The Best Exercises for a Herniated Disc

Certain exercises can reduce herniated disc symptoms.

A herniated disc, also sometimes referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, can cause pain and unusual nerve sensations such as weakness, tingling or numbness. This condition occurs when a spinal disc presses on the nerves from your backbone. Certain exercises may help to alleviate the discomfort and other symptoms of a herniated disc. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.


Marching on Trampoline

According to chiropractor Ron Daulton, Jr. on his website,, marching in place on a small, 3-by-4 foot wide trampoline is a helpful way to warm up before performing other herniated disc exercises and can be extremely beneficial for alleviating the symptoms of a bulging or herniated disc. Stand in the middle of the trampoline. Keep your arms by your sides, look straight ahead and march in place for five minutes every day. Do not jump or bounce on the trampoline.


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Cobra Pose

The cobra pose helps stretch and lengthen your entire spine and helps increase flexibility in the lumbar spine. According to James Brumitt, MSPT, instructor of physical therapy at Pacific University, in his book "Core Assessment and Training," flexibility exercises like the cobra pose are important for herniated disc recovery. Lie face down on the floor with your hands flat on the floor next to your shoulders, palms facing down. Inhale and press into the floor, straightening your arms and lifting your upper body off the floor. Keep your lower pelvis on the floor. Arch your back slightly and look up at the ceiling. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then release.

Therapy Ball Bounce

Bouncing on a therapy ball is a simple and effective exercise for a herniated disc because it helps pump nutrients and oxygen into your discs, according to Daulton. Sit on a large therapy or exercise ball, looking straight ahead and relaxing your arms by your sides. Bounce up and down on the ball for five minutes each day. Don't bounce too high or you risk exacerbating your symptoms.


Cat and Camel

The cat and camel combines two yoga poses into a flowing exercise that can help relieve the pain and pressure of a herniated disc. According to Brumitt, this exercise also helps increase your spinal flexibility, which is beneficial for herniated disc recovery. Start on your hands and knees. Exhale and round your spine, pressing into the floor with your hands and arms. Look at your feet, curving your neck slightly. Inhale and allow your stomach to drop, arching your back and bringing your shoulders toward your spine. Look up at the ceiling. Repeat this exercise five times.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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