Herniated Disc Exercises



Is your lower back pain or sciatica symptoms due to a herniated disc ? If so, these herniated disc exercises are for you. The emphasis of this program is performing stretching exercises that will help to minimize the disc bulge.

As part of an overall back pain treatment program remember to minimize aggravating activities. With a herniated disc, avoid exercises and activities that emphasize lumbar and minimize sitting positions. Doing typical abdominal crunches should be avoided as they increase disc pressure. If your job involves extended sitting, make sure to get up and walk around every 30 minutes throughout the day.

To control pain, it is helpful to limit the amount of time you are lying or sitting. Bed rest should specifically be avoided.

For many experiencing disc pain, frequent short walks over flat terrain can be helpful in minimizing pain. Start with short walks of up to 10 minutes and increase as pain dictates.

In addition, reducing inflammation is a key part to reducing pain. Utilize ice therapy to minimize inflammation by applying ice to the lower back, 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three times a day. As always, anti-inflammatory medication can also be helpful so consult your doctor regarding appropriate medication.

When performing each stretch you should feel a mild ‘pull’ but NO PAIN. If you do feel pain, reduce the intensity of the stretch. If pain continues, stop performing the stretch.

If you are experiencing leg symptoms, the first goal is to reduce these leg symptoms. It is not uncommon for the leg to begin to feel better but the lower back becomes more aggravated. This is typical and called “centralization” of symptoms. Continue to do the exercises and in time the lower back symptoms will also subside.

The stretching exercises listed below are in order of difficulty. Although prone lying is the first exercise listed, if this exercise becomes too easy you can progress immediately to the prone on elbows exercises.




Prone Lying

Find a firm place such as the floor to do this exercise. Lie on your stomach with a pillow supporting your mid section. Maintain this position for 30 seconds to a few minutes. If this position is easy, try lying on you stomach without the pillow. Repeat this a few times a day.



Prone On Elbows Stretch

Find a firm place such as the floor to do this exercise. Lie on your stomach with your upper body propped up by your elbows with your elbows positioned directly under your shoulders. Try to keep your pelvis in contact with the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a few minutes. Repeat this a few times a day.



Prone Press Ups

Find a firm place such as the floor to do this exercise. While lying on your stomach, use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Lift as far as you can without having your pelvis lose contact with the floor. Pause for a few seconds at the top. Repeat this exercise 10 times a few times per day.



Sitting Posture

As sitting is often an aggravator for herniated discs, part of a herniated disc exercise program must address posture. An easy way to maintain appropriate posture is to take a hand towel sized towel and roll it up. While sitting all the way back in the seat or chair, place the rolled up towel behind your back. Make special note to place the towel rather low, slightly below the belt line. Use this towel roll any time you are in a sitting position.




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