Fitness for baby boomers and seniors

Herniated Discs

herniated discThere are 24 discs in the spine. Seven in the cervical region, twelve in the thoracic region and 5 in the lumbar region. These discs are cushions that line up within the spine.

These discs are like jelly filled doughnuts. A soft fluid inside and a firmer outside area. Sometimes the fluid inside happens to break through the harder outside surface, this would then become a “slipped disc” or herniated disc.

There are different levels of herniated discs, some may require surgery, while others may need rehabilitation; only your doctor is qualified to diagnose your symptoms.


herniated discAlways get a doctor's clearance  before starting an exercise program

Focus on keeping a neutral spine while doing core exercises

Avoid "top loading" with weights. Don't put weights overhead or a bar on your upper back. Avoid downward compression

Avoid rotational movements with the lower back

Work to strengthen the muscles in a controlled manner

Use core neutral exercises       Work on improving postural control

Improve hip mobility and strength      Improve lumbar stability

core training plank

water aerobicsSince there are different levels of herniated discs as well as different progression points for each level, make sure your warm up phase protects your back.

A recumbent bike will give more low back protection then a standard bike. Working out in a pool may also be helpful, depending on what type of herniated disc is in question. Light intensity core work may be a good warm up as well.

Since there are 3 main area (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) where you can get a herniated disc. Guidelines for exercising with this type of injury should be tailored to your specific condition by your trainer or physical therapist.

bird dog back extensionThere are some basic rules to follow

Avoid rotational movements especially those that include flexion and rotation of the spine.

Avoid loading weight overhead or with a bar on the front or the upper back

Techniques like Spinal Flossing should never be attempted the within the first two hours after you get up and under the directions of a physical therapist or trainer


Important: The information on this site is not intended to treat or diagnose any injuries, illness or any type of acute or chronic conditions. Always consult your physician before starting any exercise program or any type of treatment for any type of health condition.