15 Feb Herniated Disc (Slipped/Prolapsed/Bulging disc)
What is it?
Intervertebral discs are found between each of the vertebrae in the spine, they act as shock absorbers and weight bearers. These discs contain two types of material, the outside area which is made of fibrocartilage and arranged like layers of an onion and the central part which is made of gelatinous substance (like jam doughnut!).
A herniated disc is a normal feature of age-related degeneration and is very common in people with and without back pain, although it is also commonly attributed to lifting and injuries. It occurs when the fibrous outer layer of the disc tears/ruptures, allowing the inner jam-like portion of the disc to bulge or protrude outward. Herniations most frequently occur in the lower back (lumbar spine) or upper back (cervical spine) (www.backcare.org.uk)
Disc issues can cause back pain and neck pain, as well as symptoms such as numbness, a tingling sensation, or weakness in other areas of the body.
How can Pilates help?
Pilates can help by focusing on improvements to posture and core strength. There are some things to consider when exercising and depending on where the disc is, you should avoid flexing the spine forward in the affected area until you start to heal. Focus on exercises that increase core stability and maintain length and the natural shape of your spine, such as those with a focus on back extension which strengthen spinal muscles such as Diamond Press, activation of your deepest abdominal muscles with exercises such as Bent Knee Fall Out and Leg Lifts.
Strengthening your core stabilising muscles, improving your posture and functional movements through regular Pilates sessions could help to prevent any further disc related issues. Always ensure that you are working with an experienced and qualified Pilates teacher and seek advice from your health professional before embarking upon any exercise.
Other sources of information