Herniated Disc: Causes, Symptoms, and Preventive Exercises

Photo of author

By admin

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the jelly-like nucleus inside an intervertebral disc pushes through its protective outer ring. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, causing pain and discomfort. Additionally, the disc material releases chemicals that can further irritate the spine.

Herniated discs are a common and painful condition that affects 2% of the population each year. They can occur due to various reasons, such as lifting heavy objects improperly, accidents, or natural degeneration with age. This guide provides detailed information on what herniated discs are, their symptoms, and how to manage and prevent them through specific exercises and lifestyle changes.

Causes of Herniated Discs

  • Aging: As you age, the discs between your vertebrae lose water and become less flexible, making them more susceptible to tearing.
  • Improper Lifting: Twisting while lifting heavy objects can cause a disc to herniate.
  • Accidents: Falls or car crashes can lead to a herniated disc.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Cervical Herniated Disc (Neck)

  • Pain: Sharp or burning pain in the neck, shoulder, and arm.
  • Movement Issues: Difficulty turning your head without discomfort.
  • Muscle Spasms: Sudden, involuntary muscle contractions.

Lumbar Herniated Disc (Lower Back)

  • Pain: Sharp, shooting pain in the lower back and down one side of the body.
  • Sciatica: Pain, burning, tingling, or numbness down one leg due to pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the affected leg or foot.

Managing a Herniated Disc

What to Avoid

  • Heavy Lifting: Avoid lifting heavy objects or bending and twisting your back.
  • High-Impact Activities: Refrain from vigorous exercises like jogging, which can stress the spine.
  • Excessive Bed Rest: While rest is essential, too much can lead to stiffness and worsen the condition.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you experience chronic severe pain, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Most people recover from herniated discs with conservative treatments, but persistent pain may require more advanced interventions.

Exercises to Prevent and Manage a Herniated Disc

There is no magic fix to heal a herniated disc, but certain exercises can help reduce pain and prevent future occurrences by strengthening and stretching the muscles supporting the spine.

Two people sit with their arms up to stretch the spine.

Lower Back Exercises

1. Lumbar Extensions

Lumbar extensions help reduce pressure on the spinal discs.


  1. Stand with your hands on your hips.
  2. Gently push your hips forward to stretch your spine.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat ten times.
2. Back Flexion Exercise

This exercise reduces stress on the back and improves mobility.


  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bring both knees to your chest and hold them there.
  3. Move your head forward to stretch the middle of your lower back.
  4. Repeat as needed.
3. High Static Reach

This exercise helps realign intervertebral discs.


  1. Stand tall.
  2. Raise both arms above your head and stretch.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then return your arms to your sides.
  4. Repeat several times.
4. Degenerative Spine Stretching

Decompress your spine by hanging or lying down.


  1. Use a pull-up bar or playground bars.
  2. Hold the bar with an overhand grip.
  3. Hang for 30 seconds, then repeat.
  4. Alternatively, use spinal decompression machines or inversion chairs for better results.
5. Prone Extension Stretch

This stretch helps reposition the affected disc.


  1. Lie face down on an exercise mat.
  2. Place your forearms beside you with elbows bent at 45 degrees.
  3. Raise yourself slightly on your elbows, keeping your hips down.
  4. Press up until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  5. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat.

A man sits in front of a computer and stretches his neck to the side.

Neck Exercises

1. Chin Tuck


  1. Sit or stand straight.
  2. Slowly move your chin towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then release.
2. Lateral Bend Stretch


  1. Move your left ear towards your left shoulder to stretch the right side of your neck.
  2. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.
3. Corner Stretch


  1. Face a corner with your arms against each wall, elbows at shoulder height.
  2. Lean forward to stretch below your collarbone.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then release.
4. Scalene Stretch


  1. Sit on a chair and hold the chair with your left hand.
  2. Move your left shoulder down as you bend your right ear toward your right shoulder.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Using Spinal Decompression Equipment

Incorporating spinal decompression equipment into your home gym can help maintain spine health and relieve back pain.

Recommended Equipment

  • Active Aging Easy Decompress: A converter that helps decompress the lumbar spine gently.
  • Back Stretch Bench: Combines traction therapy with decompression for deeper stretches.
  • Stamina Inline Inversion Chair: Uses body weight to safely reduce and extend the spine.
  • Inline Traction Control System: Stretches the back and buttocks without hanging upside down, ideal for those with limited mobility or high blood pressure.

Source link

Leave a Comment