Spinal twists for herniated discs

You are twisting wrong.

Why this matters:

A common exercise seen in sciatica rehab programs is a spinal twist. Imagine laying on your back, feet flat on the floor, arms stretched out… and you’re rotating your legs side to side (so you’re twisting at the back). The people prescribing this exercise say that it is helpful for sciatica and a herniated disc, but your pain won’t go away. What gives?

Is the exercise a bad one? Are you just destined to be in pain forever?

Absolutely not.

The key is finding the direction of twisting that brings your pain down, or makes it feel better. I don’t usually recommend twisting to both sides. It gives us incorrect information. That’s why I suggest trying one direction at a time and seeing how it makes you feel.

Action steps:Try this spinal twist. You start on your side, and rotate starting at your shoulder blades, try out 1-10 repetitions. If you find that laying on the painful side and twisting away helps, then your pain is most likely caused by disc issues.  If you find that laying on the non painful side brings you relief, you might be dealing with some arthritis that can pinch the nerve. If twisting doesn’t feel good either way, then this means twisting is not meant for you.


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