Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for Herniated Disk Rehabilitation

If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disk, you know how painful it can be. The good news is that most people who have a herniated disk can achieve a complete recovery with the right set of exercises. A combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can help reduce pain and improve mobility, allowing you to return to your normal daily activities.

What is a Herniated Disk?

A herniated disk, also known as a slipped or ruptured disk, is a condition where the disk between the bones of the spine (vertebrae) pushes out of its normal position. This can cause pressure on the spinal nerves, leading to pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Strengthening Exercises

1. Pelvic Bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your glutes (buttocks) and lift your hips off the floor, keeping your shoulders and feet on the ground. Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position.

2. Wall Sits

Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for five seconds, then slowly slide back up the wall to the starting position.

3. Deadlifts

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weight in each hand (such as dumbbells or a barbell). Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight, and lower the weights towards the ground. Use your glutes and hamstrings to lift the weights back up to the starting position.

Stretching Exercises

1. Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly bring one knee towards your chest, holding onto it with both hands. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then slowly release and repeat with the other knee.

2. Child’s Pose

Kneel on a mat with your knees hip-width apart and your toes touching. Slowly lower your body forward until your forehead touches the ground and your arms are extended in front of you. Hold for 15-30 seconds.

3. Cat-Cow Stretch

Get on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Arch your back towards the ceiling and tuck your chin towards your chest (cat stretch). Then, lower your back towards the floor and lift your head towards the ceiling (cow stretch). Repeat for 15-30 seconds.


1. Can exercise help relieve the pain from a herniated disk?

Yes, exercise can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine and improve mobility, leading to a reduction in pain.

2. Should I see a doctor before starting an exercise program for a herniated disk?

Yes, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.

3. What other treatments are available for a herniated disk?

Treatments may include medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and in some cases, surgery.

4. How long does it take to recover from a herniated disk?

The recovery time varies depending on the severity of the herniation and the individual’s response to treatment. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to achieve full recovery.

5. Can I do these exercises at home?

Yes, these exercises are designed to be done at home, but make sure to follow proper form and avoid any movements that cause pain.


A herniated disk can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with the right set of exercises, most people can achieve a complete recovery. By combining strengthening and stretching exercises, you can reduce pain and improve mobility, allowing you to return to your normal daily activities.

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