If you’ve ever suffered from a herniated disc, you know how uncomfortable they can be.
Everyday motions like walking, sitting and standing can cause pain. Almost one out of every five
Americans are afflicted with herniated discs and is the most common causes of back and leg
You don’t have to live with pain caused by a herniated disc however. Physical therapy can help
strengthen the surrounding muscles to better support your spine and diminish pain. Under the
guidance of one of our trained physical therapists, our focus is to help you stretch and
strengthen the muscles while targeting the area.
What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like substance within your disc breaks through and
impinges on a surrounding nerve. The pain may feel like a shock or it may radiate down your
legs or arms depending on where the affected disc is.
There are many stretches you can do to alleviate the pressures off your affected discs.
Depending on where the pain is, different exercises can help. If your herniation causes a
shooting pain to radiate down your leg, these stretches will ease the aches:
Seated Hamstring Stretch. This stretch will help loosen your hamstring muscle which will then
reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve and provide for better lumbar support. To start, you’ll
need two chairs, both placed horizontally and facing each other. Sit on the edge of one of the
chairs with both feet planted on the ground about a few inches apart. Place your right leg in
front of you and rest it on the other chair. Lean forward over this leg until you feel the stretch in
the back of your thigh. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then alternate so that your left leg
is resting on the chair and your right foot is on the ground and repeat.
Lying Hamstring Stretch. Lie on the ground with your back flat, knees bent and your feet on the
ground. Bring your right knee towards your chest with your feet facing up towards the ceiling
while your other knee remains bent. Use a towel or a strap to deepen the stretch and hold your
right leg straight in this position until you feel a slight tension in the hamstring. Hold for ten
seconds. Repeat with your left leg.
Standing Hamstring Stretch. This can be done outside the comfort of your own home as there
are no props or materials required. For this stretch you’ll want to stand with your feet evenly
apart. As you breathe, suck your core in so that your belly button is closer to your spine. Keep
your shoulders back so that your spine is elongated. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs
and avoid your knees so that you can create stability. Keep a flat back and hold this pose for 30
If the discomfort is in your lower back, try these stretches:
Knee to Chest stretch. While lying down, bring one knee close to your chest and hold it there
with both hands. Hold and repeat with the other knee.
If you have discomfort in your mid-back, try these following three stretches.
If your pain is in the neck or upper back area, these stretches can ease the pain in the neck and
Shoulder Retraction Stretch: Standing tall, place your arms so that they form a “W.” Bring your
elbows towards your sides so that your shoulder blades are squeezing together. You should feel
this stretch in between your shoulder blades.
Side-to-Side Neck Stretch. Tilt your head in one direction so that your left ear is towards your
left shoulder. Hold and repeat so that your right ear is leaning towards your right shoulder.
Repeat this several times.
Chin Tuck Stretch. Start by resting your chin on your chest. After holding for ten seconds, tilt
your head back so that the back of your skull is leaning towards your back and you’re looking
comfortably up. You should feel the stretch in the back of the neck.