Herniating Disc Treatments | Yoga for Herniated Disc Sufferers

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Yoga for Herniated Disc Sufferers


photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001Practicing yoga is considered a very effective alternative treatment option for people suffering from a herniated spinal disc as many yoga poses focus on lengthening and strengthening the back.

A lot of these positions can help relieve back pain and stimulate the body to heal.

Practiced in combination with other treatment methods, yoga can help to fix back problems by maintaining the muscles active, stretching and strengthening them.

This article talks about some safe yoga poses you can perform as well as the things you should keep in mind when performing yoga poses with a herniating or bulging disc. Towards the end of the post you’ll find some personal experiences shared by our followers and readers.

Is Yoga always a Good Idea?

Yoga doesn’t always work for everyone, there are many types of yoga and just as many types of back pain. That being said, there is no doubt that some yoga poses – if they are carefully chosen and performed – will strengthen and stretch certain muscles, which in turn can alleviate the back pain.

Many people report exceptional results after integrating a regular yoga practice into their lifestyle, but others claim that some of the poses made their injury worse. Here’s what some of our followers say on yoga with a herniated disc:

Yes, yoga does help. A lot! the only negative effect i have experienced is when i have stopped doing the yoga sretches and poses. ” ~Mary

Yoga made my herniated disc much worse. Mine is in my lower lumbar spine though, may depend on where yours is!!!” ~Natalie

“I do a lot of yoga for my discs. I don’t rush through the movements but slowly ease into them and hold poses to really strengthen my back more.” ~Raylene

I would recommend going Gluten free to reduce inflammation, and switch to Organic live foods. They will help you body heal. Had the same issue as you when I was 25. They wanted to operate right away. I’m 40 now and I still have symptoms but they have been reduced with a clean diet, exercise, stretching, Yoga, and I use the Trigger point workbook. You are a human machine. Which heals itself if you get out of the way. Good Luck.” ~Christopher

Inform Your Teacher

When choosing a yoga class, be certain to make the instructor aware of your back condition so that they may modify poses for you in order to prevent additional damage to your spine. A trainer could perhaps suggest a beginners class that’s more suitable for those with physical limits.

Make sure to explain your yoga instructor, whether you suffer from a herniation in the lower back, one in your neck, or even a herniated thoracic disc. The exact location or level of your injury might be an important factor in deciding which poses are a no-no in your specific case.


Yoga Poses to Avoid with a Herniated Disc

The majority of the herniated discs, by far, occur in the lower back, followed by neck njuries (this is the result of a poll answered by over two thousand of our readers, you can view the results and take the poll here).

Avoid or modify following yoga positions if you suffer from a lumbar disc herniation:

1. Any forward bends with stretched legs – this includes: Head-to-Knee Pose (Janusirsasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana) etc. To modify these poses you can either use a strap or bend your knees while keeping your awareness to the spine which must remain straight during the pose.

2. Any positions which require you to round your lower back – ask your yoga teacher for modifications of these poses where you can keep your lower back straight.

3. Any positions that feels uncomfortable or causes you pain, tingling or numbness. As each back condition is unique, some yoga poses may feel good for certain sufferers, but be really uncomfortable for others. Always practice extra mindfulness and listen to your body.

Poses to avoid with a cervical disc herniation:

1. Any pose that compresses or puts extra weight on the neck discs, like the Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Headstand (Sirsasana), Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) etc.

2. Any pose that causes uncomfortable muscle tightness in your neck and shoulders. These poses can vary from person to person. Some people may feel pain while looking up during certain poses like Side Angle Pose or Triangle pose, for others it may be alright. Modify these positions by adjusting your head position in a way that feels comfortable, or just avoid the poses completely.

3. Any pose that feels uncomfortable or causes pain, numbness or tingling.

Safe Yoga Poses for Bulging Discs

Poses that can be practiced without concern when suffering from a disc herniation include floor work like Savasana, single leg lifts, the cat stretch, cobra and child’s pose. Most of these positions can be modified to support any level of flexibility by utilizing props such as cushions, bolsters and straps.

“Yoga – Vajrasana with slow forward bending(child pose) helps me a lot.” ~Prashant

Below you can watch a series of 14 short videos that demonstrate how to correctly perform several yoga poses like the plank, the shoulder stand, the forward fold, various seated poses, the up and downward facing dog, the lotus pose and many more. Please leave your comments if you want to share your experiences while practicing yoga with a bulging or herniating disc.

Treating a Herniating Disc – Yoga & More

Additional alterations to exercise programs ought to be cleared with the treating health practitioner first in order to prevent injury. Adapting to a slipped disc using yoga is easy but demands some mindful consideration when selecting a class or performing poses, as certain safety measures should be taken.

Back pain patients who choose to do yoga at home should consider selecting just one or two poses to work with for each yoga session and steadily build up to a whole sequence or practice.

In order to be able to permanently treat the herniation, the right combination of exercises for back pain and other effective  treatment options must be used. As each patient has their own unique condition, the best thing you can do is to figure out everything about it. Educate yourself by reading and consulting specialists, and experiment with different treatments to find out what works best for you.


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Your Experiences With Herniated Discs and Yoga

Please feel free to share your own thoughts on practicing yoga with a spinal disc herniation in the comments area below.


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4 Responses to “Yoga for Herniated Disc Sufferers”

  1. Herniation Treatment on May 15th, 2012 5:20 pm

    […] Yoga […]

  2. Haley on January 26th, 2015 1:43 am

    Is yoga poses the only safe treatment or c I do other stretches that will help the disc go away

  3. on January 26th, 2015 6:25 am

    There are some good stretches and exercises for people with a herniated disc described in this article http://www.herniateddiscinfo.com/exercises-for-herniated-disc

  4. Yolanda Cortez Ortiz on May 31st, 2015 3:57 am

    Over the years I have practiced simple yoga for stiffness and chronic pain, now I have a tear in a disc and a herniated disc too. So my yoga will have to change. This is new to me and I'm fearful to make it worse. Any advise.

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