Stretches To Avoid With A Herniated Disc

A herniated disc or bulging disc can bring us to our knees with the pain.

It can be felt both locally in the lower back and referred if the disc pushes on the sciatica nerve.

I remember when I was at my worst with my own herniated disc I had both back and sciatica pain and it was a terrible place to be mentally.

There are many great stretches and exercises that can help ease the pain but you must be careful you do the correct ones and not blindly follow the advice of so-called experts online.

Over my 25 years of experience, I have seen many “gurus” advise stretches to herniated disc sufferers which are downright dangerous and should have no place in a recovery program.

Today I would like to go over four of the worst stretches you should not be doing if you suffer from bulging/herniated discs and sciatica nerve pain.


Stretches to avoid with a herniated or bulging disc.

1. Toe touching

You want to avoid this stretch as it puts the lower back into extreme flexion which can irritate a herniated disc and increase both your disc pain and sciatica.

This has to be one of the most agonizing painful stretches for me to see, you want to avoid it at all costs when you are recovering from a lumbar disc injury.

man touching toes with herniated disc

Along with this stretch you should also remove the classic sit and reach as this has far too much lumbar flexion which as mentioned will just irritate a herniated disc.

diagramof sit and reach stretch herniated disc

2. Child pose

Lower back flexion increases the pressure on the discs and pushes them backward. If your disc is damaged you will only aggravate the problem and make any sciatica you have worse.

women doing child pose not good for herniated disc

If you are suffering from a herniated disc I would recommend you do not do the child’s pose as this again places unnecessary flexion on the low back which can irritate and worsen your disc/sciatica pain.

I know many people may think I am having a go at Yoga, no I am not. There is nothing wrong with Yoga only that this stretch is not appropriate in the beginning stages of recovery.

Try a decompression stretch instead!

If you want a really good effective decompression stretch for your lower back that will actually help relieve sciatica and help your herniated discs check out the video below.

3. Lower body rotations

This movement will actually increase the compression of your lumbar discs potentially causing more sciatica/low back pain and irritation of your herniated disc.

During this stretch you create lower back rotation and when you rotate your vertebrae actually come closer together which compresses the disc.

woman doing lower lumbar rotation with herniated disc

This is fine if your disc is healthy but not in the case of a herniated disc.

Skip this exercise during your recovery period.

4. Knees to chest stretch

Again, here you can see that the lower back has increased flexion so, like the toe touching stretch this exercise will only irritate a herniated disc.

woman on floor hugging knees to chest with herniated disc

We must remember that when we are recovering from a lumbar herniated disc we should try to avoid as much spinal flexion as possible both when we are moving around and when we are stretching.

If you would like an example of safe and effective exercises you can do to relieve your pain from a herniated bulging/disc then check out the video below.

If you are at home suffering from a lower back issue, sciatica nerve pain, herniated or bulging discs I would suggest you go and check out my lower back pain recovery challenge.

Click here to take up the recovery challenge.

It is designed to significantly reduce your pain and improve your daily function in less than 21 days.

You can do it in the comfort of your own home and you do not need any special equipment.

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