What do exercises have to do with making a sore back or neck feel better?
For most people with back or neck pain, the last thing you would think to do is more activity. Years ago, a New Zealand physical therapist named Robin McKenzie noticed that some of his patients with herniated discs had relief of pain symptoms simply by bending over and extending. Since then, McKenzie flexion and extension exercises have been used by back pain clinics around the world to help people recover from back pain without surgery.
The back is composed of vertebrae which are separated by soft discs that act as shock absorbers. Think of the disc like a jelly donut between the vertebrae. The discs can move forward, backwards, sideways, or can simply protrude out in either direction. The disc can also rupture or cause the jelly to leak out. The disc protruding from the vertebrae is the herniation and a loss of the jelly causes the vertebrae to lose height and move closer together. The herniated disc may come into contact or touch the nerve roots or spinal cord and cause pain in the area of the herniation or numbness down the arms or legs.