3 Exercises to Help with a Herniated Disc

herniated disc excercises
herniated disc excercises

One of the most common types of back injury, a herniated disc is what happens when the soft jelly-like plates between the vertebrae of a person’s spine rupture. Most of these occur in the lower back, otherwise known as the lumbar region.

In many cases, these ruptures are small and many people who have herniated discs rarely even notice them. They exhibit few symptoms and experience no pain. Sometimes, however, such ruptures can irritate nearby nerve endings, causing pain, as well as overall weakness and sometimes numbness.

Those who think they might have suffered any kind of spinal injury should seek help from a medical professional. For those who already have and are looking for some everyday things they can do to relieve their pain, here are three simple lumbar herniated disc exercises that anyone should be able to do.

Anyone who experiences pain while performing the following exercises should cease physical activity and call their doctor immediately.

Spinal decompression 

Those are the most basic exercises for a herniated disc, but also the more important. Those exercises relieves pressure from the discs in the lumbar region by temporarily creating more space between the individual vertebrae. It is a low-impact exercise.

First, find a door, pull-up bar, or any other sturdy overhead item. Raise your arms straight up and tightly grasp the top of the item. Slowly let your body go slack so that your weight naturally pulls your body downward. Retain your grip to maximize the extension of your spine. Hang there for about half a minute before pushing down with your feet to return to an upright standing position.

Repeat three times at least once a day.

Standing extension

Another very low impact and accessible exercise, standing extension works by temporarily overcorrecting the curvature of one’s back to compensate for the stresses placed on the spine due to a hunched posture. It is essentially a momentary reversal of the angle most people experience while standing, intended to push a lumbar disc back into its proper position.

To perform a standing extension, simply stand in place with your back straight, shoulders back, and chest out. Place your hands on your lower back near your pelvis. Slowly push your pelvis forward while extending your spine and neck until you are looking straight up. After a moment, return to the starting position.

Repeat two to three times a day in sets of ten.


Cat-to-cow, as it is called, is a slightly less low impact exercise derived from yoga. However it is still one that many should be able to perform with little difficulty or experience. It accomplishes some of the same goals as the standing extension, while also improving overall spinal mobility.

Begin by getting down on your hands and knees. Inhale steadily while letting your stomach drop, pulling your spine with it into a downward curve. At the same time, extend your neck and curl your head back so that you are looking straight up. After a moment, exhale and slowly push your spine upward into a curve while keeping your pelvis locked in place. Push into the floor with your hands and knees while lowering your head to look down at your feet.

Repeat two to three times a day in sets of ten.



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