What a Disc Herniation Means and 3 Types of Herniated Disc Exercises You Can Easily Do At Home

A herniated disc is possibly one of the worst musculoskeletal injuries you could experience. The pain associated with a herniated disc is oftentimes very severe and almost unbearable. Treatment protocols vary depending on the severity of the herniation, but sometimes they require surgery. No matter what treatment protocol you are on as a patient, exercises will always be crucial in the full recovery. In this article, we are going to go over what a disc is and discuss 3 types of herniated disc exercises.

The Jelly Donut Analogy

The best way to understand what a disc looks like is to imagine a jelly donut. The donut protects the jelly within. Your disc is design similarly. The outer structure of the disc houses a gelatinous material within. A disc herniation refers to a breakthrough of that “jelly” through the “donut”. When the material inside comes out of the disc and pushes against the nerves along your spine, this causes what we call “nerve irritation”. This is the cause of all the inflammation and pain the body feels.

woman stretching armsThe remedies for a disc herniation sometimes require intense surgery. The main theme of the disc herniation rehabilitation is doing the correct directional exercises. In order to stop the inflammation production we have to show our bodies we are healing by moving the disc material away from the nerves it is irritating. We always recommend meeting closely with your musculoskeletal physician to discover the directional preference of your injury.


The “cervical” region of your spine refers to your neck. A herniated disc in this region can be especially painful as a common symptom is a radiating headache. The pain from a herniated disc in the cervical region is even known to have pain that radiates into your arms. The road to a pain-free life is built upon daily stretches and exercises. Here are some easy exercises for herniated discs in the cervical region of the spine.


The “thoracic” region of your spine refers to your upper and mid-back. A herniated disc in this region is the least common because the ribcage stabilizes this area. Although it is rare, it still happens. Pain from a herniated disc in this region can radiate to your chest and even cause pain during breathing. Here are some easy exercises for herniated discs in the thoracic region of the spine.


The “lumbar” region of your spine refers to your lower back. This is the most common region to experience a herniated disc, specifically L5-S1. A herniated disc in the lumbar region can be particularly debilitating due to the human need to bend and sit. If you have ever had lower back pain you can only imagine how painful it would be to have a herniated disc in this area. Here are some easy exercises for herniated discs in the lumbar region of the spine as well as the links to the foam roller and back support pillow used in the video.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the discomfort of a herniated disc, we urge you to contact your musculoskeletal physician today. We hope these exercises were helpful for your pain-relieving routine. As always, feel free to contact us here at Underwood Healthcare with any questions or inquiries to schedule an appointment. 

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