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A slipped disc can be very painful and there is no quick fix for this back condition. Exercise can be the best way to manage pain and recovery. We'll explain the do's and don'ts of working out with a slipped disc.

If you have have been diagnosed with slipped disc, never do this

  • Bend forward to reach your toes: whether sitting or standing, do not bend over forward. This creates a Flexing motion of the spine, like a hunched back. You're better off keeping the spine straight, and avoiding stretches and exercises which cause you to reach for your toes.

  • Perform sit ups or crunches for the abs: there are lots of ways you can strengthen your abs, and this is not one of them! This creates the same spine flexion we mentioned before.

  • Bend over to pick up heavy weights: especially in the few weeks right after your injury, avoid bending to pick up heavy things. Reach for weights that are near or at your height, or start off with exercise machines which have seats, cables and handles, so you don't have to lift and place weights at all.

  • Push it until you really “feel” your workout. You don't need to kill yourself working out! Do a little each day, and be aware of your limits. More today will not improve your condition faster; put in your effort little by little each day, remembering that slow and steady wins the race!

But definitely do this:

  • Keep moving: don't be too shy to keep moving about.

  • Manage your pain: take painkillers steadily, as prescribed by your doctor. This helps to keep some of the pain at bay. The most common are acetaminophen, ibuprofen and back relaxants (usually used for stiff or pulled muscles). You'll also be able to move a little easier, which is just what you'll need for exercise!

  • Take regular walks: get out into the fresh air and start walking. First thing in the morning or after dinner gives most people a great boost of energy. In addition, walking helps to loosen up your back, and to relax your mind, as well. Walk with good posture, keep your shoulders back, chest up and engage your abdominal muscles!

  • Stretch: take a yoga or pilates class to help you loosed up a little and stretch out your muscles and joints. Stretching is an important part of every workout. Spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching after (not before) you exercise. Back extensions are highly recommended; these are the opposite of flexion. Try the Mckenzie stretch by lying on the floor face down, placing your palms on the floor under your shoulders and pressing your upper body upwards while relaxing your torso and legs.

  • Strengthen the core: there are many exercises you can do for the core: the plank, leg raises, reverse crunches, and more. Strengthening the core should make up the bulk of your workout. You can do exercises which engage many muscles at the same time, like Walking Overhead Lunges using light dumbbells, or hanging leg raises.

Having a stronger and more supple body will help to treat your slipped disc, and help to prevent it from ever occurring again. If left untreated, the likelihood of re-occurrence is greatly increased, so be sure to commit to a plan you can really stick to in the long-run!