Best McKenzie Exercises For A Herniated Disc 02/21/12

Australian physician Robin McKenzie designed McKenzie back exercises to help people suffering from a herniated disc. A herniated disc can cause constant pain through the whole body and these exercises were especially designed to relieve the pain caused by this condition.

The McKenzie method is a well-researched and a proven form of physical therapy, developed over 50 years ago, in that time it has helped countless people alleviate the back pain caused by a herniated disc.

The McKenzie Institute International was set up to train post-graduate therapists the McKenzie method and there is a worldwide list of trained McKenzie therapists.

There are a wide range of McKenzie exercises for a herniated disc and the objective of the exercises is to centralise the pain.

Lying on front

Simply lie on your front with your head resting on your hands. You can hold this position for 1 minute up to 5 minutes. You should notice the pain moving from your legs to the lower back, centralisation of the pain.

The Prone position

The prone position is a basic exercise. Lie face down, flat on the floor with your arms by your side and palms facing the ceiling, your head can be tilted to either side or straight. This will push the disk anteriorly, taking compression off the nerve.

The Prone Prop


Lying in the prone position, bring your elbows forward, resting on your forearms, lift your torso up, keeping the pelvis grounded. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then go back down to the prone position and repeat.

The Prone Press Up


Lying in the prone position, place your hands under your body and press up. The pelvis should remain on the floor and try to lock the elbows. Hold for 15 seconds to 30 seconds and return to the prone position to rest for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat. This position increases the extension of the spine, pushing the disc anteriorly to centralise the pain away from the legs to the lower back.

Lying Supine


Simply lie flat on the floor with your arms by your side. You can hold this position for up to 5 minutes.

Lying Supine with knees bent


Lying in the supine position, raise your knees off the floor, keeping your pelvis on the ground. Maintain this position for up to 1 minute, return to the supine position to rest and repeat the process.

Knees to chest supine


Lying in the supine position, bend your knees and raise them towards your chest. Hold your knees in position with your hands, ensuring your pelvis stays on the floor.

Seated hand flex


Sitting on a chair with your feet wider than shoulder width and toes pointing out, bend down and touch the floor underneath the seat with your hands. Your head should be facing the floor and your back should be bent. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Standing flex to floor


Standing up with your legs locked, bend down and touch your toes. Your head should be facing your knees. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

The sequence of the exercises depends on each individual and it is best to seek assistance from a therapy professional before using the exercises, ideally a McKenzie trained therapist. A therapist who has completed the McKenzie training course will have the Mechanical Diagnosis and expertise to help you overcome the back pain caused by a herniated disc. A McKenzie therapist will work with the patient, using the patient to direct them to indicate the location of the pain and assess the best course of action.

The McKenzie method works, it has been validated and proven over the span of half a century. If you are suffering from a herniated disc, understanding and using McKenzie exercises will free you from the burden of pain and enable you to live an active life.

To supplement these McKenzie exercises i suggest doing some other things to aid your recovery.  Simple yoga exercises, massages and natural pain relievers will also greatly help your recovery.

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