Herniated Disc | Exercises for People with a Herniating Disc

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Exercises for People with a Herniating Disc

herniated disc

If you’re suffering from a herniated or a bulging disc, one of the questions you might be wondering about is:

what are some safe exercises?

Well, the truth is that – other than the few very obvious ones –  it’s very difficult to tell for sure, but this post will help you figure that out.


Understanding the Disc Herniation

The pressure that causes a disc to herniate in the first place is primarily due to too much compression on the spine. The vertebrae are compressing the disc – which typically is a very uneven compression (so one side of the spine is tighter than the other and so the discs are being squished on one side). And then there is also a torsion or rotation of the spine that is not supposed to be there. This is all caused by muscles pulling your spine out of alignment, twisting your body, arching your back too much etc.



What Happens if You Do the Wrong Exercises?

If you’re doing the wrong exercise it could be making your already tight muscles tighter and exacerbate the strain on your spine and worsen your herniating disc. And it is very difficult to heal a herniated or bulging disc while that pressure is still there.

These are some movements you should try to AVOID:

1. Bending over to lift very heavy items:

This is especially true if your injury is located in the lower back. If you bend over, always make sure you don’t round your lower back. This would put additional pressure on your lumbar vertebrae, and if you are lifting a heavy object on top of that, this could be fatal for your discs.

2. Running:

If your disc herniation is still acute, running is not always recommended, since it can place strain on the discs. Again, it has to be said that each injury is different, so each body can react differently to running. Be aware of the signs your body is giving you and ask your doctor if and when running would be ok for you.

3. Performing squats with too much weight:

Again, the pressure from the additional load could be too much for your spine and cause the intervertebral discs to get squished even more. 

4. Performing low back extensions:

They may put too much stress on the spine and cause it to further deteriorate.

5. Any form of resistence training:

Any movements that bring additional stress to the spine should be avoided.

6. Any type of forward bending with stretched legs:

Whether it’s sitting or standing, always make sure your back is completely straight when doing forward bends. In most cases, this means bending the knees a little bit. This relaxes the hamstrings and takes away pressure from your lower back. While doing forward bends, make sure your torso touches you thighs and always keep your awareness to the lengthening of your back.



Which Exercises are OK Then?

There are a variety of exercises that are safe, but the only way to know what exercises are going to be best for you to do is by finding out what exactly your condition is. Every single person with a herniated disc has a distinct situation. Use all information and help from experts you can get to find out about your posture, which specific muscles are tight in your body, and which are too weak.

That being said, there are a variety of exercises that are regarded as being beneficial for back pain. This link will lead to some pictures (it’s a facebook album, so it might only work for fb users) of such exercises that are regarded as generally safe and helpful for people with back pain. Pick the stretches that will help you lengthen muscles which are too short and strengthening exercises which focus on your weak muscles.

Some Exercises For Lower Back Pain

These exercises are especially helpful if you want relief from lumbar pain or sciatica. Be aware that not all exercises work the same for everybody and take into account the precautions.

1. The Cat Stretch (or Cat and Cow Pose):

Cat and CowThe cat stretch is a great way to relieve back & neck tension and relax the spine. This is how it works:

Start with your hands and knees on the floor and make sure your knees are under your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders. Take a deep inhale.

On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling and tighten your abs. Let your chin fall towards your chest and relax your neck.

On your next inhale, arch your back and let your stomach relax. Look up and raise your tailbone up towards the ceiling.

Repeat as many times as it feels comfortable.

2. The Cobra Pose:

Cobra Pose

This stretch can offer pain relief from sciatica and helps strengthen, lengthen, and relax your spine. How to do the cobra:

Start on your stomach with the back of your feet flat on the floor and forehead resting on the ground.

Place your palms under your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel and close to your upper body.

While deeply inhaling, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen.

Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands.

Hold this position for anywhere between a few seconds and up to one minute. Repeat a few times as long as it feels comfortable.

 3. The Bridge Pose:

Bridge Pose

This pose helps relieve back pain and opens your heart and hips. How to do the bridge pose:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip disctance apart.

While inhaling, tuck your tailbone in, press down with your feet and raise your hips towars the ceiling.

Interlace your fingers while keeping your arms and hands on the floor. Press your shoulders down and lift your ribs up. Stay in this position as you continue to breathe for 30 seconds.

Release your hands, relax your shoulders and roll down slowly. Repeat two more times.




4. Child’s Pose:

Child's Pose

Child’s pose is a restful and healing position for your back which can be also used as a counterpose to any exercise that requires backbends.

To get into the child’s pose:

Kneel down with your toes touching and your knees about hip distance apart.

Sit down on your heels and slowly fold your upper body towards your thighs. Lengthen the back of your neck before resting your forehead on the floor.

Lay your hands on the floor palms up alongside your torso and relax your shoulders toward the floor.

Stay in this position anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes and breathe deeply. Feel how your body relaxes more and more during each exhalation.

This pose can also be used as just a deep forward bend for beginners who require stretching and lengthening of their back and hips.

5. The Bow Pose:

PicsArt_1402338402409As long as your back problems are not serious, the bow pose is a great exercise to simultaneously strengthen your back muscles, open the chest and stretch the entire front side of your body. 

How to do the bow pose:

Lie on the floor with your stomach facing down.

Bend your knees and grab your ankles with both hands.

With an inhale, lift your chest and knees off the ground and pull your feet backwards. At the same time, press your hips and lower stomach ino the ground.

Hold the pose as long as it feels comfortable and don’t forget to breathe. Release and relax. Repeat if you feel like it.


Infograph pictures courtesy of www.massagenerd.com.

Questions and Answers on Exercising With HD

These are some interesting conversations embedded from our facebook page, which are related to exercising with disc herniations. You can participate in the discussions or ask your own questions in the comments area below.



Filed Under Herniating Disc Information | 22 Comments

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22 Responses to “Exercises for People with a Herniating Disc”

  1. Audio Switch : on October 31st, 2010 10:49 am

    alternative treatments that are based on natural and organic stuffs are the best ..

  2. Candy Paint on November 22nd, 2010 8:21 am

    i love alternative treatments because it is simple and does not have nasty side effects :-,

  3. HK Hall on December 1st, 2010 5:03 pm

    want to know about best treatment for L5 hernated disc.Exercises and medicines.

  4. jeeva on December 30th, 2010 6:16 am

    Recently completed ayurvedic treatement, am improving slowly but no side effects…..as ayurvedic doctors said it wd take some time to heal provided if v follow do’s and donts without fail………..

  5. jeeva on December 30th, 2010 6:17 am

    Recently completed ayurvedic treatement, am improving slowly but no side effects…..as ayurvedic doctors advised tht it wd take some time to heal provided if v follow do’s and donts without fail………..

  6. Shoe Insoles for Back Pain on July 6th, 2011 5:57 pm

    […] in combination with other suited treatments as well as specific exercises for herniating discs, shoe insoles can help you get faster results. Read more about what else you can do on […]

  7. L5 Disc Herniation | Lumbar Disc Herniation on July 7th, 2011 8:45 pm

    […] order to treat a lumbar disc herniation, a focused treatment combined with exercises should be initiated. Find out how you can do this on FixMyDiscDisease.info or get a copy of the […]

  8. L4 L5 Disc Herniation | Lumbar Disc Herniation on July 11th, 2011 9:58 am

    […] as each condition is unique. This is why every patient must get a personalized treatment, using exercises and other therapies, that focus on the specific muscles that need to be strengthened or equalized […]

  9. C4-C5 Disc Herniation on July 25th, 2011 11:04 am

    […] procedure. All you need is some patience as well as the right combination of treatments and exercises that can fix your muscle imbalance. Posts Related to C4-C5 Disc Herniation […]

  10. Shoe Insoles for Back Pain on August 13th, 2011 4:58 pm

    […] in combination with other suited treatments as well as specific exercises, shoe insoles can help you get faster […]

  11. Alexis Blunte on December 6th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Can a car accident cause a bulging L5-S1 disc?.

  12. Anterior vs. Posterior Herniation on May 24th, 2012 7:17 am

    […] imbalances in the patients body. Such treatment ideally is a combination of targeted therapies and exercises. Find out how to easily detect which muscles need strengthening and balancing and how you can […]

  13. Paracentral Extrusion on May 25th, 2012 9:54 am

    […] this information, a specific mixture of remedies and physical exercises might help treat the condition. For detailed tips on how to do this click here to obtain a copy of […]

  14. Peninah mwaniki on October 6th, 2012 10:52 am

    I could like to know more about discs bulge and it treatment.pls

  15. jamesmathew on December 21st, 2012 11:49 am

    Exercise is the best way i want to know some more exercise for herniating disc.

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    […] of a targeted treatment plan that is designed for your unique condition and combines different exercises and […]

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  20. SanBa Khìn on January 24th, 2015 2:39 pm

    Those exercises r wonderfully useful. Thanks a lot.

  21. M Ihsan Zakir Ihsan on January 31st, 2015 1:19 pm

    tharapiutic the best tretments,

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