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Exercises for a Prolapsed Disc

| By
author image John Tavolacci
Based in New York, John Tavolacci has been a leading exercise physiologist for over 14 years. His resume includes stints in cardiac rehab, sports conditioning, physical therapy and corporate wellness. He is a certified health/fitness instructor and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Tavolacci also holds a master's degree in exercise physiology from Queens College.
Exercises for a Prolapsed Disc
A prolapsed disc can cause damage when left untreated Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

A prolapsed, or slipped, disc is a spinal disc rupture in which a tear causes the inter vertebral disc to bulge out. It can lead to moderate or severe low back pain, which can radiate into the legs. Prolapsed discs can result from general wear and tear or lifting objects improperly. Core and lower back strengthening help dissipate pain related to a prolapsed disc.

Supine Alternate Hip Hinge

Supine hip hinges primarily target the transverse or inner abdominals. A strong transverse abdominal wall diminishes lower spine discomfort. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your inner and outer abdominals to stabilize your trunk. Lift the right leg off the floor by flexing your hip. Your leg maintains a right angle as you flex the hip. Bring your leg toward you until your hip reaches a 90-degree angle. Your thigh is vertical to the floor once your hip reaches 90 degrees. Your hip falls forward to bring the right leg down. Perform the same steps with the left leg once the right foot gets to the floor. Continue to alternate between the right and left leg until you can no longer stabilize your trunk. This movement can be progressed by holding your legs in an elevated position.

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Bosu Bridges

Bosu bridges engage the inner abdominals, gluteals and hamstrings. These are three major core muscles that effect the spinal column. Place a bosu ball on the floor with the flat side down. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bosu. Your feet are slightly separated on top of the bosu. Elevate your hips while contracting your glutes and abdominals. Hold the glute and abdominal contraction for three seconds at a full hip extension. Lower your hips down while sustaining tightness in your glutes and abdominals. Begin another repetition once your hips just about graze the floor. Squeezing a small, recreational-foam ball between your knees adds a challenging dimension to bridges.

Prone Stability Ball Back Extension

Prone back extension isolates the lower spine. A stability ball allows your hips to be in a neutral and secure position. Lie with your stomach on top of a stability ball. Cross your arms over your chest with your eyes looking down. Your torso starts horizontal to the floor. Your legs rest on the floor, behind the ball. Slightly lift your chest while keeping your abdominals contracted. Slowly bring your chest back down until you reach your initial position. A rounding in your upper spine is a sign you brought your chest down too low. Watch the intensity of this exercise; pushing your lower spine to fatigue will limit your functionality. A reverse back extension has your legs as the movement limbs.


Flexibility is enhanced by stretching the hamstrings, hip flexors, piriformis and spinal column. Stretching is done following each and every exercise session. Slow movement patterns are key for every exercise. Moving slowly puts much less strain on your joints, tendons and ligaments. Stabilizing your inner abdominals is a skill you use everyday. Body weight transfer is largely dependent on generating force from your core muscles. Standing from a seated position or stair walking are two activities that force you to transfer your weight.

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  • "Core Assessment and Training"; Human Kinetics; 2010
  • "Low Back Disorders - Second Edition"; Stuart Mcgill; 2007
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