Yoga therapy for herniated discs

If you’ve ever had a herniated or slipped disc, you know how excruciating this kind of lower back pain can be. With shooting pain down your leg, this crippling pain can put you out of action for at least a few weeks. In the best possible scenario, a slipped disc is diagnosed early and you learn which movements exacerbate the condition and which can heal the spine. On the other hand, if you don’t change your movement habits, you may suffer long-term pain and eventually further deterioration of the spine. Physiotherapists, osteopaths or chiropractors offer different treatments, with varying results. This blog discusses the intervention by yoga therapy. Yoga therapy for herniated discs can teach you which movements to avoid and which practices are suitable for each stage of the recovery. It also includes relaxation and breathing techniques, which are important to help you deal with the stress that this condition causes.

What is a slipped disc and how is it related to sciatica?

A slipped or herniated disc, and the often resulting sciatica, is a very painful condition that is most common in adults between 25 and 55 years old. The causes include genetic disposition, sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, stress and vigorous physical activities. The latter can be especially treacherous when infrequent and combined with a sedentary lifestyle. Anatomically, a herniated disk is an intervertebral disk in which the outer ring of cartilage has ruptured, allowing the inner contents of thick gel to bulge out. This happens most commonly in the lower back or neck.  If the bulging disc presses on the root of a nearby nerve, it causes pain that can feel like a sharp electric shock along the nerve route. This kind of nerve pain is called sciatica. It is felt in the back of the leg when the disk herniates between the vertebrae towards the bottom of the spine.

A slipped (or herniated) disc needs 6 to 12 months to heal completely. During this time it is essential to avoid any activity that puts strain on the disc. This would include lifting, slouching, long sitting and strong forward bending. Subscribing to this blog will give you a guide with free advice about posture and how to lift safely. Avoiding certain positions and movements is hardest once the pain has left. To be pain-free is such a relief after a few months of pain. However, it is very important to remain vigilant for a few more months to prevent a relapse.

Yoga Therapy for herniated discs

Few people know how effective tailored yoga therapy can be for a herniated/slipped disc. A carefully selected set of yoga poses can aid the recovery. Going to a regular yoga class, on the other hand, would make the condition worse. This isn’t to say that a general yoga class always exacerbates back pain. In the case of a slipped disc it most certainly would, because too many yoga poses are counter-indicated. The right yoga practices, however, will speed up the healing process.

My teacher Dr. Robin Monro worked tirelessly for years to research the effectiveness of yoga therapy for lower back pain and herniated discs. I would never have had the confidence to work with my back pain students without his guidance and experience. Yoga therapy differs depending on your back condition and stage of recovery. It is therefore important to be taught by a qualified yoga therapist specialised in back pain. To learn how you can work with me, contact me here and book a free consultation call:

Symptoms of a herniated Disc

A herniated disk is visible on an MRI scan. Unfortunately, most doctors do not prescribe one when you come into the surgery with newly developed back pain. They only carry out a full assessment with an MRI if the condition persists in a severe form. You may have a herniated disc if you combine several of the following:

-You are between 25 and 55 years old.

-The back pain started suddenly.

-You feel shooting pain going down your leg, or a “zinging” sensation down the leg.

-You feel reduced sensation, tingling and weakness in the leg.

-The pain increases when you twist or bend forward or sit for a long time.

Movements and positions to avoid



-Forward bends of any kind

-Rotations of the spine

-Lateral stretches of the spine

If you would like support to recover from a herniated disc, my back care package can teach you how best to heal your spine. It also helps you to improve your posture, strengthen abdominal muscles, optimise the breath, de-stress and more. Contact me here for a free consultation call:

If you would like to get free tips about how to keep your back healthy, do subscribe to this blog to get your free guide. The guide demonstrates the safest ways to lift, put shoes on, sit, work in the kitchen etc.


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