Exercise is an effective method of treating osteochondrosis: it helps to bring muscles into tone, improve the functioning of the functions of the musculoskeletal system, joints. It is recommended to use in parallel with other methods, such as massage, manual therapy.
Osteochondrosis is a disease of the spine, characterized by degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs, which lead to the loss of their density and integrity (cracks appear). The load on the spine can cause the disc to move towards the spinal canal (disc protrusion) or protrusion of the nucleus pulposus from the surrounding fibrous ring (intervertebral hernia).
As a rule, the development of the disease is promoted by a sedentary lifestyle, rare physical activity (the tone of the muscular-ligamentous apparatus of the spinal column decreases). Special exercises can slow down the course of osteochondrosis.
Regular exercise therapy aimed at stretching the vertebrae has a positive effect on the condition of the spine and the body as a whole:
- back muscles are strengthened;
- the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the cartilaginous and bone tissues of the spine improves;
- normalizes blood circulation, metabolism in cartilage;
- the process of removing toxins and toxins is accelerated.
A set of therapeutic exercises is used both to alleviate the condition with osteochondrosis, and to prevent the onset of the disease.
The figure shows part of the spinal column, the area where the intervertebral disc is located (between the vertebrae) is circled in black. The intervertebral disc plays the role of a shock absorber - it protects the vertebrae from friction against each other when walking, sitting, and exerting themselves. With an inactive lifestyle, in the human body, metabolism is disturbed, as a result of which the intervertebral discs do not receive the required amount of nutrients - this is how degenerative changes begin, the nucleus pulposus loses moisture, and the disc elasticity. This, in turn, leads to an increase in the load on the vertebrae and, in fact, on the entire spine and back muscles.
The effect of exercise
In the acute period of the course of osteochondrosis, therapeutic exercises are not used. To improve the patient's well-being, stretching of the spine along its axis is prescribed. An increase in the distance between the vertebrae leads to muscle relaxation, a decrease in irritation of the nerve roots (pain decreases). With an exacerbation of the disease, it is recommended to change the soft bed to a hard one.
Therapeutic exercise has a positive effect in the early stages of the development of osteochondrosis. It stimulates biological and physiological processes inside the body: blood circulation improves, muscle tone improves, functions of the spinal motion segment are restored.
In general, the regular use of therapeutic exercises helps:
- strengthen the muscles of the hands and the musculo-ligamentous apparatus;
- improve blood flow and lymph circulation;
- enhance metabolic processes in the affected tissues of the spine;
- correct incorrect posture;
- restore the supporting and motor functions of the spine.
In the early stages of osteochondrosis, physiotherapy is aimed at reducing irritation of the nerve roots in contact with the affected intervertebral discs. Despite the positive result from the use of gymnastics, it is necessary to perform only those exercises that do not cause increased pain.
Indications for exercise therapy
The main goal of exercise is to strengthen the muscle, cartilage tissues that support the vertebrae. Exercises must be done slowly, without sudden movements, completely relaxed.
It is not worth overworking during classes: only moderate loads contribute to recovery (metabolism improves, muscle condition improves, the work of the spine resumes, shock-absorbing functions of the intervertebral discs).
It is not recommended to perform exercises with acute pain and without first consulting a doctor. It is better to engage in physical education under the supervision of a qualified specialist (physiotherapist), but you can do it yourself.
To achieve a positive result, training must be carried out every day. First, all exercises are repeated no more than 5 times, then the number of approaches is increased to 10-12 times (as the muscles strengthen).
The frequency of performing physiotherapy exercises
All exercises prescribed by a doctor for the treatment of osteochondrosis should be performed regularly. In addition, patients whose activities are related to sedentary work are recommended to warm up directly at the workplace (when possible, but preferably every hour).
Strengthening the muscles is necessary at any opportunity. Even light workouts with their regular performance will help to avoid recurrences of the acute phase of osteochondrosis, reduce the intensity of pain.
The effect of the use of physiotherapy exercises for diseases of the spine is felt immediately after classes (with properly selected gymnastics). The choice of a set of exercises should be carried out by a doctor from the general picture of the disease (the stage of development of osteochondrosis, the type of damaged structures, the form of the disease).
You don't need to stop exercising. If you feel unwell, there is no relief, you should contact your doctor: he will prescribe a new set of exercises.
When is exercise contraindicated?
Performing exercises for osteochondrosis helps to improve well-being, prevent fusion of the vertebrae during destructive processes in the spinal discs. Basically, its use is recommended for all patients, but exceptions are possible.
Carrying out exercise therapy is contraindicated in such cases:
- acute period of the course of osteochondrosis;
- postoperative period (at the first stages of spine recovery);
- neurological diseases accompanied by impaired coordination of movement;
- high blood pressure;
- disorders of the vestibular apparatus;
- blurred vision (severe myopia), high intraocular pressure;
- dysfunctions of the cardiovascular system (for example, arrhythmia);
- deterioration of the patient's condition due to a complication of a chronic disease, a severe disease.
Physical education is not carried out: on an empty stomach, after eating or physical overwork.
A positive result from the use of physical education is possible with an integrated approach to the implementation of therapeutic exercises. In this case, only those exercises should be done, after which the condition of the muscles improves significantly (working capacity increases, tension decreases).
If you feel worse during or after gymnastics, it is better to stop them and be sure to go to the doctor.
Cervical osteochondrosis: what exercises are effective?
The disease manifests itself in different segments of the spine, but most often degenerative-dystrophic changes are observed in the cartilaginous and bone structures of the cervical region. The main reason is the constant stay in an uncomfortable tense position. The most prone to developing the disease are people over 25 years old.
In order to engage in physiotherapy exercises with cervical osteochondrosis, special physical training is not needed. Each patient can easily do the following exercises:
- We sit on a chair, straighten our back, stretch our neck. Then we do 5-10 slow turns of the head: to the left and right side (we try to turn the neck as much as possible). The result of physical education is an improvement in the motor functions of the cervical vertebrae.
- In a standing position, tilt your head down, trying to reach your chin to your chest. Repeat slopes 10 times. (If it is not possible to reach the chest, we try to bring our head closer to it as much as possible).
- We sit down at the table, leaning on it with our elbows. We put the palm to the temple, tilt the head to the side, while creating resistance with the hand (keep in this position for about 10 seconds). We do the exercise no more than 10 times with a break of 8-10 seconds. The effect of performing such gymnastics is to strengthen the lateral muscles of the neck.
- We lie down on our stomach so as to ensure complete relaxation of the muscles. We put our hands along the body (palms up). Then, with slow movements, we turn our head to the left, then to the right (up to 10 turns in each direction), constantly returning to the starting position: face down.
- We sit down, bend forward, inhaling deeply (the head reaches for the chest). On the exhale, we return to the starting position, throw back the head. We repeat the exercise 10-15 times.
All exercises are recommended to be performed in combination with other types of therapeutic exercises. The systematic conduct of such physical education with cervical osteochondrosis strengthens muscles, helps relieve pain.
Exercises for the muscles of the shoulder girdle
The shoulder joint connects the clavicle, shoulder blade, arm bones, thereby providing greater mobility of the upper limb. Incorrect posture, which has been formed over the years, leads to a decrease in its functions: stoop and stiffness of the shoulders appear. With chronic tension of the shoulder girdle, the mobility of the ribs worsens, breathing becomes difficult.
Exercises aimed at developing the muscles of the shoulder girdle are used as a prevention of the onset of diseases of the spine: osteochondrosis and intervertebral hernia.
It is not recommended to start exercising after injuries or damage to the shoulder joint without consulting a doctor.
While doing gymnastics, it is necessary to monitor the posture, the correct position of the legs (they should be shoulder-width apart) and the body (you can not lean forward). Only then the load on the back, arms, muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle will be distributed evenly.
The first exercises are performed slowly, then gradually increase the speed of movements. This technique of performing gymnastics prevents the appearance of muscle pain after exercise.
Exercises for the development of the shoulder girdle, shoulders, consists of the following exercises:
- We put our feet shoulder-width apart, putting our hands on the belt. We make turns with the shoulders forward, then in the opposite direction.
- I put the injured hand on the healthy shoulder. We place the second hand on the elbow of the unhealthy limb, carefully pull the injured arm to the top.
- We take our hands behind our back, we connect them into a lock so that the diseased limb is on top. Gently pull the affected arm with the healthy limb down.
This kind of exercise improves blood circulation, accelerates metabolic processes in damaged tissues. Gymnastics from the school physical education program has a similar effect.
With osteochondrosis, power loads are not desirable, since they can increase pain. A regular light warm-up gives a positive effect: a feeling of cheerfulness appears, pain recedes.
In case of cervical and shoulder disease, in addition to exercises, the use of compresses based on Dimexide and Bishofit is allowed.
A set of exercises for thoracic osteochondrosis
Deformation of the spine in the thoracic region is the result of poor posture, weakening of the spinal muscles due to the lack of regular training. Degenerative changes in this part of the spine often lead to disruption of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems: angina pectoris, arrhythmia, pulmonary and heart failure appear.
That is why physical therapy is so important. Performing a properly selected set of exercises will allow you to resume the motor functions of the spinal segments, release blocked vertebrae, and reduce pain attacks.
The removal of the main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine contributes to physical education, consisting of the following exercises:
- To perform the exercise, you need to take a roller with a diameter of up to 10 centimeters (a rolled towel will do). We lie down on our back, put a roller under the thoracic region (its lower part). Putting your hands under the back of your head, slowly raise your back (repeat several times). Next, we shift the roller along the spine (up), do the exercise again. Uniform study of different parts of the thoracic region stretches the spine, tones the muscles.
- Get on all fours: bend your back as much as possible, linger in this position for a few seconds (while keeping your head straight). After that, we take the starting position, then repeat the exercise.
- Lie down on your side, bending your knees. We pull the right leg up (we strain the muscles, we move the thigh to the side to the maximum), fix the position of the leg for 5-10 seconds and lower it. We repeat the same with the second leg.
- We lay down on a flat surface down with our stomach, put our hands under our heads. While inhaling, we raise the shoulders and body, while exhaling, we return to the starting position. We do the exercise at least 3-4 times. As the muscles strengthen, we increase the number of approaches.
- We sit on a chair (with a back), lean on it with our backs. We bend back so as to feel how the muscles of the thoracic region stretch. After that, we make smooth forward bends. It is necessary to do 4-5 such approaches.
Doctors do not recommend overloading the muscles during exercise therapy. Only moderate gymnastic exercises can bring benefits and pleasure, help restore the spine after an illness.
Exercises for lumbar osteochondrosis
There is an opinion that back pain is humanity's payment for walking upright. After all, it is this section of the spine that bears the entire load when walking, acting as a shock absorber.
As practice shows, people who neglect an active lifestyle suffer from lumbar pain much more often. Daily exercise not only helps to get rid of unpleasant pain, but also to prevent the development of degenerative-dystrophic processes in the bone and cartilage tissues of the musculoskeletal system.
Therapeutic exercise for lumbosacral osteochondrosis strengthens, stretches the dorsal and abdominal muscles. In the first lessons, the exercises are performed lying down: in this position, the load on the back is small, there is no risk of increased pain.
The positive effect of the use of gymnastics is manifested in the following:
- improvement of blood and lymph circulation;
- normalization of metabolic processes in bone, cartilage tissues of the spine;
- elimination of congestion in the pelvic organs;
- muscle strengthening;
- traction of the nerve roots of the spinal cord;
- restoration of the functions of the musculoskeletal system.
Gymnastics promotes the production of proteins in muscle tissues. Entering the body, they stimulate the work of the main systems.
The following exercises can alleviate the condition with lumbar osteochondrosis:
- We lie down on our back, firmly press the lower back to the floor, bending our knees. We stretch our hands to our legs, try to hug them (while we do not tear our lower back off the floor! ). We linger in this position for 5 seconds, lower, relax the muscles. Repeat the exercise 40 times (for two sets).
- We bring the legs together, pull them to the stomach, bending at the knee. We clasp our legs with our hands, fix the position, after which we slowly stretch our head to our knees. We sink to the floor (slowly), returning to the starting position.
- Get on all fours, keep your back straight. We cross with our hands to the left, bending the torso in the same direction, and then to the right (when turning, we keep the body bent for several seconds). Repeat the exercise (at least 10 times).
- Starting position - on all fours. Raise your head while arching your back. Then we do everything in the reverse order: we lower our head, smoothly arching the spine.
- We stand straight: we keep our legs straight, we place our hands on the belt. We lean forward and backward as much as possible. You need to do 10 deep tilts in each direction.
- We sit on the floor: we raise our hands up (the palms "look" forward), we bend over to the legs, trying to touch the toes with our hands. This kind of gymnastics helps to strengthen the spinal and abdominal muscles: when leaning forward, the back works, while moving backwards, the press.
Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis should be aimed at restoring the functions of the spine, eliminating pain and is carried out in a complex manner. In addition to drug therapy, massage procedures, traction, physiotherapy exercises have a positive effect. It strengthens the muscular corset, helps to reduce the load on the discs of the spine.