A herniated disc is a painful, debilitating disorder; it affects how you lay down, how you walk and how you sit in a chair. Vertebrae form the spine and are cushioned by small discs that act as shock absorbers. When a disc is damaged or herniated, it can break open, leaving your spine's vertebrae open to all kinds of pain. If you suffer from a herniated disc, there are several non-surgical ways to remedy the pain and treat the disorder.
Natural ways to treat most conditions and disorders begin and end with exercise and stretching.
Try to select and carry out simple workout programs that are low impact---yoga, swimming and elliptical training. Here is one exercise that will strengthen a ruptured or herniated disc: Sit on your lower legs, knees pointed forward, feet beneath your buttocks. Raise your arms straight up in the air and slowly bring your arms toward your back, gently stretching the torso backwards. This is not a backbend. Limit your back's bending to only a 45 degree angle. Bending any further can cause real damage and pain to your herniated disc. This movement relieves the muscles smoothly and softly and increases their elasticity. As a result, the nerve gets more room and whatever is causing the discomfort can rests more lightly on nerve and bone.
If you don't suffer from a herniated disc yet but fear getting one, try some preventative exercises that work the back muscles. Inverted bicep curls that work out the upper back are great to add to an exercise set. Running, jogging or speed walking will stretch most muscles in the body and tone and strengthen those in the back. Yoga is also very good because it increases flexibility and muscle strength and will leave you energized and prepared for the jogging and weight lifting.
While it is a little less commonplace in America, acupuncture is gaining popularity in relieving back pain. This therapy implants a number tiny needles into the problem areas to stimulate blood circulation and release pressure on the discs.
For short-term relief, some doctors recommend what is called inversion therapy. Dr. Randy Sherelud of MayoClinic.org writes that inversion involves hanging upside down and twisting the body to stretch back muscles in a way they are seldom stretched. In theory, Sherelud writes, this form of therapy takes pressure off the nerve roots and disks in your spine and increases space between vertebrae. One form of inversion therapy involves full-body, head-first suspension from a horizontal bar in a stabilizing frame. Another form uses a similar frame with supports that keep knees bent and hips flexed. In a third form, the patient will lie on an inversion table that gradually tips into a head-down position.