Hernia is a disorder that can affect men and women of every age group, hurting mostly the abdominal and inguinal/groin area. It occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal wall, along with the muscles or tendons in it, initially become weaker and then bulge or get fissured. As a result, a sac is developed by the inner lining of the abdominal cavity, which can bring about pain, discomfort or other malfunctions (i.e. occlusion of the intestine) due to the sliding of the intestine or abdominal tissue into that formed sac.
Unfortunately, there is no apparent cause for hernia; still, some of the reasons/contributing factors can be the following:
- Genetic predisposition
- Application of excessive pressure which can cause the boundary to deteriorate
- Natural weakness in the abdominal wall because of aging
- Overuse of the weakened muscles (mainly, heavy and ungainly lifting)
- Excessive weight/obesity
- Continuous coughing, which applies pressure to the abdomens
Here are the most common hernia symptoms:
- Evident protrusion/lump in the abdominal and groin area, especially when standing
- Aching when standing up from a sitting position or when lifting
- A general sense of discomfort
- A feeling of bloatedness
Hernia Stretching Exercises
Before performing any of the following stretches you need to have a careful look to our detailed Stretching Guide. Having said that we need to notice that although there are also other types of hernia apart from the inguinal (which is the most common kind) – with each of them necessitating a different approach –, below we are going to focus on stretches for that particular type. But generally, a hernia stretching routine aims primarily at loosening the lower abdominal area as well as the lower extremities. So:
- A classic hernia stretch is the side bends, which can be easily carried out either in active/static type or in dynamic or PNF type. To do it, assume a standing position with your arms at your sides and your legs slightly open; now, raise your left arm so that it goes over your head whereas bend your waist to the right; if you choose the static type, hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then return slowly to the initial position; repeat with the other arm/side until you complete 3-5 sets for each one; if you take the dynamic approach, carry out 10-15 repetitions for each side, for 5 sets (photo 1).
- Another one; assume a prone position on the floor with your arms at your sides and your legs fully extended; now, raise your left leg, without bending it, for about 5-8 inches off the ground; hold it there for 15-25 seconds, let it go down slowly to the floor, and repeat with the right leg, for 3-4 sets; alternatively, carry out this exercise dynamically (photo 2).
- An active/static hip stretch, ideal for hernia; get on your knees and palms (which should be shoulder-width apart), with your back parallel to the floor; now, lift your left knee towards your chest so as to feel a pull in your lower back, holding it there for 5-10 seconds; then, release the stretch but without returning to the neutral position; instead, raise your leg behind, extending your knee in the process so that it ends completely straightened with its sole facing the ceiling, and hold it for another 5-10 seconds; now, you can gently return to the initial position, switch sides and repeat for 3-4 additional sets.
- An interesting yoga pose, the uddiyana bandha; from a standing position, with your feet about shoulder-width apart, start leaning forward (without curbing your back), putting your palms just on your straightened knees with your elbows also straightened; now, try to push up and back towards your back until you feel a pull, which you hold for 10-20 seconds; to exit the pose, stand up slowly whereas lifting your arms approximately to the height of your ears before ultimately moving them down; repeat for 3-5 times (photo 3).
- Another yoga stretch, the pawanmuktasana; from a supine position, raise both legs until they come vertical to the floor; then, slowly bend your knees so that your thighs touch your belly; now, grab your knees with your arms, holding each elbow with the opposite hand; finally, bend your neck up so that your chin touches your knees; hold it there for 20 seconds, release and go step by step to the supine position; repeat for 3-5 times.
In general, a proper hernia stretching routine should include exercises that improve the flexibility of other body areas and limbs such as the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the groin area (do the seated groin stretch and/or the lunge stretch) and the adductors, so as to hinder the developing or deterioration of the situation.
Photos & Videos
Also the following list of vids provide some great stretches for hernia:
Other Hernia Treatment Options
Aside from the stretches, the list of hernia treatments may incorporate some of the following, (depending on the situation, of course):
- Pushing hernia back into place applying subtle pressure (obviously, performed by an expert!)
- Carrying out activities like treadmill walking or biking
- Performing special strengthening exercises that can augment your muscular strength, especially for the core muscles
- Wearing specialized supports and ligations
- Resorting to surgery
- Alternatively, refraining from physical activity
Hernia cannot be totally cured, so a stretching routine can just bring back part of the lost mobility and alleviate from the discomfort. Also, remember that the exact cure or exercising program usually depends massively on the nature of the herniated organ. So, do consult your GP for more secure diagnosis and treatment!
Category: Stretches and Diseases