Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis: rules for performing

Osteochondrosis is a chronic pathology, dangerous for its relapsing course. Irreversible degenerative changes occur in the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, causing pain and stiffness of movements. Therapy of thoracic, cervical, or lumbar osteochondrosis aims to improve blood circulation in damaged tissues and prevent the disease’s spread to healthy vertebrae. Patients are recommended course-taking drugs, physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage, and balneological treatment. One of the most effective ways to cope with osteochondrosis is regular gymnastics. At the initial stage of the pathology, daily workouts at home will allow you to reverse it.

Basic principles of physiotherapy exercises

The intervertebral disc of a healthy person can withstand significant loads. Its rupture will occur under a squeezing force exceeding 0.5 tons. At the same time, a disc affected by osteochondrosis will rupture even with a squeezing force of 0.2 tons. Under the influence of external or internal negative factors, an insufficient amount of nutritional and biologically active substances. The resulting deficiency causes flattening and softening of bone tissues and the appearance of radial cracks in the fibrous rings. The distance between adjacent vertebrae decreases, and they begin to shift about each other.

Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis

So far, no drugs have been synthesized, the use of which would help restore the destroyed tissues of the intervertebral discs. The leading method of therapy is gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis. Why regular exercise is much more effective than a course of medication:

  • The muscular corset is strengthened, supporting the vertebrae in an anatomically correct position, and the load on the entire spinal column is reduced;
  • Blood supply to tissues with molecular oxygen improves;
  • The provision of vertebrae and discs with nutrients and bioactive compounds is restored;
  • Removing products of the inflammatory process, toxins, and other toxic substances from the tissues are accelerated.

The destruction of the vertebrae often provokes damage to nearby soft tissue structures – muscles, ligaments, tendons. When performing special gymnastic exercises, they can not only be restored but also significantly strengthened. A powerful muscular corset avoids further trauma to the intervertebral discs.

Basic rules for doing exercises

Osteochondrosis is localized in various parts of the spine. At the beginning of treatment, exercise therapy doctors recommend doing exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back area where damage was detected. After a few weeks, you can start doing gymnastics, which helps to stabilize the condition of the entire spinal column completely. What else you should know before starting training:

  • With osteochondrosis, an inflammatory process may occur in the spinal column. With its exacerbation, gymnastics is strictly prohibited due to the increased risk of tissue injury. Training is carried out only at the stage of remission;
  • If the exercise recommended by the doctor causes discomfort, this should not signal to cancel it. It is necessary to reduce the number of approaches to 5-10 and train not at full strength;
  • But when severe pain appears, the exercise cannot be performed. You should notify the doctor about this, who will correct the complex;
  • Do not train to exhaustion, trying to speed up recovery. This will not lead to tissue restoration but to abrasion of the surfaces of the intervertebral discs. Movements should be slow and smooth, and the number of approaches should be as recommended by the doctor.
Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis

The first rehabilitation measures are carried out only by an exercise therapy doctor. He develops a complex individually for each patient, taking into account the stage of the course of the pathology, the degree of damage to the tissues of the vertebrae, the age of the patient, and the presence of a history of chronic pathologies. Contraindications to therapeutic exercises for osteochondrosis are:

  • acute respiratory and intestinal infectious pathologies;
  • severe diabetes mellitus;
  • fever, febrile condition;
  • gastrointestinal disorders;
  • malignant tumors of any localization;
  • high or too low blood pressure;
  • severe diseases of the cardiovascular system.

The remaining chronic pathologies are not included in the list of contraindications, but the exercise therapy doctor takes into account their presence and excludes the complex exercises that can harm the patient. After 3-5 workouts under the supervision of a specialist, you can practice at home.

The most effective exercises for osteochondrosis

Before performing gymnastics for the back, a warm-up is required. A warm shower will also help, which improves blood circulation and prepares the muscles for intense exercise. The warm-up consists of walking in place, tilting, and turning with a small amplitude. In the clinic, at the preparatory stage, the rehabilitation doctor massages the entire spinal column.


For the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, exercises are used to help strengthen the muscular corset not only of the neck but also of the shoulders, forearms, and upper back. Training is carried out in a standing position, but you can sit down if you feel tired.

Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis

In the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, static loads are practiced that do not provoke displacement of the intervertebral discs or the contact of their surfaces. A typical mistake of patients who neglect medical care is to perform circular head movements. If discs are displaced in the cervical region, then such training can cause severe complications. The greatest therapeutic effect is typical for the following exercises:

  • Put the palm of your right hand on your right cheek. Tilt your head to the right, trying to overcome resistance and not strain the neck muscles too much. Repeat the exercise 20-30 times, and then do the same with the opposite part of the face;
  • Fold your palms one on top of the other under the chin. Try to lower your head down, resisting with your hands. Perform the exercise 20-30 times;
  • Twist the fingers of the hands on the lower part of the back of the head and try, overcoming the resistance of the hands, to tilt the head back. Perform 15-20 approaches, stop when the pain of any intensity appears;
  • In a standing position, first raise one, then the other shoulder. Repeat the exercise, lifting both shoulders at once 20-30 times;
  • In a sitting position, pull your head up, and then try to press it into your shoulders 15-20 times.

During training, the back should be kept straight; when tired, sit down and press it against the back of the chair. Only such exercises can be performed with cervical osteochondrosis. Turning from side to side, intense bending back and forth will undoubtedly accelerate blood circulation but at the same time provoke the destruction of cartilage tissue.


This type of pathology is rarely diagnosed due to the low mobility of the thoracic spine, the lack of loads, and strong attachment to the ribs. If the disease is still detected, the doctor sets up exercises to build up the muscle corset of the entire chest, including the ribs. During training, you can not bend much. Otherwise, even more displacement of the vertebral discs may occur.

Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis

What exercises are recommended by doctors for thoracic osteochondrosis:

  • Sit on a stool and slowly lean from side to side, shifting the torso by 20-30 cm. When leaning to the right side, raise the right hand and vice versa. At the final stage, cross your arms above your head and shake them slightly as if relieving tension. Perform 20 tilts in each direction;
  • Lie on your back, and slowly raise your arms up. Cross them, and try to lift the upper part of the body. In this case, only the shoulder girdle should be strained, not the neck. At the beginning of training, it is enough to make ten trips, as the muscle corset strengthens – 20-30;
  • Lie on your stomach, relax, and stretch slowly. Without helping yourself with your hands, bend slightly. When performing the exercise, the lower back muscles should be tense. Bending, raise your head and arm. Repeat 15 to 20 times;
  • Get on all fours, and arch your back while inhaling. Stay in this position for 30 seconds. Then exhale and take the starting position. Do 20-25 sets.

The thoracic spine is not flexible, so that the first workouts can be difficult. Uncomfortable sensations of slight intensity are allowed. In this case, you should temporarily reduce the number of approaches.

Small of the back

Exercises for the back with lumbar osteochondrosis are of two types. These are stretching, which allows you to increase the distance between the damaged vertebrae, and strength training, aimed at strengthening the muscles. Rehabilitation doctors recommend that patients purchase a crossbar and hang on it several times a day. If age and excess weight interfere with such training, you can stretch another way. It would help if you sat on a hard surface, assumed the fetal position, and rocked back and forth.

It helps to prevent exacerbations of lumbar osteochondrosis and the following exercises:

  • Lie on your back, stretch your arms along the body, and relax. Slowly raise the right leg first, then the left leg 20-30 cm above the floor, holding them for 7 seconds. Perform 30 times;
  • Lying on your back, bend your knees, spread them to the maximum possible distance, and bring them together. Make 20-25 approaches;
  • Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms along the body, palms down. Raise your upper body first, then your legs. It would be best if you did not try to raise them to a great height – 20 cm is enough. Repeat the exercise 20-30 times;
  • Lie on your back and bend one leg at the knee. Raise the other 10-20 cm above the floor surface. Try to strain your legs, not your lower back, when doing the exercise. Do 20 sets.
Gymnastics for the back with osteochondrosis: rules for performing, sets of exercises

Gymnastics for lumbar osteochondrosis goes very well with massage, including classic. When the lumbosacral region is affected, scoliosis often occurs, posture is disturbed, and gait changes. When combining training with massage, these external manifestations of the pathology disappear much faster.

Physiotherapy exercises and gymnastics are conservative methods of therapy indicated for various diseases. But regular training is most relevant in treating and preventing pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. Classes do not cancel the use of pharmacological drugs and physiotherapy. But with their help, you can significantly reduce the dose of painkillers and minimize their side effects.


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