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Degenerative Disk Disease & Yoga

author image Grace Wathen
Grace Wathen is a certified yoga, Pilates and raw nutrition instructor. Her dedication to health and wellness motivated her to organize and build several community gardens in Utah, Oregon and Nevada. She has been sharing her expertise on the above topics through online publishers since 2007.
Degenerative Disk Disease & Yoga
Yoga can relieve pain associated with degenerative disk disease. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Degenerative disk disease is a condition caused by pain from a damaged disk. While it's technically not a disease and the pain from the degenerated disk can actually improve over time, it can lead to other, more serious conditions such as spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis unless you take steps to stop the progress. Yoga poses can strengthen the muscles of your back and create space between your disks by lengthening the spine. Consult with your doctor to determine whether yoga will be of benefit to your specific condition.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Downward-Facing Dog Pose is a spine-lengthening stretch that opposes gravity, taking pressure off the spine. While on your hands and knees, lift your knees off the floor, straighten your legs, lift your hips toward the ceiling and form your body into a V shape. Press your heels toward the floor and distribute your weight evenly between your hands and feet. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, rest, and repeat twice.


Twisting yoga poses help stretch the spine and relieve tension. Sit in a chair and twist your upper body to the right. Drape your right arm over the back of the chair to deepen the twist. Repeat on the other side. Next, stand up and face the chair from the side, placing your right foot on the seat of the chair with your knee bent. Place your left hand on the back of the chair and twist your upper body to the right. Repeat this on the opposite side. Now seated on the floor, stretch both legs in front of you. Bend the right leg and place your right foot alongside your upper left thigh. Wrap your left arm around your right knee and twist your upper body to the right. Repeat on the other side.

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose strengthens the muscles around the spine, giving the degenerating disks more support. While lying on your stomach, bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor next to your shoulders. Using your back muscles rather than pressing into the floor with your palms, slowly lift your head and upper chest off the floor. Take your time, breathe deeply, hold the pose as long as comfortable, then rest and repeat twice.

Supported Bridge Pose

In Supported Bridge Pose, the use of yoga bolsters allows your body to relax in the pose, without putting stress on your spine. Lie on your back with your spine lengthwise on a bolster. Let your head and shoulders lie over the edge of the bolster on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together on top of the end of the bolster. Stay in the pose for three to five minutes and gently come out by rolling to one side.

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