Can exercise make a herniated disc worse?


A herniated disc is a common injury that can be very painful and disrupt daily life. The purpose of a spinal disc is to absorb the pressures of everyday movement, but when it has been injured, those same activities can cause further damage. By giving this delicate structure adequate rest and avoiding exacerbating exercise, you can promote healing and prevent prolonged tissue damage.

In addition, to ensure a good recovery, it is important to avoid activities that put additional pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. This may mean avoiding heavy lifting, more strenuous exercise, or bending and twisting. Even activities that may seem harmless, such as sitting for long periods of time, driving long distances, or sleeping in certain positions, can also put excessive pressure on the discs and should be avoided if possible.

At the biomechanical level, the researchers determined that the'increase in the load compression on the spine could be a factor important from l'increase of the pressure intradiscal (hydrostatic pressure) and from stress additional exerted on the annulus fibrosis des disks intervertebrals, which will then begin to bulge and possibly train an aggravation of your existing condition or the appearance of new ones lesions to your disks.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne

Graph illustrating intradiscal pressure in different circumstances: standing, bending over, lifting a load, etc.


Five basic tips for protecting your discs:


  1. Avoid lifting heavy objects : To protect your lower back, avoid activities that require heavy lifting (more than 15 kg) or bending at the waist. Bending your spine greatly increases the risk of injury and pain, so try to find other ways to move heavy loads you may have to carry.
  2. Do not wear high heels: : High-heeled shoes are not recommended for people with lower back problems, as they put extra pressure on the spine, which can lead to misalignment of the vertebrae. Choose more comfortable footwear, such as sneakers or sandals, if possible.
  3. Take frequent breaks when sitting (every 45 minutes for a duration of one minute): Prolonged periods of sitting can be hard on the lower back and do more harm than good. If you have a job where you sit for long periods of time, be sure to get up often and stretch or walk every few hours.
  4. Avoid awkward positions When lifting or carrying something, try not to get into an uncomfortable position, as this may strain the muscles of the lower back. back and cause pain or injuries. Bend your knees instead of leaning forward when picking up things from the floor. Don't lift from just one side either – distribute the load between both hands so that both sides of the body are stressed equally.
  5. Sleep with good posture: : you should always sleep in a neutral position, with the spine correctly aligned, lying on your side or on your back (not on your stomach). This will help reduce stress and tension in the lower back, allowing it to fully relax during rest.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne

The intradiscal pressure varies enormously depending on the position of your body and the load lifted.


Recent medical studies have revealed that too much bed rest for a herniated disc does not promote the healing process.


In fact, prolonged inactivity can slow healing and even make your condition worse. The recent shift in treatment recommendations from rest to physical therapy is clear evidence of this. While it may be tempting to stay in bed for days on end when your back hurts, it's best for your recovery to stay as active as possible by doing light exercises while avoiding those described below.


When dealing with a herniated disc, it is important to understand how to facilitate its recovery. First of all, it is recommended not to stay in bed for more than two consecutive days after feeling pain due to herniated disc. While rest is an important part of the healing process, staying too inactive can actually make your condition worse.


On the other hand, staying active and engaging in regular physical activity is essential to help you heal faster. However, it is important to note that overdoing or overworking can also have negative effects and slow down the healing process.


It is therefore preferable to find a balance between rest and activity in order to promote faster healing of a herniated disc. It is also essential to talk to your healthcare professional about your care plan so that they can advise and guide you on the types of activities best suited to your specific condition. Following these guidelines will help you get relief to your herniated disc as soon as possible !


For this reason, it's best to strike a balance between getting rid of the pain and avoiding certain activities, like the ones below.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne

8 activities to do in moderation to avoid aggravating your herniated disc


  1. Sitting too long: Sitting for long periods of time can be very harmful to people with herniated discs (the internal pressure of the disc will double after 45 minutes of sitting). Make sure to keep your spine straight and your shoulders back. Also, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs remain parallel to the floor; it may also be helpful to place a rolled towel or pillow in the small of your back for support. It is also beneficial to take regular breaks every 45 minutes or so to get up and walk around for a minute. If possible, consider using a standing desk, but remember to move at least once an hour, even if only for a few moments. These tips can help people with herniated discs maintain a healthy spine and avoid the discomfort of prolonged sitting.
  2. Bending over: Bending and squatting are common activities that many people do regularly. However, if done improperly or with too much force, they can lead to increased pressure on your discs and aggravate your herniated disc. To prevent this from happening, it's best to avoid bending and stooping until existing pain is gone. Common activities that require bending include gardening, cleaning, lifting things off the floor, and picking things off shelves. However, when performing these activities, you need to make sure you use proper posture to avoid straining your back. This means keeping your knees bent when lifting or carrying things with your legs rather than your back, using a stool or ladder to reach something high, and using a cart or other device to move heavy objects. Also, if you must do activities that involve bending for extended periods of time, be sure to take frequent breaks to allow your body to rest
  3. Doing the laundry: As you have to bend over to lift the basket, carry the basket to the laundry room, and then bend over several times before the laundry is done. Ask a friend or family member to do this for you if you can.
  4. Feeding pets: Although it is not as tiring as doing the laundry, you still have to bend over to feed and water the animals. You might as well avoid this if possible.
  5. Pick up items: When bending over to pick up lighter objects, such as clothes on the floor, remember that this can put pressure on your back.
  6. To vacuum: Vacuuming can be a painful experience, but with the right posture, you can avoid making your herniated disc worse. To save your back, hold the vacuum in front of you and move around by walking rather than pushing and pulling – this small change will make all the difference!
  7. Gardening work: For people with herniated discs, activities such as yard work and gardening should be done with caution. While light activity can help the healing process, it is important to maintain proper posture during these tasks by limiting bending or twisting motions that could worsen pain and hinder recovery. Ultimately, it is essential to carefully evaluate each task before attempting any strenuous physical work.
  8. Sleep as you normally do: For those who suffer from a herniated disc, getting a good night's sleep may seem like an unattainable goal. However, there are changes you can make to your sleeping position that may ease discomfort and allow for more restful sleep! For back sleepers, place rolled up towels between the lower back and the mattress, while elevating the legs with two pillows under them. Sleeping on your side is also beneficial - but be sure to change positions each night so as not to aggravate sciatica pain on either side related to herniated discs.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne


Exercises to avoid with a herniated disc


Are you recovering from a herniated disc? Safety first ! While it's important to stay active during the healing process, not all activities are created equal. Save yourself some trial and error by avoiding any exercise that causes pain and take advantage of this list of resources for safer options – your body will thank you later! Certain exercises can put pressure on the spine and make symptoms worse. To avoid exacerbating things further, these exercises should generally be avoided:


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne

Lifting weights: For your safety and well-being, it is best to refrain from lifting weights over 50 pounds if you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc. You can, however, bench press or incline bench at 45 degrees.


Do not stretch - herniated discStretch: For people with herniated discs, experts suggest avoiding hamstring stretches for optimal back health. These exercises can be particularly taxing on the already delicate vertebrae in this situation and should be avoided at all costs.


Do not do a sit-up - herniated discSit-ups: Strengthening the core muscles is important, but this particular exercise puts excessive pressure on the discs in the lower back, which can further irritate existing disc problems.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneSquats: People who have suffered a herniated disc should exercise caution when doing squats – this type of exercise can aggravate the existing condition and produce undesirable consequences.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneLeg Press The Leg Press is an excellent exercise for developing lower-body strength and tone; however, it is not recommended for people with herniated discs. The "leg curl" for the front or back of the thighs is acceptable, alternating one leg at a time, with a light weight to avoid arching the lower back.


Do not jump rope - herniated discSkipping rope: For those diagnosed with a herniated disc, skipping rope should be firmly avoided because of the potential stress it places on the spine. Activity modifications are necessary to facilitate recovery and prevent further injury.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneDeadliftsDeadlifts: although deadlifts are an effective way of strengthening your posterior chain, people suffering from pain caused by a herniated disc should be aware that they risk aggravating their condition and seek other forms of exercise accordingly.


Sports to avoid when suffering from a herniated disc


Take extra precautions if you have a herniated disc; most physical activity should be put on hold until the injury heals. However, some sports can still be done safely – just be sure to stay away from those that are known to put unnecessary strain on your spine. For optimal results, it is best to consult an experienced expert in the treatment of herniated disc who will help you identify the safest movements for your condition!


Twisting exercisesAny exercise that requires twisting : When you have a herniated disc, exercise can be both beneficial and harmful. To maximize healing while minimizing pain, any exercise involving twisting and bending at the waist should be avoided until healing is complete.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneContact sports: : For people with a herniated disc, playing contact sports like football, rugby and hockey can potentially lead to further injury. It is therefore recommended to avoid these activities whenever possible.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneJogging: : If you suffer from a herniated disc, it is important to avoid activities such as jogging which could make your condition worse. High-impact sports like jogging can be tricky due to their bumpy and repetitive nature. Take the necessary precautions and focus on activities with minimal impact instead.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneAerobic training: To avoid further injury, avoid high impact aerobic activities with a herniated disc to ensure a good recovery. You can replace these exercises with the elliptical trainer.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneGolf:  : Golf can be a fun activity, but if you suffer from a herniated disc, be careful. Twisting movements can lead to discomfort and potential exacerbation of the injury. So it's best to wait until you're fully recovered before hitting the greens!


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneBike: Riding a bike can be detrimental for people with a herniated disc. The forward leaning position that cycling involves can amplify pressure on the discs, leading to potentially serious complications. Therefore, it is better to forgo this activity if you are suffering from such a pre-existing condition.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneYoga:: When you suffer from a herniated disc, it is best to be careful when engaging in physical activities such as yoga. Instead of risking further injury or feeling uncomfortable, consider other exercises that are better suited to your current condition.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneSwimming: Swimming is a great way to exercise, but it can be detrimental if you have a herniated disc. To avoid putting pressure on your lumbar discs and aggravating the injury, avoid swimming laps with your lower back in a strongly arched posture.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal TerrebonneWalking:  When you have a herniated disc, it is important to be careful about your choice of surface when walking. Asphalt and concrete can cause excessive impact on the discs in your lower back. Alternative ground that is softer and not too uneven may be suitable. Do not exceed your pain threshold.


Exercises to Avoid for Cervical Disc Herniation


Exercise remains a crucial factor in avoiding herniated discs, but if you suffer from it, certain specific activities should be avoided. It is imperative to avoid exercises that put pressure on the spine or misalign your neck and shoulders; these can make the condition worse. Keep in mind that the same principles of torsion and impact to the discs of the lower back apply to those of the neck. For example, avoid carrying overly heavy grocery bags or performing exercises that involve lifting weights above the shoulders.


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne




A herniated disc is a serious injury that requires care and attention during the healing process to ensure a smooth recovery. By taking precautionary measures, such as avoiding activities that put extra pressure on the discs between the vertebrae, finding alternatives for necessary tasks like lifting heavy objects or driving long distances, and making sure your posture sleep is comfortable, yet supportive while minimizing pressure on your spine, you can speed up the healing process so you can feel your best again soon! By taking the necessary precautions during the treatment and recovery period, people with a herniated disc have an excellent chance of a full recovery!


What to Avoid During the Treatment of Your Herniated Disc Tagmed Clinic Montreal Terrebonne

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