cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. This condition can produce symptoms such as back stiffness and pain and cause nerve problems that can affect emotional and cognitive processes. Some physical therapists and other medical professionals believe certain exercises can help decompress the disks of the spine and alleviate the symptoms of spinal decompression. Always check with your doctor before using exercises and stretches to alleviate spinal compression.
When back pain occurs, your impulse may be to remain inactive to avoid furthering pain. But staying active with spinal decompression exercises may actually help reduce your pain and keep you flexible. When a single spinal nerve root is compressed, the resulting clinical outcome is termed radiculopathy, and is usually labeled according to the specific nerve root compressed (hence compression of the nerve root exiting the spinal column below the left-sided pedicle of the L5 vertebra will be diagnosed as “left L5 radiculopathy”).
Improve Your Range of Motion
Spinal compression and back pain can be caused by a variety of issues. It might stem from a back injury, overuse, arthritis, a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spine. Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Range of motion is the measurement of the movement of a joint to its full rotation. Spinal compression, a herniated disc, or arthritis of the spine can all cause muscles surrounding the joints to tense up, often making the pain even worse. That’s why it’s important to routinely stretch out your lumbar and abdominal muscles to treat back pain.
TYPES OF SPINAL DECOMPRESSION EXERCISES
Use Some Traction
Physical therapists often turn to traction to relieve pressure on the spine, pulling on your body to stretch it apart instead of using spinal decompression exercises. Traction stretches out the spine, creating more space between discs that might be herniated or pinching nerves.
Stabilizing Your Spine
A February 2013 study published in the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine found that lumbar stabilization exercises helped patients with chronic lower back pain see an improvement in pain. The goal of stabilization is to keep your spine in a neutral position during exercises to maintain its balance, strength and neuromuscular control, according to the February 2013 study.
Strengthen Your Muscles
When you’re having spine issues, either in your back or neck, working on strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints can help prevent future problems simply by using spinal decompression exercises. Muscles that are stronger tend to take pressure off your joints and bones, protecting them from future pain or injury, according to the North American Spine Society.
Homing in on lumbar and core strengthening exercise can target lower back pain, according to Princeton University Health Services. These might include supine hip twists, lying down and bringing your knees to your chest or more difficult exercises like holding a medicine ball while twisting on an exercise ball.
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
Spinal pain may initially leave you feeling discouraged and worried you can’t continue your regular workout routine. It’s possible, and even helpful, to maintain physical activity as you work through pain. A more general dynamic exercise routine should be combined with these exercises to decompress your lower back.
Make a Half Moon
Half moon pose is another yoga pose that increases flexibility of the spine. Stand with your feet together and your legs straight. Reach both arms up above your head and clasp your hands together. Keep your arms straight and next to your ears as you slowly lean your body to the right.
At the same time, gently push your hips in the opposite direction. Only go down as far as your flexibility will allow and where you can still breathe comfortably. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and slowly return to standing. Repeat on the opposite side.