herniated disk


A herniated disk or a slipped or ruptured disk occurs when some of the soft jelly in the inner part of the disk slips out past the tough exterior. It can be very painful and may cause:

  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • shooting arm pain
  • tingling, numbness, or weakness in the leg or foot
  • tingling, numbness, or weakness in one arm

People with a herniated disk do not usually need surgery. Doctors often recommend physiotherapy to treat the symptoms of a herniated disk. Any disk in the spine can become herniated, including the neck, but it most commonly occurs in the lower back. Different exercises can help relieve symptoms but this depending on where the herniated disk is.


(1) Seated chair stretch

For a gentle, seated stretch along the hamstring:

  • Sit in a chair with one foot on the floor and the other extended out straight, with the heel on the floor.
  • Straighten the back and lean forward over the extended leg until there is a stretch along the back of the upper thigh.
  • Hold this position for 15–30 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat several times.

(2) Towel hamstring stretch

For a a deeper hamstring stretch, try the following:

  • Lie flat on a yoga mat with one leg lifted into the air.
  • Wrap a towel around the foot of the leg in the air.
  • Holding the towel, pull the leg toward the body.
  • Hold for 15–30 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat several times.

(3) Back flexion stretch

Back flexion exercises stretch the spine and back muscles. Speak to a doctor before performing these exercises after a back injury. To perform a back flexion stretch:

  • Lie on the back and hold both knees toward the chest.
  • At the same time, move the head forward until there is a comfortable stretch across the mid and low back.
  • Repeat this several times.

(4) Knee to chest stretch

A knee to chest stretch will work the muscles on each side of the body separately for a gentler stretch. Try the following:

  • Lie on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor.
  • Place both hands behind one knee and pull it toward the chest.
  • Switch legs and repeat several times.

Perform all exercises in a slow and controlled manner, especially when bending or lifting. Exercises should not hurt. If a person feels pain, they should stop doing the exercises and speak with their doctor. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/slipped-disc/