How To Rehab A Herniated Disc? (Solution)

Like most back pain conditions, gentle exercise is part of the treatment for a herniated disc.


  1. Lie on your abdomen.
  2. Place your hands on the floor near your shoulders.
  3. Push up, raising your back and shoulders; keep your forearms on the floor.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

What is the best treatment for a herniated disc?

  • Medications. Over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Therapy. Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to help with your pain.
  • Surgery. Diskectomy is the surgical removal of the damaged portion of a herniated disk in your spine.


What is the fastest way to heal a herniated disc?

Self care: In most cases, the pain from a herniated disc will get better within a couple days and completely resolve in 4 to 6 weeks. Restricting your activity, ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications will help your recovery.

How long does a herniated disc take to heal itself?

The average amount of time it takes for a herniated disk to heal is four to six weeks, but it can get better within a few days depending on how severe the herniation was and where it occurred. The biggest factor in healing a herniated disk is time, because most often it will resolve on its own.

Can herniated disc heal on own?

Usually a herniated disc will heal on its own over time. Be patient, and keep following your treatment plan. If your symptoms don’t get better in a few months, you may want to talk to your doctor about surgery.

Can herniated discs heal with physical therapy?

The majority of herniated disks do not require surgery, and respond best to physical therapy. Physical therapists design personalized treatment programs to help people with herniated disks regain normal movement, reduce pain, and get back to their regular activities.

Is walking good for herniated disc?

Absolutely. Walking is an excellent choice for patients with herniated discs, as it stimulates blood flow and oxygen to the cells. It also helps keep your discs hydrated, which is important for healing. Other low-impact aerobic activities to try are swimming and cycling.

What activities should you avoid with a herniated disc?

Everyday Activities to Avoid with Herniated Disc

  • Sitting too much. Sitting puts more stress on your spinal discs, especially when slouching forward in a seat.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Feeding a pet.
  • Strenuous exercise.
  • Shoveling snow or gardening.
  • Learn more:

Can a chiropractor fix a herniated disc?

Chiropractic is a preferred treatment method for many patients with bulging and herniated discs because it is non-invasive and does not involve drugs or injections. Once you have your diagnosis, you and your chiropractor can work together to find the best way to treat your condition.

Can you push a herniated disc back into place?

The most important take-away here is to see a qualified physician to diagnose your back pain and offer treatment options. If you have back pain from a bulging disc, do not have your friend try to force it back into place. This will likely increase, rather than relieve, your pain.

Can bed rest heal a herniated disc?

Most often 1-2 days of strict bed rest will calm severe back pain. Bed rest should not exceed 48 hours. Once you are back into your daily routine, you should take frequent rest breaks throughout the day- but avoid sitting for long periods of time.

Is a herniated disc permanent?

Once a healthy disc herniates, it will never return to its normal anatomical state— the disease or injury is permanent in nature.

Can herniated disc last years?

Herniated discs are a common cause of chronic back pain, especially among people between the ages of 30-50 years. While many people with herniated discs suffer from chronic, unrelenting pain, others may find their symptoms come and go, or at least vary in their severity.

How can I shrink a herniated disc?

1. Heat and cold therapy can help relieve muscle tension and pain.

  1. Apply heat to your back in the morning or prior to stretching/exercise to decrease muscle tension.
  2. Try placing a heating pad or hot compress against your lower back periodically throughout the day.

How do you strengthen your core with a herniated disc?

3 Exercises Safe for a Bulging Disc

  1. Superman or McKenzie press. Any type of extension exercise is going to be the safest and most effective for a posteriorly herniated disc.
  2. Heel taps. Static abdominal exercises are great for strengthening the entire core and stabilizing the spine.
  3. Glute bridges.

Is sitting or standing better for herniated disc?

It’s Not Either/Or While patients often ask us if sitting or standing is better for their back pain, the answer isn’t completely clear. It’s not that one or the other is better. It’s a matter of balance. Some studies suggest that it can be just as painful to stand for long periods as it can be to sit for too long.


A herniated disk occurs when the cushion-like cartilage (the disk) between the vertebrae of the spine is ripped, allowing the gelatin-like core of the disk to flow out into the surrounding tissues. A herniated disk, which is sometimes referred to as a slipped disk, can be caused by a sudden trauma to the spine or by long-term strain on the spine. Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with this illness, which primarily affects persons between the ages of 30 and 50. Lifting weights on a regular basis, participating in weight-bearing activities, being overweight, smoking, and having bad posture are all risk factors for herniated disks.

Physical therapists provide individualized treatment plans to assist persons who have herniated disks in regaining normal movement, reducing discomfort, and returning to their regular activities.

They improve the quality of life of their patients via hands-on treatment, patient education, and prescribed physical activity.

Find a PT is a website that can help you locate a physical therapist in your region.

What Is a Herniated Disk?

Each of the 33 vertebrae (bones) that make up the spine is piled on top of the others. There is a cushion-like piece of cartilage between each vertebra, which is referred to as a “intervertebral disk.” Consider the disk in the form of a jelly donut:

  • AF refers to the rubbery material that covers the outside of the doughnut (the “annulus fibrosus” or AF). The “hole” in the doughnut (known as the “nucleus pulposus” or NP) is filled with a gelatin-like material.

When a person is younger than 30 years of age, the disk is soft and flexible, and it absorbs shock exceedingly efficiently, making it an excellent shock absorber. Individuals, on the other hand, might lose part of their disk’s flexibility as they get older. When pressure is applied to the spine, the outer component of the disk (AF) can break, allowing the gelatin-like core (NP) to leak out through the tear and into the surrounding tissue. A herniated disk is a term used to describe this leakage or bulging of the gelatin.

Injuries that produce herniation can happen quickly or build gradually over time.

  • When someone lifts anything while not in the proper position, they risk suffering a sudden injury. This motion puts stress on the spine and causes the outer portion of a disk to rupture unexpectedly. When you sit or stand with bad posture (slumped forward) for hours, weeks, or years, you can cause a gradual damage to your back by progressively overstretching or ripping the outer section of your disk.

The low back, which is located just below the waist level, is the most commonly affected part of the spine by herniated disks. An other typical location for herniated disks is the neck.

How Does It Feel?

Symptoms of a herniated disk include neck and back discomfort, as well as numbness, weakness, and tingling in the hands, arms, and legs. It is possible to have discomfort or muscular weakness if the bulging or leaking disk pulls on a neighboring nerve. Depending on whether the bulging or leaking disk presses on a nerve, pain or impairment may not be experienced. Although a herniated disk may be the source of back or neck discomfort, there may be other variables at play as well. During your physical therapy session, your physical therapist will check for and rule out any possible problems.

Your physical therapist can assist you in determining whether or not any of these diseases is present, and will collaborate closely with your physician and surgeon to select the most appropriate therapy.

Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the location and orientation of the herniated disk, as well as the degree of pressure exerted on adjacent nerves, the kind and location of your symptoms will vary. It is possible that a herniated disk will produce no discomfort at all. Alternatively, it can induce any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Depending on the location and orientation of the herniated disk, as well as the degree of pressure exerted on adjacent nerves, the kind and location of your symptoms will differ. There may be no discomfort associated with a herniated disk. It can also induce any of the symptoms listed below:

It is possible for the gelatin-like core of the disk (NP) to become dry and less soft in adults over the age of 50, reducing the likelihood that the disk would leak or herniate. Degenerative disk disease and degenerative joint disease are two disorders that might arise as a result of this degradation and result in discomfort. Your physical therapist will collaborate with other health-care providers to get the most accurate diagnosis for your condition.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your physical therapist will perform a full assessment, which will involve collecting a detailed medical history. Additionally, your physical therapist will ask you thorough questions concerning your injuries, such as the ones below:

  • When and how did the discomfort begin
  • What time of day is the most difficult
  • What kind of discomfort are you experiencing, and where are you experiencing it
  • What are you unable to perform right now in your regular life as a result of the pain

Your physical therapist will conduct tests on your body in order to diagnose physical disorders such as the following:

  • Numbness in some sections of the body
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Difficulty moving
  • Weakness or stiffness in the muscles
  • Loss of cutaneous sensitivity in some areas
  • Stiffness of the joints
  • Having bad posture
  • Walking becomes difficult

Physical therapy treatment may begin immediately if your physical therapist discovers any of the difficulties listed above, in order to assist you in getting back on the path to recovery and back to your daily activities. If further testing reveals more severe difficulties, your physical therapist may partner with a physician or surgeon to seek specialized diagnostic testing, such as an MRI, to rule out more serious issues. Physical therapists collaborate closely with physicians and other health-care professionals to ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis, as well as the therapy and care that you require for your condition.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Except in the most extreme circumstances, conservative treatment (such as physical therapy) for a herniated disk is frequently more effective than surgical intervention or pain drugs such as opioids in the treatment of herniated disks. Your physical therapist will collaborate with you to develop a customized treatment regimen that will expedite your recovery. This will include exercises and treatments that you may perform at home. Physical therapy will assist you in returning to your previous way of life and activities.

The following are some recommendations from your physical therapist for you to follow within the first 24 to 48 hours after being diagnosed with a herniated disk:

  • Exercise caution in the region by avoiding any activity that aggravates symptoms in the arms or legs. Stay away from bed rest. Maintain a healthy level of activity around the house and take short walks several times each day. Physical activity will relieve pain and stiffness while also making you feel better. Every 2 hours, apply ice packs to the afflicted region for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Sit in seats that are firm. The use of soft sofas and easy seats may exacerbate your difficulties. Further treatments, such as prescription drugs or diagnostic testing, should be discussed with your doctor

Individuals suffering from herniated disks may benefit from certain workouts. Your physical therapist will provide you with further information about them. As an illustration:

  • It’s possible to keep physically active when exercising in water even when other types of exercise are uncomfortable. You may or may not benefit from exercises that require a great deal of twisting and bending. You will be provided with a tailored workout program by your physical therapist to match your unique needs. Exercises involving weight lifting, while extremely beneficial, must be performed with perfect form in order to reduce stress on the back and neck.

Your physical therapist will collaborate with you in order to:Reduce pain and other associated problems Your physical therapist will assist you in understanding how to avoid or alter the actions that resulted in the injury, allowing you to begin the healing process. Your physical therapist may employ a variety of therapies and technology to help you regulate and lessen your pain and symptoms, among other things. Make your posture more upright. Your physical therapist will instruct you on how to correct your posture if he or she determines that bad posture is a contributing factor to your herniated disk.

  1. Increase your range of motion.
  2. These may begin with “passive” motions that the physical therapist does for you in order to move your spine, and proceed to “active” exercises and stretches that you complete on your own to move your spine.
  3. Increase your adaptability.
  4. Increase your physical strength.
  5. “Core strengthening” is a technique that is widely used to rebuild the strength and coordination of the muscles that surround your back, hips, belly, and pelvis after you have had a disk herniation in your neck or back.
  6. Following an injury, it is critical to re-establish muscle endurance.
  7. Learn how to use a home software.
  8. These exercises will be tailored to your unique requirements; if you follow the instructions provided by your physical therapist, you will be able to accelerate your recuperation.
  9. Your physical therapist will talk with you about your activity levels and utilize this information to help you develop rehabilitation objectives for work, sports, and your personal life.
  10. To treat spine injuries such as a herniated disk, your physical therapist may instruct you on good “body mechanics,” or the ideal method to do chores and move heavy things, which will aid in the prevention of additional injury to your spine.

If you want to keep your back healthy and pain-free after your discomfort has subsided, it will be critical for you to maintain your new posture and movement patterns over time.

Following Surgery

Surgery is only required in extremely rare circumstances to avoid irreparable damage to a nerve or the spinal cord. Following surgery to repair a herniated disk, your physical therapist will collaborate with you and your surgeon to help you restore motion and strength more rapidly than you could on your own, as well as assist you return to your usual lifestyle as soon as possible after the procedure.

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Can This Injury or Condition Be Prevented?

Individuals should take the following precautions to avoid suffering from a herniated disc:

  • Utilize proper body mechanics when lifting, pushing or pulling anything, or performing any action that places additional stress on your spine
  • Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly. This will help to relieve pressure on your spine. Stop smoking
  • Consult with a physical therapist about your job duties, who may give an examination of your job requirements as well as ideas for decreasing your risk of injury. Maintain the strength and flexibility of your muscles. Participate in a steady routine of physical activity to keep your fitness level at a healthy level
  • And

Many physical therapy clinics provide “back schools,” which educate clients on how to properly care for their backs and necks and avoid damage in the first place. Inquire with your physical therapist about programs that are available in your region. You may search for a physical therapist in your region if you don’t already have one. Click onFind a PT to discover a trained expert in your area. Follow the recommendations above to avoid a recurrence of a herniated disc, and also:

  • In order to maintain your back healthy, continue to practice the improved posture and movement patterns that you acquired from your physical therapist. Continue to follow the home-exercise regimen that your physical therapist instructed you to follow in order to sustain your progress. Continue to engage in physical activity and maintain a healthy weight

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?

Because of their education and expertise, all physical therapists are qualified to treat clients who are suffering from low back pain as the result of a ruptured disk. You might want to think about the following:

  • Someone who works as a physical therapist and has extensive knowledge in treating persons who have orthopedic or musculoskeletal disorders
  • A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy or who has completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic physical therapy is qualified. Your ailment may benefit from the expertise of this therapist, who possesses extensive knowledge, experience, and abilities.

The American Physical Therapy Association created Find a PT, an online tool that allows you to look for physical therapists in your area who have specific clinical expertise. You can find these and other credentials by searching for physical therapists in your area who have these and other credentials. When looking for a physical therapist, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Consult with family, friends, or other health-care professionals for advice. Whenever you call a physical therapy facility to schedule an appointment, inquire about the physical therapists’ previous expertise in treating clients with a herniated disk. Ensure that you are prepared to discuss your symptoms in as much detail as possible, as well as what makes your symptoms worse

Find a Physical Therapist in Your Area!

Is this content helpful?

Thank you very much. Your feedback has been forwarded to the appropriate party. Customers, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, should have access to information that will assist them in making health-care decisions, as well as information that helps prepare them for their appointment with their health-care practitioner. The papers that follow contain some of the most up-to-date scientific information on the topic of physical therapy for the treatment of a herniated disk. Recently published research and an overview of current treatment guidelines in the United States and abroad are presented in these articles.

  1. Athena Apeldoorn, Henri van Helvoirt, Henri Meihuizen, et al.
  2. 2016;46(4):258–269.
  3. 2016;46(4):258–269.
  4. P.
  5. Desmeules, M.
  6. Robitaille, and J.
  7. Roy.

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2015;45(1):4-17.

This is a free article.

VanGelder LH, Hoogenboom BJ, Vaughn DW.

International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

This is a free article.

Di Ciaccio, M.


International Journal of Theriogenology and Rehabilitation.

There is no abstract available.

Gaughran and K.

Keramat Large cervical disc herniations can be treated with physiotherapy in a safe manner.

This is a free article.

630–636 in the European Spine Journal (Eur Spine J, 2012).


Toy, J.

Hayes, and B.

A comprehensive study of the effectiveness of manual physical therapy in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy was conducted.

Journal of Manipulative Therapy.

Cook, C., Hegedus, E.J., and Ramey, K.

In this systematic review of the literature, we look at physical therapy exercise interventions that are based on categorization and the patient response technique.

*There is no abstract available.

PubMed contains millions of citations to biomedical literature, including citations to articles in the MEDLINE database maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

Symptoms Disk Herniation is one of the conditions. Author(s) Christopher Bise, PT, DPT, is a specialist reviewer (s) The editorial board has made a decision.

Herniated disk: 6 safe exercises and what to avoid

Gently performed exercises, stretches, and hobbies can all assist to alleviate the discomfort associated with a herniated disk. Spinal, neck, and back exercises can also help to strengthen and increase flexibility in the body’s core. In the case of a herniated disk, also known as a slipped or ruptured disk, the soft jelly in the middle of the disk leaks out past the tough outer layer and into the surrounding area. It can be quite painful and may result in the following symptoms:

  • Lower back discomfort
  • Neck pain
  • Shooting arm pain
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the leg or foot
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in one arm
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the other arm

The majority of people who suffer from a herniated disk do not require surgery. Physiotherapy is frequently recommended by doctors to address the symptoms of a herniated disk. Any disk in the spine, including the neck, can become herniated, but the lower back is the most typical site of herniated disks. Depending on where the herniated disk is located, different workouts may be beneficial. It will be discussed in this article how to perform some of the exercises that can assist to ease pain, hasten recovery, and prevent a herniated disk from reoccurring.

Pressure on the nerves in the neck can result in discomfort in the neck and shoulder muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Neck discomfort caused by a slipped disk in the upper spine or neck can be relieved by performing the following exercise:

1. Neck stretches

People who suffer from a herniated disk around the neck should attempt the following exercise to alleviate the discomfort and pressure:

  1. Take a seat upright on a chair and lift your chin toward your chest, then back against the headrest, extending your neck. After that, move the left ear toward the left shoulder and the right ear toward the right shoulder
  2. This sequence should be repeated multiple times.

Stronger hamstring muscles can aid patients suffering from a ruptured disk in the lower spine in terms of supporting their core and back more effectively. Try some of the hamstring stretches listed below:

2. Seated chair stretch

For a mild sitting stretch along the hamstrings, try the following:

  1. Lie down in a chair with one foot flat on the floor and the other extended out straight, with the heel of your other foot flat on the floor Lean forward over the extended leg with the rear of the upper thigh stretched until there is a stretch along the back of the upper thigh. This posture should be held for 15–30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other leg numerous times.

3. Towel hamstring stretch

Try the following exercises for a deeper hamstring stretch:

  1. One leg should be hoisted into the air while lying flat on a yoga mat. Wrap a towel around the foot of the leg as it is suspended in the air. Pulling the leg closer to the torso while holding the towel Maintain for 15–30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other leg numerous times.

Strengthening the muscles in the back can assist to alleviate discomfort in the lower back, as can the exercises that follow. This will give extra support and will aid in the prevention of further injury.

4. Back flexion stretch

Exercises for back flexion help to stretch the spine and back muscles. Consult with your doctor before doing any of these workouts after suffering a back injury. To conduct a back flexion stretch, follow these steps:

  1. As you Lie Down on Your Back, bring both knees to your chest. Move the head forward at the same time until there is a comfortable stretch over the mid and lower back
  2. This should be repeated multiple times.

5. Knee to chest stretch

With a knee to chest stretch, the muscles on each side of the body will be worked independently, resulting in a more mild stretch. Take a look at the following:

  • Assume a supine position with the knees bent and both heels on the ground
  • Place both hands behind one knee and draw it in toward the chest until it is fully extended. Repeat the process on the other leg numerous times.

6. Piriformis muscle stretch

The piriformis muscle is a tiny muscle that is placed deep in the buttocks and is responsible for squatting. To make this muscle more flexible, do the following:

  • Assume a supine position with the knees bent and both heels on the ground
  • Cross one leg over the other, allowing the ankle to rest on the bent knee of the opposite leg. To do this, gently draw your crossed knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your buttock
  • Repeat the process on the other side.

Exercises and physiotherapy are frequently recommended as part of the rehabilitation process after a herniated disk. After suffering from a herniated disk, a doctor would normally prescribe that you take it easy for a few days. Gentle activities and exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that support the spine and alleviate strain on the spinal column as a result of the condition. They will also assist to increase spinal flexibility, which may help to prevent the likelihood of a herniated disk returning in the future.

Specific activities that a person should and should not practice during the healing phase will be discussed by the instructors. Gentle actions that may be done to alleviate the symptoms of a herniated disk include:

All exercises should be performed slowly and carefully, especially while bending or lifting. Exercises should not be painful. If a person has discomfort while performing the exercises, they should stop and consult with their doctor. Exercises for treating herniated disk discomfort in the neck and back are discussed in detail further down this page. A herniated disk can occur as a result of hard lifting, abrupt pressure on the back, or engaging in repetitive intense tasks for an extended period of time.

  • It is recommended that people refrain from performing any workouts that create discomfort or make them feel as though they are aggravating their suffering.
  • People who engage in high-impact activities such as running or martial arts may desire to avoid doing so.
  • The safest strategy to lessen symptoms is to begin with mild exercise and gradually progress to more intensive activity.
  • A person should consult with a doctor to determine the most appropriate fitness routine for their unique needs.
  • Strengthening the back and hamstring muscles can help to relieve strain on the spinal column, which can help to reduce discomfort and recurrence of symptoms.
  • A doctor can offer the most appropriate workouts for each individual based on which disk has herniated and how severe the herniation is.

Exercise for Sciatica from a Herniated Disc

A regulated and systematic exercise and rehabilitation program can successfully treat the acute, burning sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc and help to prevent it from recurring. If the acute pain is too great to allow for exercise, a pain management intervention, such as medication or an epidural steroid injection in the lumbar region, may be indicated to help the patient go through the exercise program more quickly. It releases some of its jelly-like nucleus into the spinal canal when a lumbar disc herniates, causing pain.

  • Providing relief from acute, excruciating sciatic pain
  • Providing rehabilitation in order to promote long-term recovery

Exercises for lumbar herniated discs are designed to target and strengthen the abdominal, deep spinal, gluteal, pelvic floor, and diaphragm muscles, among other muscles.

1 The effectiveness of exercise and physical therapy for a lumbar herniated disc will be determined primarily by the length of time the patient has been experiencing symptoms and the intensity of the discomfort.

Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain Caused by a Herniated Lumbar Disc

Sciatica caused by a herniated disc can be treated using a variety of strengthening and stretching exercises that are tailored to the individual patient. The following are examples of exercise categories:

  • A McKenzie method2
  • Abdominal and back strengthening exercises3
  • Abdominal and back stabilization exercises3,4
  • Nerve mobilization exercises5
  • A McKenzie method2
  • A nerve mobilization exercise6.

Nerve mobilization aids in the treatment of nerves that have developed adhesions, which are fibrous bands of soft tissue that grow as a result of inflammation and make the nerves rigid. Adhesions around the sciatic nerve roots are most commonly formed as a result of a long-term decrease in blood flow and edema around the sciatic nerve roots caused by herniated discs. 6 Sciatica is a painful condition that develops from the spinal nerve root location and travels down the leg as a result of adhesions that form over time.

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McKenzie Method for Sciatica from a Herniated Disc

The McKenzie approach is based on a procedure known as pain centralization, which involves transferring the source of the pain sensations from the leg or foot to the lower back. Once the pain has been relocated, it is possible to treat the lower back pain more effectively by performing strengthening and stabilizing activities. 7See McKenzie Therapy for Mechanical Low Back Pain for further information. Getting the spine into a backward-bending or extension position helps to centralize lower back discomfort.


Because this position may be unpleasant at first, it is recommended that you begin this exercise slowly and cautiously.

  • Lie down on your stomach (in the prone position) and prop your upper body up with your elbows. Do not lift your hips off the floor
  • Instead, bend them. To begin, hold the press-up position for 5 seconds every repeat and progressively increase the time to 30 seconds per repetition.

Make an effort to finish 10 repetitions.

Advanced extension

Begin by lying down in the prone posture.

  • Lie down on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and your feet flat on the floor. Gently push up on both hands with both hands
  • Maintain contact between the pelvis and the floor. Gently stretch the buttocks and lower back while keeping the lower back relaxed.

Hold this posture for a few seconds, or as long as is comfortable, and then repeat the process 10 times. For those who find laying flat to be too painful, a comparable exercise can be performed standing:

  • Placing both hands on the hips will provide support while you lean back as far as is comfortable while experiencing a stretch in the lower back
  • However, do not extend too far that you risk falling. Hold this posture for 5 seconds, progressively increasing the time until you can hold it for 30.

Repeat the exercise a total of ten times. Exercises to strengthen and stabilize the lower back and abdominal muscles are indicated to address the concentrated pain as the pain progresses from the leg to the lower back and abdominal muscles. McKenzie Treatment Provides Pain Relieving Results

In This Article:

Workouts that are more sophisticated and performed while lying on the stomach are included in lower back strengthening and stabilizing routines. These exercises help to develop muscular strength, keep the spine in a good position, and avoid excessive movements of the lower back. 8

Upper back extension

This exercise helps to build the strength of the extensor muscles in the spine.

  • Lie down in the prone posture with both hands clasped behind the lower back
  • Slowly elevate the head and chest slightly while keeping the gaze fixed on the floor (remain low)
  • Start with holding the posture for 5 seconds and progressively increase the time until you reach 20 seconds.

Make an effort to accomplish 8 to 10 repetitions every set.

Prone arm and leg lifts

This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the back, abdominals, trunk, and hips.

  • Lie down on your back and drop your head and chest to the floor
  • Gently lift one arm and one leg 2 to 3 inches off the floor without bending the knee
  • Repeat on the other side. To begin, hold the posture for 5 seconds
  • Then, repeat the process.

Complete 8 to 10 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions. As your strength grows, try to hold the posture for at least 20 seconds. See “Strengthening Exercise Program for Low Back Pain Relief” for more information.

Exercises for Strengthening the Abdominal Muscles

Lie down and execute abdominal muscle strengthening and stabilization exercises to strengthen and stabilize your abdominal muscles.

Curl-ups for upper abdominal muscles

Laying on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor is a good place to start.

  • Then, fold your arms over your chest and lean your pelvis forward so that your back is flat on the floor. Lifting the head and shoulders off the floor with care is recommended. To begin, hold for 2 to 4 seconds before gently returning to the beginning position

As your strength increases, try to complete two sets of ten curls.

It is not recommended to attempt to elevate the head too high. If you experience neck discomfort, place your hands behind your head to support your neck.

Single leg raises for the lower abdominal muscles

Begin by resting on your back and contracting the muscles in your abdominal area.

  • Slowly elevate one leg 8 to 12 inches off the floor, without bending the knee
  • Repeat with the other leg. Keep the low back and opposing leg flat against the floor. Allow for 8 to 10 seconds of leg lift time before lowering leg to starting position carefully.

As your strength increases, try to complete two sets of ten lifts. Alternatively, if executing these movements is too uncomfortable, water therapy may be explored as an alternative treatment method. The buoyancy of the water gives support, which in turn reduces the amount of discomfort. Water exercises can be particularly good for strengthening the lower abdominal and hip muscles, which are located in the lower abdomen. Find out more about Abdominal Exercisesadvertisement by visiting their website.

Sciatic Nerve Glide Exercise

Nerve mobilization and glide exercises (nerve stretching) are intended to reduce nerve tension while also increasing the flexibility of the nerve. 9 The following steps should be followed for sciatic nerve mobilization:

  • Put your feet flat on the floor while sitting erect in a chair and elevate one leg to straighten your knee while maintaining the other foot flat on the floor
  • Taking little steps, flex the ankle such that the toes are pointed upward
  • Bending the ankle back and forth while pointing the toes upward and outward should be continued. As tolerable, perform the same nerve glide with the head bowed forward, bringing the chin towards the chest, in order to increase the amount of strain on the sciatic nerve. Pump the ankle up and down 15 to 20 times, then switch to the other leg and continue the exercise.

Aim to complete 3 cycles for each leg, twice a day, in order to reach your goal. The following is a slide display of nine exercises for sciatica pain relief.


  • 1. Pourahmadi MR, Taghipour M, Ebrahimi Takamjani I, Sanjari MA, Mohseni-Bandpei MA, Keshtkar AA, Pourahmadi MR, Taghipour M, Ebrahimi Takamjani I, Sanjari MA, Mohseni-Bandpei MA, Pourahmadi MR, Pourahmadi MR, Pourahmadi MR, Using motor control exercises to treat symptoms of lumbar disc herniation: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis approach BMJ Open, 2016
  • 6(9):e012426, published on September 27th, 2016. BMJ Open 2016-012426
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Exercises and Stretches for Herniated Disc Pain

Consider the cushioning discs between your vertebrae to be similar to the brake pads on your car—they actually have more in common with shock absorbers, but bear with us here. When your brake pads start to wear down and make that dreadful grinding noise, you can simply replace them yourself if you’re handy, or have a professional do it for you if you’re not so handy. Try these stretches and exercises to reduce the amount of time you need to heal from a herniated disc. It’s not that simple when you have a bad back.

If your intervertebral discs get injured or herniated, you’ll want to start off on a new path, which will include exercise and stretching to restore your mobility.

Intervertebral Discs: The Body’s Shock Absorbers

The discs between each of your vertebrae — the tiny bones that make up your spine – provide cushioning for your spine. Consider the discs to be little, squishy balloons filled with a viscous, gel-like fluid that you may squeeze. There are 23 of these cushions in your spine, which are referred to as discs or intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are maintained in place by cartilage at the ends of each vertebra, which acts as a shock absorber. Because they act as shock absorbers for the body and the spine (see, what did we tell you?

This is because the discs in the spine can wear down over time or get damaged, causing their gel cores to seep out and push on the nerve roots that emerge from the spinal column.

Treating Herniated Discs

“When we have a herniated disc, the disc might decrease its height since it has lost part of the fluid and water that was previously contained inside it,” explains Sara Mikulsky, a doctor of physical therapy. This reduction in height has an effect on not just the bony structures themselves (since they are now closer together), but it also has an effect on the ligaments that link each bony segment. These ligaments get slackened as a result, and they no longer provide the same level of stability as they did previously.

Herniated discs are most commonly found in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) regions of the spine; however, thethoracic (mid-spine) region of the spine can also be affected by herniated discs, but this is an uncommon occurrence.

Discs that have herniated also lose a lot of their cushioning ability, which causes the vertebrae to rub against one other.

Preventative and non-invasive treatment options should be attempted first in the vast majority of cases.

While you will never be able to completely replace your shock-absorbing system, stretches and exercises developed specifically for herniated discs can be used in conjunction with other conservative treatment options to help ease the pain and suffering associated with a herniated disc.

Exercise and Stretches to Relieve Herniated Disc Pain

If you have a herniated disc, it is critical that you check with your treating doctor before commencing any new stretching or exercise regimen. You run the danger of further harm if you do not have approval and sufficient guidance. Exercises and stretches should be avoided during the acute stage of a herniated disc. “Sometimes intervention with an asteroid injection or oral steroids is necessary before exercise,” says Dr. Mikulsky. “Sometimes intervention with an asteroid injection or oral steroids is required before exercise.” “However, once the steroids are administered, exercise is critical in preventing the nerve root from being impacted again.”Once the proper clinical considerations have been addressed, gentle exercises and stretches can help ease the pain and other symptoms of a herniated disc.

Exercise also aids in the prevention of additional injury and discomfort, as well as the promotion of recovery, by doing the following:

  • Increased blood flow to the spine, which will aid in the healing of the injury. Increasing the strength of the muscles that support the spine
  • Reduced tension on the spine, which helps to alleviate discomfort. Changing aberrant postures that are associated with discomfort

Exercises should not be avoided following a herniated disc diagnosis. The sooner you begin stretching and exercising, the better the prognosis (outcome), if your doctor gives you permission to do so. To ensure your safety, begin by developing a daily modest exercise regimen from the options listed below, and then progress to more rigorous workouts as tolerated by your body. a. As a general rule, stay away from the “BLTs” (bending, lifting and twisting). Despite the fact that you do not require any materials to perform these exercises, certain objects may make the stretches and exercises more pleasant and simpler to perform.

If any of the workouts or stretches listed here give you pain, stop immediately and see your physician or treating clinician for further instructions.

The Cervical Spine: Exercises and Stretches

The forward head position and increased lordotic curvature of the spine, according to Dr. Mikulsky, are two of the most common causes of a herniated disc in the cervical spine. “The expansion of the spine exerts stress on the disc structures on the posterior part of the spine. ”

Isometric hold exercise

  1. Maintain a straight posture and relax your shoulders. Place your hand on your forehead
  2. Maintain complete stillness of the head by pressing it into your hand
  3. Hold the position for 5 to 15 seconds. 15 times is the maximum number of repetitions.

Neck extension with head lift exercise

  1. On an elevated, stable, level surface with your tummy facing up, do the following: Make sure your arms are by your sides. Take a deep breath and hang your head off the edge Increase the height of your head gently to its neutral position and maintain it there for 5 to 10 seconds
  2. Repetition 15 to 20 times, or until tolerated.

According to Dr. Mikulsky, the following two exercises are “absolutely necessary.”

Chin tuck / neck retraction exercise

  1. Lie down on your back on a level surface, with your arms at your sides, and breathe deeply. Tug on the back of your neck and down toward your chest until you feel a tug
  2. Take a deep breath and hold it for 5-10 seconds
  3. Repeat the process 15 to 20 times.
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Shoulder retraction exercise (scapular retractions)

  1. Place yourself in a position where you can sit or stand with your back against a wall
  2. Allow your arms to hang freely at your sides
  3. This will help you relax. Reduce the angle of your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle at the elbow (your upper arms should stay on the wall). Make a sloping motion with your shoulders
  4. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while pushing the rear of your upper arms against the wall. Take a deep breath and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.

Aside from posture training, Dr. Mikulsky suggests the following: “In this training, the individual would sit straight up, bring the head and chin forwards, shoulders back, and then extend or raise the head up (like a string is pulling the spine up).” Books are not required. Dr. Mikulsky suggests the following exercises once your herniated disc symptoms have totally disappeared.

“I would prescribe them after the symptoms have cleared in order to recover whatever range of motion that has been lost,” Dr. Mikulsky explains. However, doing these exercises when the disc is ruptured may result in increased stress on the tissues and increased discomfort.”

  1. Maintain a straight posture and relax your shoulders. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds before resting. Repeat this process 3 to 5 times each day.

The neck rotation stretch is performed by tilting your head gently to one side without turning it past your shoulder (you should not move your head so far that you can see behind you). After holding for 30 seconds, carefully swivel your head to the other side and hold for another 30 seconds. To do a lateral bend stretch, tilt your head to the left as if you’re attempting to reach out and touch your shoulder with your ear (you don’t have to reach out and touch your shoulder – just tilt your head until you feel a pull).

In a chair, grip the seat with your left hand and slide your left shoulder blade downward.

The Lumbar Spine: Stretches

This is a fantastic stretch to begin with and to utilize on days when your body is unable to withstand more intense stretches, such as a day after a workout. The knee-to-chest stretch strengthens the muscles on each side of the back, which can assist to alleviate pain:

  1. Lie down on your back with your legs bent and both heels firmly placed on the floor
  2. Pulling one knee toward the chest until you feel a tug is a good indication that you have done something well. Continue to hold the stretch for at least 10 seconds before switching positions and repeating many times.

Cat-cow stretch

The cat-cow stretch is a popular for back pain relief because it widens the gaps between your vertebrae, easing pressure on the herniated disc and enhancing the mobility of your spine:

  1. Reduce your body to a “tabletop” position with a flat back by lowering your hands and knees to the floor. As you take a deep breath, lower your stomach down toward the floor, keeping your gaze fixed upwards at the point where the wall meets the ceiling
  2. After that, take a slow, deep breath out and curve your spine like an angry cat, allowing your head to hang low and free. You should be able to see your rear feet
  3. Otherwise, you are in trouble. Perform the set of 10 twice or three times more than once.

The “cat” phase of the cat-cow stretch is when the cat is on the move.

Back flexion stretch

This stretch helps to treat low back discomfort, which is one of the most prevalent medical concerns. It stretches both your back muscles and your spine.

  1. Put your back into a comfortable position and pull your knees toward your chest, wrapping your arms over the knees. Take a deep breath and lift your head straight off the floor until you feel a tug across your mid and lower back
  2. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 5 to 10 times
  3. Hold for 10 seconds

Spinal decompression stretch

By expanding the space between your vertebrae, you may relieve strain on your spine and discs and improve your overall health.

  1. Something secure to hang from (for example, a bar built for pull-ups at the top of a doorframe, playground monkey bars or another bar, etc.) will be required
  2. An overhand grip is used to hold the bar. If your feet come into contact with the earth, elevate them at the knees until they are no longer in contact. Take a 30-second breather and then repeat three times

Piriformis muscle stretch

Stretching this tiny muscle in the buttocks can assist to alleviate low back pain and other symptoms. This stretch might also be beneficial if you suffer from sciatica.

  1. Lie down on the floor or on a yoga mat with your back to the wall. Your knees should be bent and both of your heels should be firmly planted on the floor. Pick up one leg and place your ankle on the bent knee of the other leg, as shown. In the end, it should look like an upside-down triangle. Using both hands, grip the bent leg with one arm that has been pushed through the triangle. Pull the crossed leg toward your chest until you feel a tug in the buttock of the crossed leg, then hold it in that position. Repeat the process on the opposite leg.

The piriformis muscle is stretched.

Seated hamstring stretch

This stretch serves a dual purpose by strengthening the muscles that support your lower spine while also acting as a pain-relieving stretch. However, it should only be performed when all symptoms have been addressed completely. The doctor advises that if someone is experiencing radiating discomfort, they should not proceed with the procedure. Doing a hamstring stretch for an extended period of time might cause irritation to the nerve and nerve root. “I may advocate this stretch when the disc has healed, but I would not recommend it if there are symptoms.”

  1. Place one foot on the floor with the knee bent at 90 degrees and the other extended out straight with the heel remaining firmly planted on the floor while sitting in a chair. Continue to lean forward over the extended out leg until you feel a stretch over the back of your upper thigh
  2. Straighten your back. Continue to hold this stretch for 15–30 seconds before switching legs. If permitted, repeat as many times as necessary. Option: If desired, you can deepen this stretch by lying down on the ground and elevating one leg into the air to complete the stretch. Draw the lifted foot toward your body by wrapping a resistance band (or a long towel) around it and holding the towel/band

Prone extension stretch

This stretch aids in the repositioning of the disc back into its correct position, which aids in the recovery process. Please keep in mind that this stretch may not be suitable for everyone. This is quite normal. Begin by going very gently. If you feel any discomfort, discontinue immediately.

  1. Put yourself on the floor or a yoga mat, face down. Your forearms should be on the floor adjacent to your body. Keep your elbows bent at a 45-degree angle throughout the exercise. Step one: Prop yourself up on your elbows into a “Sphinx” position, being sure to keep your hips linked to the floor throughout the process. Push yourself up until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle
  2. Then repeat the process. For 10-15 seconds, maintain the upward posture, then return to your starting position
  3. The stretch should be repeated ten times, with each repetition increasing the length of time you can hold the upward posture until you can hold it for 30 seconds.

Using a pelvic tilt or abdominal bracing, Dr. Mikulsky explains that this exercise helps to develop deep core stabilizers, which will relieve pressure on the disc space and assist in returning the spine to a neutral posture.

While performing this exercise, the emphasis is on contracting the transversus abdominus muscle group (TA). This muscle serves as the body’s “weight belt,” helping to keep the spine stable and prevent flexion and extension stresses from being applied to the spine.”

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. The deep and lower abdominal muscles should be contracted and pulled in without retaining the breath
  2. As a result of this action, the lower back will flatten down to the floor, allowing the spine to return to its neutral position. Continue to hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat many times

Thomas stretch

In many cases, Dr. Mikulsky notes, the iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscle has become adaptively short as a result of lengthy periods of sitting.” Because of its anterior connection to the lumbar spine, when it is shortened, it can put stress on the spine and cause it to be pushed forward in the body. When this occurs, we may see an increase in lordosis in the lumbar spine. Using the Thomas stretch, you may extend your hip flexors without putting any strain on your spine.”

  1. Place yourself on a level surface
  2. Pull one of your legs up to your chest
  3. Maintain abdominal tension while lifting the opposite leg off the ground. A stretch should be felt at the front of the thigh
  4. Nevertheless, it should not be painful. The back should not be pressured or painful in any way.

Exercises to Avoid

If you engage in rigorous activity or participate in sports, you may cause or exacerbate a herniated disc. A herniated disc can be caused by any type of hard lifting or abrupt pressure on your back, as well as by engaging in intense repeated tasks. If you are presently healing from a herniated disc, you should refrain from participating in any rigorous activities until you have been approved by your doctor. Try to avoid any physical activity that causes or amplifies your discomfort while you are recuperating.

  • In order to prevent aggravating your sciatica, avoid hamstring workouts. High-impact activities, such as jogging or certain sports, should be avoided since they can cause damage to the spine. A terrific alternative is swimming or water workouts, which are beneficial since there is no impact and the pain of gravity is eliminated when in the water.

Dr. Milkulsky highly advises stretching, exercise, neutral stance, and focusing on flexibility in order to prevent further disc injury. “Once a disc herniates, it loses its disc height for the rest of one’s life. In order to preserve the power of the deep core stabilizers, it is critical to continue exercising,” she explains. “It is critical to perform some version of these exercises on a regular basis to avoid more herniations.” Additionally, learning to keep the spine in neutral postures when doing tasks such as lifting, carrying, and sitting will help prevent the likelihood of experiencing another herniation in the future.

20 Herniated Disc Exercises & Stretches

Chronic or acute back pain affects a large number of people. In fact, herniated discs are among the most prevalent causes of low back pain in the population. People between the ages of 25 and 55 are at high risk for developing a herniated disc, with males being almost twice as likely as women to get a herniated disc. What exactly is a herniated disc, though? A disc is a rubbery cushion that sits between each of the bones (i.e., vertebrae) that make up the spine and provides support. It is made up of a soft, gel-like core that is covered by a firm, rubbery outer shell.

Because so many nerves flow through the spine, a disruption in the disc will frequently result in pain, numbness, or weakness in a section of the body where the nerve was going to or coming from when the disc is damaged.

Stretching exercises are one of the most effective ways to alleviate the symptoms of a herniated disc.

Exercises for herniated discs help to enhance overall endurance and circulation, as well as alleviate the symptoms of the condition.

Exercises for a Herniated Disc in the Lower Back Back discomfort with disc herniation occurs in the lower back (i.e., lumbar spine) around 95 percent of the time in people between the ages of 25 and 55 years old.

Keep in mind that, as with any other workout, it is essential to warm up properly before beginning, and that you should not push yourself if you are experiencing substantial discomfort.

Bird Dog is a posture that helps to stabilize the lower back.

When you do this exercise, you will be supported on the floor while you gently stretch your hip muscles.

Swimming, half crunches, and press-up back extensions are examples of activities that are best performed in the beginning of treatment because they are softer on the joints.

As the discomfort subsides and the back recovers, some of the more strenuous exercises, such as wall sits and bird dog, can be attempted.

The discomfort, numbness, and tingling that accompany herniation in the lower back are frequently present as well.

When a disc herniates, the reasons for the herniation are identical no matter where in the spine the gel-like core pushes through the hard shell of a disc.

The following are the most prevalent forms of neck herniated disc exercises: Neck Stretches – these should be done as gently as possible, especially in the beginning.

This exercise helps to relieve neck pain while also strengthening muscles.

Scapular Retraction – This exercise uses a band to assist in providing resistance when you stretch your arms straight out to the sides.

Pain associated with a herniated disc in the upper back, rather than the neck, is treated with a specific set of upper back herniated disc exercises.

Leg raises and bicycling are two more exercises that put too much pressure on the upper back and neck.

Exercises to Avoid If You Have a Herniated Disc Some workouts, while they may appear to be beneficial, are best avoided.

If it hurts, stop immediately and do not repeat the action.

Some exercises for herniated discs should be avoided, such as toe touches, which place too much stress on the spine and ruptured disc.

Leg lifts, whether with weights or boxes, are known to exacerbate lower back problems.

These exercises have a tendency to place an excessive amount of strain on the lower back, which may impede recovery and may even aggravate existing ailments.

While the age range with the highest prevalence of herniated discs is 25 to 55, older persons who suffer from changes associated with aging (e.g., arthritis) can frequently benefit from the same exercise routines as younger adults.

Even a regular herniated disc workout regimen, on the other hand, may not be sufficient in some cases.

They have professionals on staff who can assist with everything from diagnosis to treatment, including physical therapy regimens and, if necessary, more invasive procedures such as surgical procedures.

As a result, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with one of the doctors at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey. We have sites all around the state of New Jersey. Find an OINJ doctor in your area if you have a herniated disc or are experiencing back pain.

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