Herniated Disc Part 2: The Best Exercises For Your Herniated Disc

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Have you gone over the Disc Herniation Part 1” article from last week and feel better but still have pain?

Do you want to find out the best exercises to put your herniated disc back in?

Do you want to feel better than you do now?

In this article I go over

  1. Best exercises to push a herniated disc back into place

  2. Stabilization exercises that keep your disc from coming out

Lumbar Disc Herniation-Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Lumbar Disc Herniation             From neurosciences.beaumont.edu

When you have a herniated disc the nucleus has been pushed through the annulus like in the picture above. What caused it to go out in the first place?

The answer is forward bending. Each time you bend forward your disc which is like a jelly/jam doughnut gets pinched at the front. Pinch the doughnut often enough or hard enough and the annulus breaks and the nucleus goes through and pushes on the nerve.

The disc is actually made of a hard cartilage on the outside, but the inside is relatively soft, like phlegm. You need to understand that with a disc or doughnut, they work in the similar way.

If you push on one side of the doughnut, the jelly gets pushed to the other side. Same with the disc so the analogy to a doughnut is pretty close.

When there is enough pressure on the nerve from a herniated disc or if there is inflammation you feel pain.

The solution is to push the doughnut to the opposite side. This is exactly how you can fix your herniated disc.

If you want to know more details about herniated discs, go to Disc Herniation Part 1: Best Self-Treatments To Help Your Lumbar Disc Herniation.

How Do I Put Pressure On The Opposite Side of the Disc?

The answer is you bend your spine backwards or put your spine into extension.

Best exercises to push a herniated disc back into place

Warning: You can get a little more pain while doing these exercises. If the pain is getting much worse or your pain goes further down the leg while you are doingthese exercises, stop right away

Lie face down or prone in bed with your elbows tucked in under your side:

  • As soon as you get up in the morning you should lie prone (face down). By getting in this position, your lower back becomes more arched, or as doctors say, you increase your lordosis.
  • The increased lordosis pushes on the back of the disc helping to bring the nucleus forward into the correct position.

Sphinx pose in Yoga or Prone Prop McKenzie

  • Get into the prone position lying down on your stomach.
  • Next get on your elbows. If you have a hard time with this position go back into the prone lying position.
  • Do these exercises holding each time for 1-2 seconds 6-8 times per set. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

Asses yourself. If the pain has decreased or pain has moved away from the leg or thigh and into the hip or buttock, this is an improvement. Even if the pain is increased in the back but relieved in the leg this is an improvement and a green light that you should continue this exercise. You also get a green light if there is no difference at all.

  • If your self-assessment gives you the green light, move onto the Cobra exercises just below.
  • If your thigh or leg pain is worse, then stop right away.
  • If your low back, thighs and legs are the same you get a green light, move on to the Cobra exercises.

Yoga Cobras or McKenzie Push-ups

 

  • Lie down face down with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Push up from as high as you can until your lower back stops you or your elbows are straight.
  • The pelvis should still be on the floor and the lower back muscles relaxed.
  • Do these exercises holding each time for 1-2 seconds 6-8 times per set. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

Asses yourself. If the pain has decreased or pain has moved away from the leg or thigh and into the hip or buttock, this is an improvement. Even if the pain is increased in the back but relieved in the leg this is an improvement and a green light that you should continue this exercise. If your thigh or leg pain is worse, then stop right away.

 

Standing Extensions

Herniated Disc Put your Disc Back In & Prevent Herniated Discs

Standing Extensions To Put your Disc Back In

  • Stand straight and put your hands behind your hips with your fingers facing down.
  • Push your hands into your pelvis so that your lower back arches.
  • Don’t use your lower back muscles
  • These exercises can be done 6-8 times for 1-2 seconds. This exercise can be repeated every two hours throughout the day.

 

Stabilization Exercises: Prevent Your Disc From Coming Out By Having A Stable Spine.

 

#1 The Cat-Cow or Cat-Camel

Cat Cow Herniated Disc Put your Disc Back In & Prevent Herniated Discs

  • On all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
  • Inhale and let your belly fall downwards toward the floor as you look up toward the ceiling for 2 seconds.
  • Exhale and arch your back up as far as it will go or until you feel pain. You should not feel pain with this exercise, otherwise you are going too high.
  • At the same time bend your neck forward and look toward your naval.

 

#2 Curl-Ups

Herniated Disc:Best ways to treat a Herniated Disc

Curl up to help strengthen your rectus abdominis i.e. Your Abs

  • To start, one foot is bent and the other is straight.
  • One forearm goes under your arch of your lower back to support it.
  • Other arm is supporting your head.
  • Your head and neck come up as one block, until your shoulder blades clear the floor.
  • Do three sets of 5 working your way up to 10. If it’s easy, then hold for a couple of breaths.

#3 Squats

How to Improve Posture-Chair Squats: Toronto Chiropractic Clinic

  • Stand in front of a chair as if you are going to sit on it.
  • Stand with your feet facing slightly more outward than your knee.
  • Make sure your butt comes out, and keep lowering you butt until you touch the chair.
  • Practice 3 sets of 10.
  • When you are stronger, take the chair away and go down until your knees are bent 90 degrees.

#4 Bird Dog

 

  • Get into a crawling position with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Harden your core by contracting your abs and lower back. This is called bracing.
  • Lift up your arm first. If this is easy, then lift your leg only. If that is easy, then lift the opposite legs and arms, for example right leg, left arm.
  • Want to make it tougher? Try lifting an arm and leg on the same side.
  • 3 sets of 10. If you are shaking a little or cannot balance quite right, you’re doing the right exercise for you, i.e.  lifting just the leg or arm might be easy, but lifting opposite arms and legs might put you off-balance a bit. Make sure you are stable before going to the advanced bird dog.

 

 

Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. This Toronto Downtown Chiropractor will answer all questions in the comments section.

 

References

 

1.  J Med Genet 2002;39:387-390 doi:10.1136/jmg.39.6.387


Author

Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

1,152 Responses to Herniated Disc Part 2: The Best Exercises For Your Herniated Disc
  • PCM says:
    April 23, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Dr. Ken, what is the best sleeping position for herniated disc? I sleep on my back.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 24, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Thanks for your question PCM. Depends on the type of disc herniation. If you have the type of disc herniation like most people, all you have to do is put a towel or small pillow in the hollow of your lower back, when lying on your back. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc. If you have any more questions for this downtown Toronto chiropractor I will do my best to answer your questions.

  • Vivek says:
    April 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Good Explanation along with pictorial representation. People who are affected by herniated disc can easily follow and do it on their own.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 20, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Thanks for your comment Vivek. Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Vinod Rai says:
    April 13, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Dr Ken, I have been reading your article and your responses. I am highly convinced with your recommended exercises. I thank you for helping so many person around the world.I am 45 yrs suffering with herniated disc since last 1 month. My MRI says- L5 – S1 left paracentral and lateral recess disc extrusion compressing left traversing nerve root, it also says L3-L4 & L4-L5 diffuse disc bulge with posterior annual tear indenting thecal sac without any obvious neural compression.
    My symptoms was severe pain in my left leg starting from buttock to thigh region. I took some medicine under supervision of doctor with very little relief. Subsequently, I started doing your recommended exercise like Cobra & Standing extension. I got good relief as my pain has reduced to a great extent, my only issue is I find difficult to walk after 10 – 12 minutes as pain reoccurs.Please suggest should I need to go for surgery or exercise will help.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 14, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Thanks for your question Vinod. Try doing the exercises 8 times a day with 10 to 15 reps at a time. Gradually ramp up to this level in about a 1 week. If the symptoms get worse you back down. Remember this is an opinion and not a recommendation as I have not examined you. Also, keep in mind that you can get worse so you should have these exercises supervised by someone that knows the exercises.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc. If you have any more questions, this downtown Toronto chiropractor will do his best to give you a useful answer.

  • Tarun says:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Hello Dr, my mom is suffering from diffuse disc bulge more towards left at l4-5 causing moderate impression on thecal sac and adjucent traversing exiting nerve root. This was shown in MRI.As a result she has severe right leg pain.she started medicinea such as retense, pregmin and sigmin b. 9days back but haven’t started exercise. Suddenly last 2 days she haven’t taken medicine and yesterday she took medicine but still she had pain in right leg. What should she do so that leg pain goes away?. Does surgery required? She gets pain more in the night while sleeping. Waiting for your reply. Advance Thanks a lot to u.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 16, 2017 at 4:25 am

      Thanks for your question Tarun. You need to tell what makes her worse besides lying down. What position she is in when she lays down etc..

      • Tarun says:
        April 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        Thanks a lot Doctor for replying. Her pain in right leg is more when she sleeps straight facing the fan. Also, the pain in leg doesn’t depends on how she sleeps. It comes all of sudden mostly in night with very severe irrespective of any direction she sleep.

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          April 19, 2017 at 12:21 am

          Thanks for your question Tarun. You need to leave it in the hands of the doctors that are examining her now I cannot give you direction at this point.

          Good luck with your mother’s pain.

  • logan says:
    April 8, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Dr ken, I always had neck pain after running, kept ignoring. Last sep (16) developed some neck pain after running that wouldnt go away. After a long hike i noticed pain had spread to shoulder and started radiating down arms. Had to go to urgent care due to pain intensity.
    I was diagnosed with cervical herniated disc (c4-c5 and c6-c7) sep 2016. with some anti-inflammatory (meloxicam) and PT pain level came down by 80%.(in 2 months) Some numbeness in the forefinger, weakness (recoered 70%) in triceps and pain in forward flexion. All was good until last month i went out for a 30 minute run (no pain during running). Later developed soreness in shoulder blades and neck pain. Few weeks of chiro i was getting better, until my shoulder blades was massaged. I developed pain next day almost back to square 1. It has now taken one month to recover and still have spasms. I am going for epidural. How do i avoid recurrence? (my physiatrist recommended surgery while the neurosurgeon wants me to wait and go for epidural). Questions 1) why would a massage in the shoulder blade/upper back trigger such a relapse? 2) i understand running is out, but i love hiking (no backpack), is hiking ok? (steep hills 2400ft). Both episodes unfortunately preceded with a hike. Thank you. -logan

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 9, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks for your question Logan. Sometimes a massage will aggravate a disc when you don’t treat the area of the cause. Also, it may have been the position that you were in when you got massaged. You might have had your head to one side etc…

      Hiking involves a lot of forward neck posture; the heavier the backpack and the faster you go the worse your posture becomes. The more forward the posture and the heavier the pack the more your disc pushes out backwards. So, once you get better the key is to keep a good posture while hiking. You should practice the chin tucks I have here before but while laying down on your back before doing the epidural. http://www.bodiempowerment.com/cervical-disc-herniation-best-exercises-help-sore-neck/
      Keep in mind like any exercise you may get worse so you should have someone that knows the exercise to guide you. A local chiropractor or physiotherapist may know. They don’t all know. Your medical doctor will not know unless they are one of the few that know about rehabilitation. Please remember this is my opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc. If you have any more questions for this Toronto downtown chiropractor I will do my best to give you a helpful answer.

      • logan says:
        April 10, 2017 at 12:57 am

        Dr ken, Thank you so much for your response. I will be more conscious of my posture during hiking. I did not see centralization with mc kensey exercises so i did not pursue (esp. did not want to do on my own). I was very concerned that despite doing all physio dilligently, i had relapsed. In your experience, do neck disk herniations resolve completely or do they keep flaring up? Is it possible to run at all with this condition? (i love running would be understating). Thanks again. -logan

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          April 10, 2017 at 5:57 am

          Thanks for your question Logan. Neck pain, like lower back pain, comes and goes. That is normal. It doesn’t mean that the treatment was not a success. Usually, it means you aggravated the problem. For example, most people sit with bad posture while at work. They have their chin sticking out or their neck bent forward. Eventually, their neck pain returns or their arm pain returns. The reason is actually that they were making their own neck worse, by aggravating for many hours a day.

          You can run when you when you are not in acute pain. You can still run with pain as long as you don’t have upper arm pain and you run with your neck straight. This is my opinion and not a recommendation.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Jake says:
    April 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Hi Dr. Nakamura,

    I want to first thank you so much for all this information. I had APT for 2 long years and after following your exercises for APT for 6 months (your exercises 2 times a day) I am completely pain-free and my back is not hyper-extended anymore.

    Ironically, stupid little me tried to lift too much weight with bent over rows yesterday and I’m pretty sure I now have herniated disc (my lower back area hurts when I lean forward without tightening my core). I plan to see a doctor today but my question to you is:

    – Other than your exercises mentioned here, should I stay away from the gym? I.e. no more weight for any body part and not even running until the symptoms are completely gone?

    I have been going to the gym for last 4 years so it will be quite a big deal for me.

    Thank you!!

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 9, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks for your question Jake. Well, I would not do squats, bent over rows, deadlifts and keep everything else light. You can do leg press but keep a rolled up towel behind your back. Still, you should keep the weight light for you. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

      • Jake says:
        April 10, 2017 at 6:46 am

        Hi Dr. Nakamura,

        Thanks for getting back to me! So the doctor told me it’s a muscle sprain, definitely not a herniated disc (guess I was too worried…). He said I should avoid the Gym for at least 10 days. Do you still recommend me do all the exercises listed on this page?

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          April 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

          Thanks for your question Jake. While muscles sprains do happen in the lower back any pain of significance is often due to a disc especially with how you put out your back out with bent over rows. You will quickly know if it the problem is due to a muscle or disc. A muscle usually hurts a little when you stretch it and hurts more when you have a resisted force against it. However, a disc will hurt while you are still sitting in a chair, while a muscle by itself will not. A disc that pinches the nerve that goes to a muscle, for example, can hurt in the buttock or hip area while you simply sit.

          That’s my opinion and not a recommendation. So the answer to your question as to if you should do the exercises will depend on if you have a disc herniation or a muscle strain. Your question will be answered as to if you should do your exercises the next time you sit in a chair for a few hours. If you have pain you likely have a disc as you are not using the muscle very much. A disc will get worse as you sit longer. However, remember I didn’t examine you.

          Hope that helps your possible disc herniation.

  • gom says:
    April 6, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Hi , need to loose weight but i do not know what types of workout to do.
    have pain in lower back till left butt
    i have a mild posterior bulge at L5/S1 with hyperintense annular tear at right para-central margin L5/s1 with loss normal t2 singnal

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 6, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks for your question Gom. You can walk every day in addition to doing the exercises. Walking for most people with disc herniations isn’t too bad. Mind you I haven’t examined you so you will have to try and see. Just walk your maximum amount before the pain starts. Just start gradually. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your L5/S1 disc annular tear. If you have any more questions for this Toronto downtown chiropractor I will do my best to give you a good answer.

      • Sang says:
        April 8, 2017 at 1:02 am

        I had herniated disc in my l4 and l5 over a year I do every morning exercise but still pain before my leg it very pain and right now my leg it not pain very much it is getting better

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          April 9, 2017 at 8:24 pm

          Thanks for your comment Sang. I am very happy that you are doing better. You could probably do better if you see a good chiropractor in your area. Just be careful who you go see though. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Sonja van den Berg says:
    March 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Dear Dr Nakamura,

    Thanks for these exersizes! I am already doing some, but definately will try to do them all!

    I am 27 years old and dealing with a herniated disc L5-S1 (pain for approx. 1 year, I was pregnant in that time too). Before the herniated disc I was always very active, especially with weights – maybe that’s were the hernia came from… I only experience pain in my leg during walking and standing. I am visiting a chiropractor, he has helped me a lot already.

    I was wondering if I can do the ‘Goodmorning exersize’? Or should I avoid that one for now??

    Looking forward to your response!

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      April 1, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks for your question Sonja. You should leave the good morning exercises for the time being as that is way too much pressure while you are healing. You need to gradually work your way to that. Usually in a case like your knee to chest exercises while lying down is helpful to start. You may be past that already since you are getting better. Now it’s really up to your chiropractor to get you through to the next stage. For a person like you the next step is bending over and grabbing your feet or ankles while you are sitting and doing that for 10 reps. http://gayyoga.gn.apc.org/Article%20part%203_files/image004.jpg

      The above is an opinion and not a recommendation. Remember I haven’t examined you so you could get worse. The opinion of the chiropractor that is treating should supersede mine. If you have any more questions for this Toronto downtown chiropractor I will do my best to give you a usefull answer.

  • Miguel says:
    March 30, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Hello Dr. Thank you for this post. I was wondering if you had any good exercises for a thoracic anterior protruding disc between t7/t8 that can help put the disc back in and aide in the healing process.
    My symptoms are typically pain in my right shoulder blade from sitting and sharp pain in the center mid back from bending forward. When I had the initial swelling and pain I experienced numbness when I would sit in the midback but I don’t feel that anymore does that mean it is healing?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      March 31, 2017 at 12:15 am

      Thanks for your question Miguel. You should try https://cdn.algaecal.com/wp-content/uploads/image9.jpeg?_ga=1.257547522.869636567.1490893911
      Remember that any exercise can make you worse so you should consult your chiropractor or physiotherapist before doing these exercises. This is an opinion and not a recommendation. I would do the exercises 10 repetitions for at least 4 sets a day. If they make you worse stop. If they make you better go to 8 sets a days.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc. if you have any more questions for this downtown Toronto chiropractor I will do my best to help you with useful answers.

      • Miguel says:
        March 31, 2017 at 1:46 am

        Great thank you Dr. I will give it a shot.

  • vince says:
    March 30, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Hi Dr Ken,

    Just a short note to say thanks for the exercises.
    They helped me a lot over a tough few months with the recovery and pain control but most importantly they were very positive for me mentally. The fact that I could see as the weeks progressed that I could do the more complicated exercises and for longer repetitions really allowed me to put the healing process into perspective. (I’m pretty much recovered these last five months but I still do bird dogs every day)
    It really is great that you took the time to instruct and aide people with this guide and once again thank you for that. This page made a very positive difference in my life during a pretty difficult time.

    Sincerly,
    Vince

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      March 31, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Thanks for your great remark. I’m very happy that this blog has made a difference in your life for your herniated disc. Hope you stay well.

  • Ravi says:
    March 29, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Hello DR. Ken,

    Thanks for you Blogs and Helping out many people round the globe.

    i do all the above exercise as part of my Yoga.they are giving me relief but not fix.
    i have been suffering from lower Back Pain since past 3 years. after long sitting i find pain at right side of my lower back and it goes upto buttocks and thigh as soon as i get up or walk it get relived. same happen while i stand for long time and it got relieved as soon as i take rest.

    My Mri report is as follows:

    Loss of Normal Lumbar Lordossis noted, alignment is well mentained.
    Disc Dessication Noted at L5-S1 intervertebral Disc
    Small left Lateral Disc Herniation is sen L4-5 Mildly indenting Left L5 traversing nerve root
    Cental Extrusion of Disc is seen at L5-S1 Compressing the thecal sac and indenting both S1 traversing nerver root

    Do i need to go through surgery?

    Regards
    Ravi Joshi

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      March 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks for your question Ravi. While Yoga is great and it’s great that you do all the exercises. However, the exercises I posted are different especially the Cobra. It is actually called extension in lying and is not the Cobra. If you do the exercises like they do in Yoga you will not get the benefit as if you did the exercises the way I explain. Most people adapt the exercises.

      Furthermore, Yoga has a lot of extensions as well as flexion. For the vast majority of people with back pain half the exercises are making them worse while the other half makes them better. In your case the better part seems to win out. I would just do the exercises and don’t do the Yoga classes. There is a reason why I treat so many Yogi’s. In fact Yoga has caused their back pain in many cases.

      You will not likely need surgery. This is an opinion and not a recommendation. Hope that help your herniated disc. If you have any more questions for this downtown Toronto chiropractor I will do my best to give you a

      • Ravi says:
        March 31, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        Thanks for reply sir. I do these excersise to full extension and do not feel any pain while doing them. My body is quite athletic and flexible n doctors took quite long time(only after mri) to detect the problem as they used to find it more of deficiency and muscles strain because of long sitting.however the pain is causing trouble.would you suggest some supplement for this as well. Alike other doctors who suggests vitamins n pain killer generally and does these excersise are sufficient to cure my situation as in my MRI report.can I continue my gym as I left it 6 month back because of this pain

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          April 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm

          Thanks for your question Ravi. You should breath out and let your lower back sag as much as possible while doing them. Having more muscles or being more athletic has no influence. As for going back to the gym, look at future one week at a time.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc. Remember this is an opinion and not a recommendation.

  • ASHISH KUMAR says:
    March 3, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Sir i am suffering back pain from last 4 months later I discovered in MRI this below plss help me out
    I Clinical profile – LBA
    MRI LS SPINE Protocol of Sequences: TSE TI. TSE T2 Saggital &. TSE TI. TSE T2 axial. HASTE T2 sagittal and corona’ MR itlyelogTamspr the LS Spine.
    • Lumbar lordosis is maintained. • Incomplete fusion or posterior elements likely spina bifida is noted at L5.Visualized lumbar vertebrae appear normal in size, morphology and signal characteristics. • Disc desiccation changes with reduced height at L5-S I. Other lumbar IV discs are normal in height and sig.] intensity. The respective sagittal canal diameter with disc morphology at various levels are as:
    L I -2: 19.3 trim; normal. L2-3: 20.2 min; normal. 1.3-4: 18.6 min; normal. L4-5: 15.1 mm; normal. 1,5-S1: 14.0 rim-, diffuse disc bulge with left para-central protrusion indenting the anterior thecal sac with mild left traversing nerve root indentation • Cord ends at upper border of 1.1 ..’cittltiple areas following CSF signal intensity are noted at sacral vertebral levels extending into bilateral neural foramina- Tarlov’s cysts • Facet joint arthropathy at 1.3-4 and L5-S1 level. There is no evidence of ligament= flavum hypertrophy. • The paravertebral sal tissues appear normal. • A small focal area of altered signal intensity in STIR sequence is noted in left sacral ala along the letl sacro-iliac joint -1 Significance. Na SI joint irregularity is seen. • Screening whole spine reveals no definitive abnorinality. • Incidentally seen is hepatomegaly with a longitudinal extent of I 6.8cm

    Impression: MRI of LS spine reveals fsio spina bifida at 1-5, disc degenerative changes with diffuse disc bulge and left pare-central protrusion at 1,541 level catererr mid left traversing nerve root indentation.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      March 6, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Thanks for your question but you need to write about your symptoms which are far more important than your MRI. If you had no symptoms with your MRI I would tell you to leave it alone. You obviously have symptoms so write just as much as you did about your MRI than I will give you my opinion.

      Hope that helps your possible herniated disc. If you have any more questions for this downtown Toronto chiropractor I will do my best to give you the most helpful comments I can.

      • Ashish kumar says:
        March 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        Thank you doctor for consideration
        I am suffering from back pain for last 4-5 months
        I am unable to bend forward if somehow try i try to do a sharp pinching pain is developed in left side of my back in muscle along with pain in spine
        2) while lying on bed tension is developed in back with sweet pain
        3) and I am unable to lift my left leg above than 30 degree if I tried to that a sharp pain is raised
        4) and now a days nerve pain in thighs along with hip muscle

  • Zohaib Ahmad says:
    February 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Dr. Ken

    5 months ago, I heart my back while doing exercise. I have contacted with my doctor and upon his suggestion also gone through MRI procedure. He concluded that I have herniated disk. Please suggest me proper exercise and proper angles to lay down and sit. And also what sort of mattress I should use. I am attaching the links of images of MRI scans.
    https://s4.postimg.org/6cww60ru5/IMG_20170221_162530.jpg
    https://s4.postimg.org/5osn0tii5/IMG_20170221_163055.jpg

    Thank you very much

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 22, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for your question Zohaib. Notwithstanding the pressure on your thecal sac which is pressure on the remnants of your spinal cord your diagnosis may well not be a disc herniation. However, I cannot see the transverse images well enough to tell you anything as they are of poor quality as it’s not the actual MRI but a picture of the MRI film. Nevertheless, if the diagnosis holds true you should benefit from the exercises in this article. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      You should only do these exercises with someone that knows these exercises like a chiropractor in your area.

      Hope that helps your possible herniated disc.

      • Zohaib Ahmad says:
        February 22, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Thank you very much Dr. for your kind advice. I will try to get the original MRI and contact you later.

        Thanks for your time.

  • Dennis says:
    February 5, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Hi Dr Ken
    2.5 years ago i hurt my back while doing sports and i was diagnosed with herniated disc in L5-S1. Now my new MR showed that i have broad based protrusion on the right side of L5-S1. I’m 26 and have been taking physical theraphy for 2 weeks. It goes well and consuming trotter soup 5 days a week. I’ll do the exercises properly and pay attention to daily activities. But i’m wondering is it possible to fully recover, turning back to the condition before the injury? I’m really confused cause i talked to 4 doctors and 2 of them said it can and the other 2 said it can not… I really want to hear what your answer is.. Thanks in advance.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 5, 2017 at 6:03 am

      Thanks for your question Dennis. Not sure how Trotter Soup will help but if it does let me know. Basically sheep’s feet soup. I am thinking that there may be other ingredients in the soup they may be helpful for pain or inflammation like ginger, garlic etc…

      Regarding full recovery. It’s all in the definition. You didn’t define it for them that’s why they are split in their decision. If you mean can you get out of pain? Most people that have similar situations like yours get out of pain completely. The problem is you won’t be out of pain forever. It will more than likely come back given enough time. It may be a few months later, a few years or even 10 years. Most people’s back pain is recurrent, meaning it comes back. Usually, because you have either sat in a bad way, lifted in a bad way or most likely a combination of the two. Even standing too long or walking too long can contribute when you are bad.

      That’s my opinion.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

      • Dennis says:
        February 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Hi Dr Ken
        Thanks for the answer. What i mean from full recovery is putting back the nucleus part of the disc back and fixing it with the recovery of the fibers of annulus part. Is that possible? Of course i expect to have back pains in the future even before the injury i was having back pain but very seldomly; i could play tennis, run.. I am hoping to do those activities again in the future..
        I have another question also. Some people put leeches on their back, very old tradition as you know and i would like to know your opinion. Can it help fixing the annulus part?
        Thanks in advance

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          February 5, 2017 at 8:03 pm

          Thanks for your question Dennis. You won’t like my answer. Like I said, most people recover and eventually do most if not all the things they did before with no pain, but the hole in the disc remains and the disc continues to deteriorate. The annulus is not mendable.You will likely have back pain, again and again for decades which worsens in intensity over time till about retirement age at which point the pain decreases over the decades.

          I can’t say that will happen to you but that’s the typical scenario given similar situations. You asked. Who knows though you may get better and better over the decades. The key is to keep active and don’t dwell. Play tennis and the other things you love to do.

          This is my opinion and not a recommendation.

          Leeches? I have never heard about leeches on the back. They seem to be helpful to re-establish finger circulation after finger re-attachment surgery which prevents your finger from getting gangrene. I can’t comment on something I currently don’t know enough about. I will comment once I know more.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Robee ajay says:
    February 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    First of all I find it too much interesting to go through your articles : u are really a good chiropractor who help not only his patient but world wide : i am from Mauritius : I got disc haernation c 5 : c 6 – can u suggest me which exercises best fit my scenario : thks

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 5, 2017 at 5:49 am

      Thanks for your question Robee. Ah, so you mean very interesting articles. So this article may help you. You might want to do the first exercise lying down if you have more serious pain.
      http://www.bodiempowerment.com/cervical-disc-herniation-best-exercises-help-sore-neck/
      You know you are getting worse if the pain goes further down the arm or shoulder or if the pain gets worse. It’s always best to go to best chiropractor or best physiotherapist in your area. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your cervical disc herniation.

  • Jerry says:
    February 3, 2017 at 2:55 am

    I was just curious as to why downward dog is not recommended for lumbar disc issues. I thought it was supposed to relieve nerve compression, irritation, etc. Also…do you have an opinion on the use of zero-gravity chairs as a way to relieve lumbar disc issues?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for your question Jerry. Your yoga teacher may have taught you that it helps lumbar disc issues but it’s not true. I have so many people that do Yoga and make their backs worse. A lot of people have to give up Yoga.
      Specifically for the downward dog the flexed position opens up the hole for the nerve to go out thus relieving pressure on the nerve. However, it will put pressure on the front of the disc pushing causing a bulge out the back, much like putting pressure on one side of a jelly doughnut causing the jelly to pop out the other side. In the end you get worse so don’t do it if you have a posterior herniated disc which most people do.

      You don’t need zero-gravity chairs you can simply do the extension exercises here in this article. One of my patients bought one and loves it but it was unnecessary. Doing the exercises also helps rehab your lower back, while the chair doesn’t. Also, the chair costs a lot. Exercise 2 Chair 0. Exercises wins. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • david gibson says:
    January 31, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    dr ken do you have opinion on lateral disc protrusion? what rehab exercise would help a lateral disc protrusion?approx. 3years ag had 2 mris… my lumbar mri=moderate left lateral disc protrusion…also, hip mri=mild iliopsoas bursitis+small iliopsoas tendon tear(imo the iliopsoas issues should have already healed but not sure) …to this date still have problems side bending away from painful side+problems climbing stairs…not sure if this is hip iliopsoas issue or the l3l4 disc protrusion(l3l4 nerve root = hip area too)….thanks in advance for any help info you can provide

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Thanks for your question David. It depends on if any of these discs, bursitis and tendon tears are symptomatic. You always have to correlate the history and exam. They take priority over an MRI. The vast majority of the time things like bursitis are incidental findings. Also after 3 years that’s a long time and things could have changed.

      Having said that you could try bending towards the left while standing or putting your right arm against the wall and bending to the left. thttp://www.hep2go.com/exercise_editor.php?exId=10891&userRef=0
      That is really assuming
      1. the disc protrusion is relevant. Often times they are not.
      2. The disc is still pushed out in the same direction.

      Unfortunately, a lot of things could have changed by now. This is an opinion and not a recommendation. Rather than go with my opinion find the best chiropractor in your neighbourhood.

      Hope that helps your lateral disc protrusion.

  • CTD says:
    January 19, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Hi Dr. I had a normal EMG and my MRI showed a “small” herniation at L5/S1 but with no nerve compression. For the past 18 months I have a tingling sensation (no pain) in the same spot in my right calf that comes and goes. I started physical therapy a couple weeks ago (doing stretches) and now there is a lot of tingling at the bottom of my right foot which happens almost every hour. I am confused as to why my doctors say there is no nerve compression yet I have symptoms. Would you know why this is? Also do you think physical therapy made me worse or is it normal to have worse symptoms initially and then get better? I am in my 20s and in good shape and get regular exercise. I am sad, confused, and hope this goes away soon. I am too young to be dealing with this, which is starting to drain me.

  • Toni Arenstein says:
    January 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Is there a video of the butt lifting technique. It’s a little confusing for me to understand how to do it. I was told that for the plank exercises to work for a herniated disc, need to keep increasing the time. How long do you have to hold the plank positions. I have an L4 herniated disc- severe said the physiatrist who wanted to do an epidural when I was still walking with a walker. Able to walk long distances without the walker now but sitting at work is still painful. (was out of work 9 weeks)

  • Ras says:
    January 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

    It’s the tourist PT, he didn’t examine me too, just chatting. In your opinion what’s the maximum time one can spend in Sphinx position before risking hurting themselves? I think when you say hurting it’s the muscle right?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Ras. 5 to 10 minutes, or if it gets painful. Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    January 10, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Is it ok to be in sphinx pose position for reading n using smartphone? Like 15 minutes or so?I don’t feel worse.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Ras, You might hurt yourself if you go so long. Probably not but there is potential to.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

      • Ras says:
        January 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm

        Hurt the muscle or the herniation? Because the PT recommended so.

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          January 12, 2017 at 10:11 pm

          Hi Ras. If you have a PT right there then you should go by the opinion of the PT. I’m not there to examine you.

      • Amit Kumar chauhan says:
        January 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm

        Hi I have had my l4l5s1 disc herniations since last June .I had taken physiotherapy and have 80% relief.but now in northern part of india december gets min temperature .so my problem once again rise and now it is getting worse at night.i m not able to walk more than 20 meters. I have pain in my left leg and buttock .
        Is this the sign of discetomy.
        Wat should I do?
        I m taking ayurveda treatment for last 20 days but no relief.
        I m just had pain while doing exercise..

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          January 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

          Thanks for your question Amit. A discectomy is disc surgery where they take off the piece of the disc that is sticking out. I certainly don’t think you are not able to walk more than 20 meters due to surgery. However, I think you mean disc herniation. Yes it could be your L4L5 disc herniation but it could be spinal stenosis depending on your age, but not as likely. It’s my opinion that but if true, which is a big if, as I haven’t examined you, then you should do the exercises in this article. This is my opinion, and not a recommendation.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    January 8, 2017 at 6:42 am

    The tourist physiotherapist also mention that after recovering from this herniated disc pain, meaning i able to do cobra with no pain at all, i should start do child pose stretches and actually should start slouching forward slowly little by little, to get the body used to it again. This is something i doubt. I remember you mention to me to never bend forward or slouch again in a bad way to prevent it herniating again? Also the child’s pose stretch, isn’t that bad for herniated disc even when pain free? What’s your view

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 8, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks for your comment Ras. The physiotherapist is talking about getting confidence emotionally as well as being comfortable to do flexion. There aren’t too many people that need this. This is only indicated when:
      1. Someone has fully reduced their herniated disc and they are still afraid of flexion
      2. They cannot flex due to a little bit of pain at the end.

      There are numerous other criteria which are related to testing your back.

      Yes, child’s pose or knee to chest exercises. Although knee to chest is used more often as it is more controlled then child’s pose especially at the beginning. You don’t usually start when pain-free you start when the pain is fully reduced which means that there can be some pain at the end of forward bending.

      The vast majority of people don’t need recovery of function so right now just concentrate on getting better.

      Your job right now is to do cobra straight and go as far as you can breathing out at the end.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    January 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    A tourist that i met said he work as physiotherapist in Europe. I mention about my herniated disc to him, the symptoms and also about my right leg more painful than the left. He recommended me to do cobra exercise but instead of straight legs he teach me to align the both legs to the right side like banana while doing cobra, to close the gap of disc that protrude to the right, thus to reduce the pain of the right leg. What’s your view on this?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 8, 2017 at 2:36 am

      Thanks for your question Ras. This is a technique used when the problems are more severe on one side than the other like you have. However I don’t usually recommend this to people as most people don’t give me enough information. Assuming that the physiotherapist questioned more closely or examined you to determine if it’s appropriate for you then go right ahead.

      That’s the opinion of this Toronto chiropractor.

      • Ras says:
        January 8, 2017 at 5:43 am

        Thanks for your reply Dr. The PT just talk to me, he is in tourist mode. He didn’t touch me, or thorough examination. I traumatized by the previous massage of”chronic pain specialist” that made it worse. The straight leg cobra is fine with me so far, if misdiagnosed does banana shape cobra will make me worse? Can normal cobra help fix with my right leg more dominant pain ? He also mention that if the herniation is long time such as 1 year than manipulation any kind is useless, what’s your view on that?

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          January 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

          Thanks for your question Ras. In your case I would simply try to go harder and see if it help? Do four sets a day of 10 sets. You want to try to go to end range.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

          • Ras says:
            January 9, 2017 at 7:30 am

            Thanks for your reply. I will do normal cobra harder and to the very end. Every 2 hours, meaning more than 4 sets a day. Weird thing is sometimes when i reach to the highest during cobra, i felt a little tingle on my feet and legs sometimes, not necessary worse but is that and an indication that I’ve reach the max extension in cobra?
            And is it true that manipulation is useless if the herniation is long time?

          • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
            January 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

            Ras. It’s very effective for chronic herniations if you know what you are doing. Chiropractors have far more training in manipulation than physiotherapists in Canada. Physiotherapists don’t get trained for manipulation in school this done with supplementary courses on weekends. I don’t about physiotherapists in Europe though. Chiropractors are the experts when it comes to manipulation. If you manipulate often you know the effectiveness. Besides most chiropractors don’t just manipulate. That’s why I spend 20 minutes with each patient personally.

            Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    January 7, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    What’s your view on foam rolling the lower back when have herniated disc?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 8, 2017 at 2:31 am

      Thanks for your question Ras. Foam rolling the lower back doesn’t help but foam rolling the glut medius, and piriformis, will help.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Mary Oseid says:
    December 31, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Dr Ken

    My daughter is a college athlete and has recently been diagnosed with a herniated disk between l4 and l5. She does not have any pain in her legs – mostly in her back.

    We are trying to get her into see a PT to get a specific set of exercises, but it may take a few weeks for us to get her an appointment. And she wants to get started on rehab as soon as possible.

    Do you think that the exercises above will help someone who is in really good physical shape and does not have any leg pain from the herniated disk?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      January 1, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for your question Mary. Any time you have any injury of the spine your back becomes weaker as you don’t use it as much and you protect yourself. The exercises are very helpful for people with back pain and for some people with leg pain. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your daughter’s herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    December 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Hi DR Ken,
    Just want to ask the picture of the girl doing cobra exercises to put above shown her hand position placed under ribs in order to achieve that kind of level height when she pushed. Here hip flexor didn’t touch the floor anymore. Is that the right technique? Because it’s different than your step by step explanation, stated to put the palms shoulder position or chest, but in order to achieve higher each repetition hand position need t to move lower to the ribs like shown your picture.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 31, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks for your question. Yes you do make a great point. I couldn’t find a picture that was appropriate. There are no McKenzie Exercises pictures available but there are a lot of Yoga exercise pictures available on the photo gallery sites.

      Just go by the step by step explanation, the picture was meant to be a guide. Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    December 27, 2016 at 7:24 am

    What’s your view on acupuncture for herniated disc?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Acupuncture for herniated discs can be very helpful. It can make some people better but it will do nothing for others and it will make some worse.

      It depends on the type of disc, the state of the disc and most importantly the acupuncturist.

  • Ras says:
    December 25, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Dr Ken
    I just been massage by chronic pain specialist that said my right back muscle, piriformis and hamstring are tight. He recommended me to stretch my hamstring. Is hamstring stretching is recommended for herniated disc?
    By the way i don’t feel better after the massage. The massaged leg, the right one actually more sore now. But he didn’t touch my joints or spine.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Ras, a chronic pain specialist is a medical doctor in North America. They don’t massage do massage. Also, you always have to take care of the lower back before taking care of the leg pain. Often you don’t need to touch the leg as the back treatments help the leg pain. Doesn’t sound like a pain specialist to me, sounds like a self-proclaimed “chronic pain specialist”.

      • Ras says:
        December 26, 2016 at 6:53 am

        Very true. Thanks so much Doc

      • Ras says:
        December 26, 2016 at 7:02 am

        Now after the”massage”, i feel my right leg start having itchy sensation like ants crawling on the skin feeling, especially sitting and standing. I diligently continue cobra and your exercises and today is better than yesterday. I live in East timor they’re isn’t any physiotherapist and chiropractor here.

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          December 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm

          Ras try and go further each time with the cobra. So each repetition you must go further. Hope that helps your herniated disc. Remember what I am telling you all the time is an opinion based just on what you tell me not on an exam.

          • Ras says:
            December 27, 2016 at 6:52 am

            Definitely. Nothing beat real face to face exam but in a third world country where even running water don’t exist in hospital, your reply is life saving. You have no idea. Can’t thank you enough. And sorry for asking to much questions and taking to much space in website.

          • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
            December 31, 2016 at 7:37 pm

            You are welcome Ras.

  • Ras says:
    December 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Dr Ken,
    Is bridge exercise bad for herniated disc?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 24, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Bridge exercises are fine for a herniated disc.

  • Ras says:
    December 23, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Merry Christmas to you Dr Ken, thank you so much for your help so far. You have touch many lives.

  • Ras says:
    December 20, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Dr. Ken
    I just want to know how many types of manipulation for herniated disc? And how many times usually manipulations performed to a herniated disc patient?
    I saw on YouTube manipulation for l4 l5, it’s fast and quick, not massage like.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 20, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks for your question Ras. There are many types of manipulation for a herniated disc. I can think of 8 types off the top of my head that I use. Some will make you worse and some will make you better. The chiropractor has to know from your history and exam what will make you better otherwise you have more of a chance to get worse. The number of times depends on how severe the problem is. If it’s too severe manipulations are not appropriate.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

      • Ras says:
        December 21, 2016 at 10:25 am

        Thank you for you help so far. I’ve been visiting your website for many years. You are a great man.
        What’s the criteria for herniated disc to go for surgery option?

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          December 24, 2016 at 11:13 pm

          Thanks for your question Ras. Criteria for surgery for a herniated disc are:
          1. You have trouble starting urination. Bowel incontinence.
          2. Progressing neurological problems. eg. drop foot that is continuing to get worse (progressing).
          3. Conservative treatment where you have tried at least 12 weeks trying a number of different methods. The vast majority of people don’t need surgery.

          Especially and India and US there are a lot of unnecessary surgeries for the lower back. There are some government articles and a Washington Post Investigative Report to confirm this fact.(for the US)

  • Colleen Huber, NMD says:
    December 18, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Dr. Nakamura, you are a Godsend!! Last Sunday, I was suddenly in severe pain trying to stand or sit, almost disabled that day, moving very slowly and in considerable pain. I am a physician, and self diagnosed herniated lumbar disc, so did a search and found your article. Because of what you wrote, that same afternoon I was 30% better, the next morning 75% better, and now a week later, I feel 100% better! I modified your cobra pose for ease of doing them frequently at work: Lean forward against a wall or heavy furniture. Push the hips far forward while keeping the arms straight. I did them every two hours as you said then started slacking off when feeling so much better.
    I am very grateful to you, Doctor, and I hope you have the most wonderful holiday season and an even better 2017.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 19, 2016 at 4:44 am

      Thanks for your great comments Dr Huber. I’m glad you were able to improvise and think of a way to accomplish the same thing in a different way.

      Glad your herniated is treating you better.

  • Kyle says:
    December 17, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Hi Dr. Nakamura,

    Im 27 years old and Ive had lower back pain on and off for about 8 months. For months it can be fine and then maybe I bend over in a weird way and I’m right back to where I started and it takes me a couple weeks to get better. I had an MRI done and saw a spine specialist a couple days ago and you can see in the MRI that I have a couple herniated discs. I was also diagnosed with degenerative disc disease since both of the herniated discs looked a little gray and flat. I got my first epidural steroid injection today and now I’m trying to figure out what the next step would be. I exercise almost everyday and I live a very healthy lifestyle. I don’t want this to cripple me for the rest of my life. Is it possible to prevent these herniated disc from coming back with specific daily exercises? If I’m strict enough is it possible for my 2 discs to become healthy again or is this something I’m going to struggle with for the rest of my life?

    Thanks

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for your question Kyle. While you can’t prevent the back pain from ever coming back you can do three things to help.
      1. Great posture helps prevent your pain from coming back.
      2. Interrupt your posture: Get up every 2 hours from your sitting position.
      3. Doing the exercises that was given to you by your chiropractor or physiotherapist. If you haven’t gone to a chiropractor you can do these exercises in this article, but these are not customised to you so there is a possibility you will get worse. Just like I have numerous people get worse at the gym or going to Yoga class.

      This is a opinion and not a recommendation.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Yadula Chodankar says:
    December 14, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Hi,

    I have nerve irritation most of the time when I sit or try to bend. Bending is worse. It flared up 3 years ago and has gotten worse. MRI report saysL4-L5 / L5-S1 herniation. Can I still swim ? I read that doing breast stoke is bad for herniated disks in lower back. Can I do free style and back stroke ? I want to try everything I can. I always stretch using exercises you mentioned.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks for your question Yadula. Assuming that the disc herniation diagnosis is correct you can swim. Breast stroke is fine for most disc herniations with the exception of unusual types of disc herniations.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc. This is a opinion and not a recommendation.

      • Yadula Chodankar says:
        December 16, 2016 at 4:29 am

        Thank you.

  • Ras says:
    December 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Why leg lifting exercise is not recommended for herniated disc?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 14, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks for your question Ras. For most types of disc herniations but not all of them, the disc will come out with the leg lifting exercise.

  • Ras says:
    December 9, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Is it true that the longer time herniated disc require longer rehab exercise time?
    Because my first herniation the leg pain went away after 1 week cobra exercise, my second pinch nerve leg pain lasted a year because at the same time i got kidney stone thats why i can’t do any exercises for almost a year until the stone is resolved, then i start exercises above for 2 months now, the leg pain changed into hip buttock pain and then change into mild leg pain again.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 14, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for your question Ras.
      A: Generally yes but not always so.
      B: Sound like you are still better but aggravated the problem.

      Hope that helps your disc herniation.

      • Ras says:
        December 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

        Thanks for the reply.
        But i don’t fully understand the second answer. Can you define more?

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          December 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

          Ras, I am saying that you are better than when you started out despite the set-back.

          • Ras says:
            December 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

            Thanks so much. That’s a great news! I just continue with the exercises you recommended above. I may not even need manipulation. Thx

          • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
            December 15, 2016 at 9:16 pm

            You are welcome Ras. Remember, this is my opinion, not a recommendation.

  • Ras says:
    December 7, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I also can feel the pain in the leg increase when I’m holding and reading my phone with my hand to my face standing. Is that part of low back herniated disc? Maybe the posture?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 7, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Thanks for your question Ras. You can get pain in any position with a disc herniation, even lying down. The position that you feel the pain and the examination tells me which way the disc is going out. Do you also get pain while sitting and bending forward?

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

      • Ras says:
        December 8, 2016 at 7:15 am

        Thx for reply. Yes i feel increase pain in my right leg bending forward, slouching, sitting down long time and hunching my back.i felt better after cobra, or just straighten my standing posture. I am an avid cyclist before.

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          December 14, 2016 at 9:38 am

          So you should do the exercises as I have explained below then.

          Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Gee says:
    December 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Which one better to consult, physiotherapist or chiropractor for herniated disc?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

      I do have a bias towards chiropractors as I am a chiropractor but having said that it really depends on the individual. Do they keep up with reading, continuing education. What are their priorities? Business or the patient? There are great chiropractors and great physiotherapists as well as bad chiropractors and bad physiotherapists.

  • rad says:
    December 4, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Can chiropractic manipulation push the disc bulge back in? How effective is it compare to cobra exercises? Dealing with disc herniation pinch nerve l4 l5 is it better to see physiotherapist or chiropractor?
    Thx

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      December 6, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks for your question Rad. Yes, chiropractic manipulation can push the disc back in. It’s definitely more effective than the cobra exercise. Both chiropractors and physiotherapists are effective but it really comes down to the individual not so much the profession. In Canada, chiropractors get 4 years education after graduating from University while physiotherapists get 2 years education after university.

      • Ras says:
        December 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Thank you for reply. I been doing cobra exercises for two months now and there is progress but slow, so I’m looking for alternative. Definitely will look for manipulation.
        Can cobra exercises alone given time without manipulation can push back the disc bulge?

        • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
          December 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm

          Thanks for your question Ras. Your name doesn’t come up as a person I have answered to. You must have changed your email and your name as it does not show up. Nevertheless, most people don’t do the “cobra” properly which is really called “extension in lying”. Even when explained and shown most people do it wrong. They may do the exercise correctly at the time, then go home and change it a little bit to make it easier. Most people don’t go as far as they can go. Some people can go a lot further than straightening out their elbow but they stop there. The point is to go further with each time you go up. If that doesn’t work then you can try manipulation. Chiropractors are the one to go to for manipulation as they are trained for far longer in manipulation. Four years for a chiropractor while physiotherapists in Canada graduate then do manipulation courses as an add on.

          That should answer your question about exercises for herniated discs.

          • Ras says:
            December 7, 2016 at 7:56 am

            Sorry about that, I’m still the same person. Thanks so much for replying.
            But how do we know the safe limit of pushing furthest with the cobra exercises? What is the signs that we reach the limit?

          • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
            December 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

            Thanks for your question Ras. You know you have gone too far or it’s the wrong exercise if you do the exercise and your pain, numbness or tingling goes further down the leg. This is an opinion and not a recommendation.

            Hope that helps your herniated disc.

  • Martha says:
    November 18, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Dr. Ken: I have a very bad sciatica pain on my right leg, please let me know what to do I’m including MRI results:
    MR LUMBAR SPINE, WITHOUT CONTRAST
    Findings: There is mild/moderate motion artifact, particularly on axial
    images. There is mild retrolisthesis at L4-5, otherwise lumbar alignment is
    normal. At L5-S1, there is moderate/severe facet DJD, and there is a mild
    right paracentral disc herniation with inferior migration causing mass
    effect on the proximal right S1 nerve root. At L4-5, there is mild/moderate
    facet DJD, a mild broad-based disc bulge and central annular tear, and
    mild bilateral lateral recess narrowing. At L3-4, there is a slight disc
    bulge without significant mass effect. There is no other evidence of lumbar
    HNP, spinal stenosis, neural foraminal narrowing, or conus abnormality.
    There is mild heterogeneity of marrow signal, with benign hemangiomas at
    multiple vertebral bodies, and a chronic benign Schmorl’s node at the L2
    superior endplate. No significant focal bone lesions are seen.
    Impression
    Impression:
    1. Mild/moderate motion artifact.
    2. L5-S1 moderate/severe facet DJD, and mild right paracentral disc
    herniation causing mass effect on the proximal right S1 nerve root.
    3. L4-5 mild/moderate facet DJD, mild retrolisthesis, mild broad-based disc
    bulge and central annular tear, and mild bilateral lateral recess
    narrowing.
    I do the exercises you recommend every day, Thank you so much for your help.

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      November 19, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for your question Martha. You should tell me in detail what makes you worse and better like standing, sitting, walking lying down, time of day, etc..

      Hope that helps your possible disc herniation.

      • Martha says:
        November 28, 2016 at 12:17 am

        Dr Ken thanks for responding, I’m 58 years old, I have this pain 6 months ago; the pain is worst on the sitting position, and when I’m doing the exercises laying on my back and I raise the pelvis, but I’m doing the exercises every day, not so many repetitions, but I’m scared of surgery. I love your website.

  • sandy says:
    November 2, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Can I do the Cobra exercise the very first thing in the morning when I wake up on my bed?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      November 8, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks for your question Sandy. I usually recommend people do the Cobra right in bed in the morning.

      Hope that helps your herniated disc.

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