Does Running Help Herniated Disc

As a dedicated runner who has dealt with a herniated disc, I understand the concerns and questions surrounding this topic. Running can be both a passion and a form of exercise that brings joy and fulfillment, but it’s important to consider its effects on a herniated disc. Let’s dive into the question: Does running help herniated disc?

Understanding Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the soft inner core of the spinal disc pushes through the tougher outer core. This can lead to pain, numbness, or weakness in the back, legs, or arms. It’s crucial to take into account the impact of high-impact activities such as running on this condition.

Benefits of Running for Herniated Disc

Surprisingly, in some cases, running can actually be beneficial for individuals with a herniated disc. Proper running technique and posture can strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, leading to improved stability and reduced pressure on the affected area. Additionally, running can promote overall cardiovascular fitness and endorphin release, which can contribute to a better pain management strategy.

Considerations and Precautions

Before lacing up those running shoes, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physiotherapist or orthopedic specialist. They can provide personalized guidance based on the severity and location of the herniated disc. It’s important to start gradually and listen to your body, adjusting the intensity and duration of your runs accordingly. Engaging in proper warm-up and cool-down routines, as well as incorporating core-strengthening exercises, can also play a pivotal role in maintaining spinal health while running.

Alternative Exercises

If running exacerbates the symptoms of a herniated disc, there are various low-impact exercises that can still provide the cardiovascular and muscular benefits without the impact on the spine. These may include swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine. Cross-training with these activities can help maintain fitness levels while giving the spine the rest it needs to heal and recover.


In my personal journey, I’ve found that running can be a part of a balanced approach to managing a herniated disc, but it’s essential to proceed with caution and seek professional guidance. Every individual’s situation is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Ultimately, the goal should be to maintain overall health and wellbeing while minimizing the impact on the herniated disc.