For majority of patients with nontraumatic lower back pain, spinal surgery is never a good idea. One of the primary conditions doctors use to scare their patients into unnecessary surgery is ‘degenerative disc disease’. The name itself sounds scary! But just like almost all joint pain in adults, degenerative discs can be treated without pills, injections or surgery. In this article we look at the best exercises for degenerative disc disease to help you recover without pills, injections, or surgery.
Things To Know About Degenerative Disc Disease Before Getting Starting
Before getting started with the best exercises for degenerative disc disease, it’s important to address some of the underlying myths surrounding the condition. Understanding these concepts will help you understand why these exercise for degenerative disc disease is so important.
Is a normal part of aging and NOT related to pain.
Many people have spinal degeneration with no back pain. Others have back pain but no degeneration. Studies have repeatedly shown that “many degenerative features seen in X-Ray are likely a normal part of aging and unassociated with pain.”
Is treatable WITHOUT surgery
Doctors often use the diagnosis as a justification for surgery. Not only is this not required in most cases, but “several studies strongly suggest that it may accelerate the degenerative process at adjacent levels.“
The Traditional Approach To Treating Degenerative Discs Is All Wrong
Managing symptoms without addressing underlying causes always makes the condition worse. Pills, injections, and endless treatments can help with pain but do not address the underlying cause of degenerative discs.
The Best Exercises For Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative discs are caused by IMPACT on the spine over a prolonged period of time. These repetitive impacts cause your joint cartilage to deteriorate and bone formation to occur (what you see for arthritis on X-Ray).
The best exercises for degenerative disc disease do two things. First, they help ease pain and stiffness associated with the disease. Second, and more importantly, they limit impact on your discs to avoid aggravating your discs. The following exercises are designed to improve movement and build strength to limit IMPACT on your discs for long lasting relief.
Gentle, pain free movement is the best way to ease pain and stiffness associated with generative disc disease. The Cat/Cow is a simple movement exercise to stretch your spine for back pain relief.
Side Lying Twist
Another gentle movement exercise designed to ease pain and stiffness. Be sure to make this a dynamic movement and not a static stretch.
Core strength is one of the best ways to limit impact on your discs. This low impact core exercise helps stabilize the spine while performing dynamic movements.
Building strength in your hamstrings and glutes is one of the best ways to limit impact on your discs. The glute bridge is a safe and effective exercise for degenerative disc disease. Start with bodyweight before moving to more challenging variations.
The side plank strengthens important core stabilizer to limit impact on your discs. Start on your knees before moving on to more challenging variations.
The birddog is one of the most important exercises for anyone suffering from lower back pain. This dynamic move builds core strength and engages your glutes and posture muscles for less impact on your discs.
The Hip Hinge
Improving movement patterns is the best way to limit impact on your spine while performing your day-to-day tasks. The hip hinge is the foundational movement pattern that protects your discs when bending or reaching forward.
Lifting is another important movement pattern to learn to take impact off your discs. Adding weights strengthens your hamstring and glutes, making this one of the best exercises for degenerative disc disease.
The Air Squat
The squat is another important movement pattern that improves both strength and mobility to limit impact on your discs. Master the air squat before moving on to more challenging variations.
One of the best functional core exercises to limit impact on your discs. Lifting heavy weight and walking helps engage core stabilizers while performing a dynamic movement to limit impact on your discs.
The best exercises for degenerative disc disease help to ease pain and stiffness while limiting impact on your discs. Movement and strength training is the only treatment for degerative discs that addressing the underlying cause…the repetitive impacts of our day-to-day life.
For the last 10 years I’ve been teaching adults how to improve movement and build strength for less lower back pain. I’ve put many of the lessons I teach my clients in my free report “How To Solve Lower Back Pain In 12 Easy Steps”. Check it out below.