Here, we show you how to relive a herniated disc in your lumbar spine.

These exercises for a herniated disc aim to balance out tension around your spine. They offer help in a combination of myofascial self-massages and targeted stretching and strengthening exercises. And the best part? You won’t need much equipment, and there’s no need to go to the gym. You can easily do the exercises at home by your sofa.

As a general rule, take it slowly with trying out the exercises. If you experience severe pain during the exercises, you should skip them. And only start doing them when the pain from your herniated disc is no longer acute.

Myofascial massage for a herniated disc

Phase one: if you have a herniated disc, work on the most involved parts of your body using myofascial release techniques. This releases tension from the tissue and can reduce your pain. Don’t be surprised that you’ll be working from the front to begin with. This is important in order to reduce any tension from the shortened muscles and fascia at the front of your body caused by everyday life.

Fascia training for a herniated disc: releases tight hip flexors

Lie down on your stomach. Your arms should be positioned in front of your body, with your palms facing down; rest your head loosely on the backs of your hands. Place BALL 12 above your groin, between the top of your hip bone and your straight abdominal muscles. Let yourself sink down onto the ball. With each breath, you can sink deeper into the ball. Use this exercise to work on all the tender points around your hip flexor.

Sets: one

Time: one to two minutes per side

Tip: take care when doing this herniated disc exercise. If you feel any throbbing in your abdomen, you’re pressing on an artery. That means you should change position. By releasing tension from your hip flexor, you are reducing the pulling forces on your lumbar spine and easing pressure on the affected disc.

Fascia training for a herniated disc: relaxes your glutes

Place the BLACKROLL® BALL 12 on the floor and sit on it with one side of your buttocks. Place the leg on the side to be treated on top of the other leg’s thigh. Move slowly on the spot and notice any specific tender points. Spend around 15 seconds on the spots where you feel the most pain. Take calm, deep breaths. If you have any problems with supporting yourself with your shoulders, put more of your weight onto the ball to take weight off your shoulders. If this feels too intense, start with the BLACKROLL®.

Time: one to two minutes per side

Sets: one

Tip: tightness in your buttock area often radiates to your lower back. Self-massage exercises for a herniated disc in this area can reduce pain.

Mobilization and stretching exercises for a herniated disc

The following exercises for a herniated disc – stretching shortened fascia and muscles – will help you to reduce pulling forces acting on your lumbar spine. You’ll even out imbalances and reduce back pain in your lumbar spine.

Herniated disc trigger exercise: relieves tight glutes

Start on your knees. Lay the SUPER BAND or MULTI BAND around the back of your hips. Stand on the tip of your toes and draw your chin back toward your spine. Stretch your hips forward and slowly lower your body backward. Breathe deeply and try to drop deeper into the position with each exhale. After 20 to 30 seconds, reverse the movements to return to the starting position. Take a brief moment to round your back.

Time: 20 to 30 seconds

Sets: two

Tip: compression on one side creates space on the other side of the disc. Old fluid is pushed out of the disc. After the exercise, the reverse movement creates a sponge effect to supply the disc with fresh fluid and nutrients again. You also stretch the front of your thigh. This makes it an effective exercise for a herniated disc.

Mobilization and stretching exercises for a herniated disc

Start on all fours and place the SUPER BAND around the inside of your upper thigh. Place the band close to your hips. Bring one leg in front of your body and bend your knee to between 45° and 90° – whichever feels possible for you. Stretch your other leg out behind your body and press your pelvis toward the floor on that side.

Time: one to two minutes per side

Sets: one

Tip: to deepen the stretch, sink down with your upper body moving forward. The pulling effect of the SUPER BAND in this herniated disc exercise will give you faster, deeper mobilizing effects. Is this exercise too challenging for you? Achieve similar effects by doing this exercise standing in front of a table.

Activation and strengthening exercises for a herniated disc

Last but not least, you should strengthen your core muscles to prevent another herniated disc. Important to know: you should only do the strength exercises after you’ve first done self-myofascial techniques (SMT) and mobilization/stretching exercises. That way, you will already have achieved a noticeable improvement in your tight back muscles and be able to prevent relapses. The following exercises for a herniated disc help strengthen the muscles around your spine. Imagine these muscles like a natural corset stabilizing your spine.

Herniated disc exercise: promotes a neutral spine

Place the BLACKROLL® SUPER BAND around one foot and hold the other end with the opposite hand. Get down on all fours and place your knee below your hip, and your hand below your shoulder. At the same time, raise one arm and the opposite leg, extending in line with your core. Be sure not to sink down into the hollow of your back, and make sure you can keep your core engaged.

Repetitions: 10 per side

Sets: two to three

Tip: this herniated disc exercise strengthens your core, hip and back muscles. It helps prevent pain in your lower back (lumbar spine). The exercise also promotes good posture.

Herniated disc exercise: strengthens your core muscles

Assume the plank position and place your forearms on a BLACKROLL®. Turn your palms to the ceiling. Draw your belly button in and slightly tilt your pelvis forward. Make sure you keep your spine straight and feel your core muscles engage. Press both your elbows firmly into the BLACKROLL® and roll forward over your forearms. For the next repetition, go back to the start position.

Repetitions: 8 to 12

Sets: two to three

Tip: compared to the previous two exercises, this herniated disc exercise is more challenging. Only do this exercise when you are halfway to being pain-free. Alternatively, you can do this spinal disc exercise without the fascia roll.

Which exercises should you avoid if you have a herniated disc?

If you have a herniated disc, avoid exercises where you have to bend forward. Also make sure you avoid lifting heavy objects as much as possible. You should avoid the following exercises if you have a herniated disc:

  • Sit-ups and crunches: they further shorten the front muscles of your body and put a lot of pressure on your lower back.
  • Squats: the weight of your entire body can rest on the lower back, which puts too much pressure on your lumbar spine.
  • Deadlifts: if you perform this exercise incorrectly, you can do more harm than good.

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