Ask the Doctor: Gentle exercise can help with recovery from back pain – Indiana Gazette

young couple people meditating yoga in lotus position at early morning on the beach

The spine is made up of bones, called vertebrae, separated by fluid-filled cartilage-like discs. In addition to holding the vertebrae together, these discs act as shock absorbents. The discs can become herniated, putting pressure on nerves and causing sometimes debilitating pain that radiates down the leg. This is called radiculopathy. Studies have shown that patients with this condition who were confined to bed rest do no better than patients who keep up their daily activities. In fact some exercise, such as walking and yoga classes that focus on breathing and gentle stretching, can help relieve back pain.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yoga classes that emphasize breathing and gentle stretches can help improve posture and reduce pain in back patients.
  • Aggressive, flow-type yoga classes can have a negative effect on people with back problems.
  • Walking should not worsen, and in fact may improve, symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy.

“The pain of lumbar radiculopathy can be debilitating, leading to time off work, inability to exercise and poor sleep. The encouraging fact is that the majority of people with lumbar radiculopathy recover fully.”

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