Nerve root compression due to a protruding disc can cause pain and a referral of symptoms down into the foot. It is important to check that all muscles in the lower limb can still be contracted (tightened up) as this confirms that any pressure on the nerve root is not stopping the nerve from working. It is also important to note that significant nerve compression which results in a loss of muscle strength is typically less painful as the nerve is not conducting any signal. Despite less pain, any loss of muscle strength is a more significant problem and requires medical attention.
Despite the term ‘slipped disc’, a disc does not slip anywhere and certainly can not be pushed back into place. Exercises and good posture can however minimise the mechanical force on a disc and help to achieve a a situation where the mechanical pressure does not force the disc to protrude any further. Strengthening the supporting muscles in the back and abdomen area can further influence mechanical strain and with extended compliance to posture and exercises most individuals will then experience less pain.
Compliance is the difficult part as we all too often drop into a slumped posture or sit with our feet curled up on the sofa. Desk based jobs and driving tends to hold us in a flexed posture, whilst manual work typically generates excessive compression and promotes twisting and rotational strain.
It is therefore important that as you work through the exercises you continue to apply the techniques shown. Very few individuals lift or sit to stand correctly. Practice the exercises and improve your technique and then apply during all of lives activities.