Herniated Disc Exercise

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Herniated Disc


Herniated Disc Exercise
Exercises for herniated disc will depend on the direction and type of herniation you have.

I have had people occasionally contact me through the website looking for recommendations for exercises to relieve the symptoms of a herniated disc - and almost always but my advice is not to ‘play’ with exercises if you have a herniated disc until you fully know what you are dealing with. So rather than give you a series of exercises, I feel it would be better to talk about the types of exercises you would do to help treat a herniated dsc.

Choosing the right exercises

Importance of using exercises for your type of disc herniation.

You see, the choice of exercises to relieve herniated disc pain will be very specific to the type of disc herniation that you have. If your disc is herniating posteriorly, and you do exercises for anteriorly herniating discs you may cause more pain, and if unlucky make the problem worse.

This is why an accurate diagnosis is of great importance to your rehabilitation from the outset.

Once you know what you are dealing with you and you have had your herniated disc properly assessed, only then should you explore exercises that are available on the net and in books. So, first seek an accurate diagnosis into the direction and type of herniation you have. This may require a doctor, physiotherapist and an MRI scan.

Initial exercises - correct a herniated disc and ease pain.

The initial exercises I give you to do are directionally biased, and by that I mean that the exercises should be in the direction in which your disc needs to move towards. For example, the most common disc herniation that I see is a posterior disc protrusion. Commonly I use repetitive extension exercises to facilitate the correction of this herniated disc. My patients would do this exercise hourly to help speed up your recovery and ease their pain.

An example of a repetitive extension exercise would be placing your hands on your lower back while standing and arching your back backwards into them. I usually advise 10 reps an hour for one day before I review again.

Stability and Strengthening exercises .

Once a disc is corrected I teach stability exercises to strengthen the area of your back that is weak. Following assessment by a physiotherapist, you may also be recommended exercises to address any weakness you may have had prior to disc herniation which may have been the cause of the disc injury.

Although using exercises for pain relief may be your priority now, I tend to consider strength and stability exercises as being the most important aspect in recovering from a disc herniation. Performing strength and stability exercises will help reduce the chances of it occurring again.

I consider working on good posture as an exercise and in most cases most important correction you can do to prevent further episodes of lower back pain. Poor static posture leads to poor movement posture and over time breakdown of tissues such as discs.

Diagnosis is the key and although self treatment is often a good thing, when dealing with disc injuries I strongly advise seeing a professional and getting their help before you start exercises.

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Herniated Disc Treatments

If you are looking for exercises to treat a herniated disc and haven’t seen a professional yet, then this article may help explain why a correct diagnosis is important in treating a herniated disc.

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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