The Best Exercise for Herniated Disc Patients at L5-S1 Level
Lower back injuries and weakness tend to be quite common as individuals grow older. The most common level is at the L5-S1 level of the spine. The L5 disc is the lumbar disc that is the lowest on the spine and the S1 disc is right below it. Much of your ability to bend and rotate comes from having flexibility in this area.
This is one of the most effective exercises for stretching out the lower back and promoting movement in the L5-S1 level of the spine. Lie down on the floor on your back. Your knees should be bent at a 45-degree angle. Grasp your left leg behind the hamstring and pull it up towards your chest. Hold the position for two seconds. Return to the original position. Do this 10 times with your left leg and 10 times with your right leg. Take a 30-second break and repeat the set.
Lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle. Tense the muscles around your midsection and then flatten your back against the floor, keeping those stomach muscles tight throughout the exercise. Do this 15 times, take a 30-second break and then repeat the set. This will help loosen and strengthen the L5-S1 area of the spine.
Lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle. Tense the muscles around your midsection and tighten the muscles in your buttocks as well. Raise your right leg until it is straight and pointing up at the ceiling. Hold this position for two seconds. Return to the starting position. Do this 10 times and do the same exercise with your left leg 10 times. Take a 30-second break and repeat the set.
Stand with your back against the wall. Your heels should be about 18 to 22 inches from the wall. Tense your abdominal muscles and then slide down the wall until you are almost in a sitting position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Slide back up. Do this 15 times, take a 30-second break and repeat the set. This will strengthen the L5-S1 area of the spine.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.