Preventing Herniated Discs: Mindful Daily Activities

by Johnny Jacks

Herniated discs are a common condition, especially among working-age individuals. They account for a significant portion of spinal disorders. To prevent herniated discs, it’s crucial to be mindful of your daily activities.

To prevent herniated discs, avoid excessive sitting

Lower back pain due to a herniated disc can range from mild discomfort to radiating leg pain. While most herniated discs improve within a few weeks, certain everyday activities can exacerbate the condition. Here are some activities to be cautious about:

  • Avoid Excessive Sitting: Prolonged sitting, especially in a slouched posture, can increase pressure on spinal discs, potentially worsening herniated disc pain. To alleviate lower back pain, try to stand up, move around, or lie down whenever possible.
  • Maintain Proper Sitting Posture: When sitting is necessary, maintain good posture to minimize strain on your spine. Sit upright, roll your shoulders back, and engage your shoulder blades. Ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor, with hips not lower than your knees. Placing a small pillow or rolled-up towel behind your lower back can provide additional lumbar support.
  • Take Frequent Breaks: If your occupation requires extended periods of desk or computer work, consider setting reminders on your phone to take breaks and walk around. These short breaks can help alleviate pressure on your lower back.
  • Consider a Sit-Stand Desk: If your job involves prolonged sitting, a sit-stand desk can be a beneficial investment. It allows you to alternate between sitting and standing, reducing stress on your lower back.
Sitting excessively, especially among office workers

Sitting excessively, especially among office workers.

Be Mindful of Your Actions to Prevent Herniated Discs

When doing household chores, like laundry, it’s crucial to be cautious to avoid straining your lower back. Bending down to pick up clothes, carrying heavy baskets, and reaching for loads of laundry can put your lower back at risk of pain. If you hand wash your clothes, consider asking a friend or family member for assistance until your back improves. Alternatively, you can opt to use a washing machine or visit a laundromat.

Washing by hand or carrying a heavy basket can exacerbate your back pain.

Washing by hand or carrying a heavy basket can exacerbate your back pain.


The repetitive forward-bending motion typically used while vacuuming can potentially aggravate herniated discs. Instead of extending your arms and arching your back, maintain a straight back and keep the vacuum cleaner closer to the floor. You can use your supporting leg to push the vacuum instead of relying solely on your arm. Another option is investing in an automatic vacuum cleaner that can handle this task for you. With such a device, you can simply place it on the floor and let it do the work, reducing the need for constant movement as with a handheld vacuum cleaner.

Using a robot vacuum helps you avoid bending over, which can cause back pain.

Using a robot vacuum helps you avoid bending over, which can cause back pain.

Feeding Pets

Feeding your pets may seem like a straightforward task, but leaning over to fill their food and water bowls can cause discomfort in your herniated discs. If you don’t have someone to assist you, consider using a specialized pet bowl equipped with a funnel-like tube for pouring food. When you need to bend down, try extending one leg backward, similar to how a golfer picks up a ball, to keep your spine straight and alleviate pressure on your lower back.

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Intense Exercise

While staying active through exercise is still recommended, it’s important to steer clear of high-impact activities or movements that place excessive stress on your spinal discs.

Avoid activities that consistently strain your lower back, such as jogging or jump rope. Refrain from exercises like squats and leg presses. Steer clear of exercises like heel touches, sit-ups, and yoga poses that involve arching your back, as they can exacerbate the pain.

Instead, consider low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking. Utilizing a stationary bike is also a good option while you allow your herniated discs to heal. Aerobic exercises like swimming and walking enhance blood flow, nutrient delivery, and oxygen supply to the soft tissues of the back, potentially expediting the healing process and reducing pain. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist for approved strengthening exercises that may be beneficial.

Walking is good for the body.

Walking is good for the body.

Low-impact exercises are typically gentle and can be performed regularly. Walking, for instance, is a popular choice that not only strengthens the spine and its supporting muscles but also encourages proper posture and flexibility.

If these exercises fail to provide relief, consider hydrotherapy, such as swimming in a pool. Water’s buoyancy reduces joint stress and can alleviate pain during movement. Water-based exercises have been shown to enhance lower back function.


Gardening activities often involve lifting heavy objects, bending forward, and twisting, all of which can strain your discs and exacerbate pain. To minimize the risk of pain or injury, try to avoid repeated stooping and bending. Instead, aim to maintain one position for a longer period and periodically change positions. If you do experience back pain, give your body the rest it needs to allow your herniated discs time to recover.

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It’s crucial to prioritize good posture and proper support to reduce pressure on your discs and spinal nerves. If your back pain persists despite these precautions, consult a medical professional for a more permanent solution.

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