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Back Pain Center

Exercises for Lower Back Pain & Bulging Discs

author image Jody Murray
Based in Connecticut, Jody Murray, has been writing and teaching in the field of sports medicine since 1997. Murray has an M.A. in exercise physiology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in athletic training from Springfield College. Murray is also a licensed acupuncturist.
Exercises for Lower Back Pain & Bulging Discs
Lower back pain can limit activities. Photo Credit back stroke image by Denise Kappa from Fotolia.com


Bulging discs, also known as herniated discs, can result in lower back pain and radiating pain to the buttock and legs. According to the Cleveland Clinic, most pain associated with a herniated disc can be managed with rest, physical therapy and exercise. Initial evaluation by a medical professional will determine the appropriate time to initiate an exercise program.


If the patient has a bulging disc in the lower back, it is vital to improve the extension of the spine, as this will decrease any pressure it may place on the nerve. The patient performs press-ups by lying on the stomach with the arms in a push up position and pressing the chest up from the floor. The hips and pelvis remain in contact with the floor while the spine is extended up and away from the floor. At the top of the extension, the patient pauses briefly and then returns to the starting position. The exercise is repeated 10 times, three times per day.

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Twisting Stretch

It is important for the patient to maintain lower back flexibility to prevent further injury. The patient lies on his back with knees bent and pressed together. Using the abdominal muscles for support and control, the patient slowly allows the knees to drop to the right for a count of 10. The exercise is repeated to the left for a count of 10. The twisting stretch should be repeated three times per day.


To prevent further injury, it is important that the patient improve the strength of the lower back and abdominal muscles that support the spine. The bridging exercise will strengthen the muscles of the lower back, the hips and and the abdomen. The patient performs the exercise by lying on her back with the knees bent, hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor. The patient then lifts her bottom up from the floor, until they achieve a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. This position is held for a count of 10, before lowering slowly back to the floor. Repeat the exercise 10 times. The neck should be kept in a straight position when performing this exercise.


The rhythmic movement of walking encourages mobility in the lower spine. Walking in general will help the patient maintain or improve overall fitness level and body weight. According to the Cleveland Clinic, being overweight results in increased pressure on the lower back, which can exacerbate lower back pain. It is preferred that the patient walk outside on a flat surface, such as a track, for 30 to 45 minutes daily.

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