Exercise is an effective method of treating osteochondrosis: it helps to tone muscles, improve the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, joints. It is recommended to be used 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 loss of their density and integrity (cracks appear). The loading of the spine can lead to the movement of the disc to the spinal canal (disc bulge) or protrusion of the pulpal nucleus from the surrounding fibrous ring (intervertebral hernia).
As a rule, the development of the disease is encouraged by a sedentary lifestyle, infrequent physical activity (the tone of the musculoskeletal system of the spine decreases). Special exercises can slow down the course of osteochondrosis.
Regular training therapy aimed at stretching the vertebrae has a positive effect on the condition of the spine and the body as a whole:
- the muscles of the back are strengthened;
- improves the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the cartilage and bone tissue of the spine;
- normalizes blood circulation, metabolism in cartilage;
- the process of removing toxins and toxins is accelerated.
The complex 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 spine, the area where the intervertebral disc is located (between the vertebrae) is surrounded by black. The intervertebral disc acts as a shock absorber - it protects the vertebrae from rubbing against each other when walking, sitting and loading. An inactive lifestyle in the human body disrupts metabolism, as a result of which the intervertebral discs do not receive the necessary amount of nutrients - so degenerative changes begin, the pulpal nucleus loses moisture and the elasticity of the disc. 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 the exercises
In the acute period of the course of osteochondrosis no therapeutic exercises are used. To improve the patient's well-being, stretching of the spine along its axis is prescribed. Increasing the distance between the vertebrae leads to muscle relaxation, reducing irritation of nerve roots (pain decreases). In case of 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 osteochondrosis. Stimulates biological and physiological processes in the body: improves blood circulation, improves muscle tone, restores the functions of the spinal motor segment.
In general, regular use of therapeutic exercises helps:
- strengthening the muscles of the arms and the musculoskeletal system;
- improving blood flow and lymphatic circulation;
- enhancement of metabolic processes in the affected tissues of the spine;
- correcting incorrect posture;
- restoration of 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 of the use of gymnastics, it is necessary to perform only those exercises that do not cause increased pain.
Indications for therapeutic exercise
The main purpose of the exercises is to strengthen the muscles, cartilage tissues that support the vertebrae. Exercises should be done slowly, without sudden movements, completely relaxed.
It is not worth overloading during exercise: only moderate exercise contributes to recovery (metabolism improves, muscle condition improves, spine function resumes, shock-absorbing functions of the intervertebral discs).
It is not recommended to perform exercises with sharp pain and without prior consultation with a doctor. It is better to do physical education under the supervision of a qualified specialist (physiotherapist), but you can do it yourself.
In order to achieve a positive result, training should be conducted 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 are strengthened).
The frequency of physiotherapy exercises
All exercises prescribed by a doctor for the treatment of osteochondrosis should be performed regularly. In addition, patients whose activities involve sedentary work are advised to warm up directly at the workplace (whenever possible, but preferably every hour).
Muscle strengthening is necessary whenever possible. Even light training with their regular performance will help to avoid recurrence of the acute phase of osteochondrosis, to reduce the intensity of pain.
The effect of using physiotherapy exercises for diseases of the spine is felt immediately after exercise (with properly selected gymnastics). The choice of a set of exercises should be made by a doctor from the general picture of the disease (stage of development of osteochondrosis, the type of damaged structures, the form of the disease).
You don't have to stop training. If you do not feel well, there is no relief, you should contact your doctor: he will prescribe you a new set of exercises.
When are exercises contraindicated?
Exercising for osteochondrosis helps to improve well-being, prevents the fusion of the vertebrae during the destructive processes in the spinal discs. In general, its use is recommended for all patients, but exceptions are possible.
Conducting training therapy is contraindicated in such cases:
- acute period of the course of osteochondrosis;
- postoperative period (in the first stages of recovery of the spine);
- neurological diseases accompanied by impaired coordination of movements;
- high blood pressure;
- disorders of the vestibular apparatus;
- blurred vision (severe myopia), high intraocular pressure;
- cardiovascular dysfunction (eg arrhythmia);
- deterioration of the patient's condition due to a complication of a chronic disease, severe illness.
Physical education is not performed: on an empty stomach, after eating or physical overload.
A positive result from the use of physical education is possible with an integrated approach to the application of therapeutic exercises. In this case, only these exercises should be done, after which the condition of the muscles improves significantly (performance increases, tension decreases).
If you feel worse during or after exercise, you better stop them and be sure to see a 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 cartilage and bone structures of the cervical spine. The main reason is the constant stay in an awkward tense position. People over the age of 25 are most prone to developing the disease.
No special physical training is required to engage in physiotherapy exercises for cervical osteochondrosis. Each patient can easily perform the following exercises:
- We sit on a chair, straighten our backs, stretch our necks. Then we make 5-10 slow turns of the head: left and right (we try to turn the neck as much as possible). The result of physical education is the improvement of the motor functions of the cervical spine.
- In an upright position, tilt your head down, trying to reach your chin to your chest. Repeat the slopes 10 times. (If it is not possible to reach the chest, we try to bring our head as close to it as possible).
- We sit at the table, leaning on it with our elbows. We place the palm on the temple, tilt the head to the side, while creating resistance with the hand (hold 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 on our stomachs to ensure complete relaxation of the muscles. We place our hands on the body (palms up). Then, with slow movements, turn your 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, lean forward, take a deep breath (head reaches chest). When exhaling, return to starting position, throw your head back. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.
All exercises are recommended to be performed in combination with other types of therapeutic exercises. 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, thus providing greater mobility of the upper limb. Improper posture, formed over the years, leads to a decrease in its functions: there is a bending and stiffness of the shoulders. With chronic tension of the shoulder girdle, the mobility of the ribs deteriorates, breathing becomes difficult.
Exercises aimed at developing the muscles of the shoulder girdle are used to prevent the occurrence 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 follow the posture, the correct position of the legs (they should be shoulder-width apart) and the body (you can not bend forward). Only then will the load on the back, arms, neck muscles and shoulder girdle be evenly distributed.
The first exercises are performed slowly, then gradually increase the speed of movement. This technique of performing gymnastics prevents the appearance of muscle pain after training.
The exercises for the development of the shoulder girdle, the shoulders consist of the following exercises:
- We place our feet shoulder-width apart, placing our hands on the belt. We make turns with the shoulders forward, then in the opposite direction.
- I placed the injured hand on my strong shoulder. We place the second hand on the elbow of the unhealthy limb, carefully pull the injured hand to the top.
- We take our hands behind our backs, tie them in a lock so that the diseased limb is on top. Gently pull the affected arm with the healthy limb down.
This type of exercise improves blood circulation, accelerates metabolic processes in damaged tissues. Gymnastics from the school's physical education program has a similar effect.
In osteochondrosis, exertion is not desirable as it can increase pain. Regular light warming gives a positive effect: there is a feeling of vigor, the pain subsides.
In disease of the cervix and shoulders, in addition to exercise, the use of compresses based on dimexid and bischofite is allowed.
Complex of exercises for thoracic osteochondrosis
Deformity of the spine in the chest area is the result of poor posture, weakening of the spinal muscles due to lack of regular exercise. Degenerative changes in this part of the spine often lead to disorders of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems: angina pectoris, arrhythmia, lung and heart failure.
That is why physiotherapy is so important. Performing a properly selected set of exercises will allow you to restore motor functions of the spinal segments, release blocked vertebrae and reduce pain attacks.
Elimination of the main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest contributes to physical education, consisting of the following exercises:
- To perform the exercise, you need to take a roller with a diameter of 10 centimeters (a rolled towel will do the job). We lie on our backs, put a roller under the chest (lower part). Putting your hands under the back of your head, slowly raise your back (repeat several times). Then move the roller along the spine (up), do the exercise again. The same examination of different parts of the chest stretches the spine, tones the muscles.
- Stand on all fours: bend your back as much as possible, stay in this position for a few seconds (keeping your head straight). Then we take a starting position, then repeat the exercise.
- Lie on one side, bending your knees. Pull the right leg up (tense the muscles, move the thigh to the maximum), fix the position of the leg for 5-10 seconds and lower it. Repeat the same with the second leg.
- We lay on a flat surface with our stomachs down, our hands under our heads. When inhaling we raise the shoulders and the body, when exhaling we return to the starting position. We do the exercise at least 3-4 times. As we strengthen our muscles, we increase the number of approaches.
- We sit on a chair (with a backrest), leaning on it with our backs. We lean back to feel the chest muscles stretch. Then we make smooth turns forward. It is necessary to make 4-5 such approaches.
Doctors do not recommend muscle overload during exercise therapy. Only moderate gymnastic exercises can bring benefits and pleasure, help to restore the spine after an illness.
Exercises for lumbar osteochondrosis
It is believed that back pain is the payment of humanity for upright walking. After all, this part of the spine carries all the load when walking, acting as a shock absorber.
As practice shows, people who neglect an active lifestyle suffer much more often from lumbar pain. 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 tissue of the musculoskeletal system.
Therapeutic gymnastics for lumbosacral osteochondrosis strengthens, stretches the back 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:
- improving blood and lymph circulation;
- normalization of metabolic processes in bone, cartilage of the spine;
- elimination of congestion in the pelvic organs;
- muscle strengthening;
- pulling the nerve roots of the spinal cord;
- restoration of the functions of the musculoskeletal system.
Gymnastics promotes the production of proteins in muscle tissue. Entering the body, they stimulate the basic systems.
The following exercises can alleviate the condition of lumbar osteochondrosis:
- Lie on your back, press your lower back firmly to the floor, bending your knees. We reach for our legs, try to hug them (until we tear our lower back off the floor! ). We stay in this position for 5 seconds, we go down, we relax the muscles. Repeat the exercise 40 times (for two sets).
- We gather the legs together, pull them to the stomach, bending at the knee. We grip our legs with our hands, fix the position, and then slowly stretch our head to our knees. We sink to the floor (slowly), returning to the starting position.
- Stand 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 a few seconds). Repeat the exercise (at least 10 times).
- Starting position - on all fours. Raise your head as you bend your back. Then we do everything in reverse order: we lower our head, gently curving the spine.
- We stand up straight: we keep our legs straight, we put our hands on the belt. We lean back and forth as much as possible. You need to make 10 deep slopes in each direction.
- We sit on the floor: we raise our arms (palms "look forward), we bend to our feet, trying to touch our toes with our hands. This type of gymnastics helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles: when leaning forward, the backworks while moving backwards, press.
The treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis should be aimed at restoring the functions of the spine, eliminating pain and is carried out comprehensively. In addition to drug therapy, massage procedures, traction, physiotherapy have a positive effect. It strengthens the muscular corset, helps reduce the load on the discs of the spine.