Everyday Activities That Can Worsen Disc Herniation

Disc herniation is a popular back complication that can cause painful symptoms, including neck and low back pain. However, with medical experts such as spine and orthopedic surgeon Jocelyn Idema, D.O., a Pittsburgh disc herniation specialist, you can manage the complication. While you can start to feel better, several daily activities can inflame and worsen your symptoms or cause a recurrence of the condition. Some of these activities are outlined below:

Spending Too Much Time While Sitting

Sitting is a common way most people spend their day; however, it puts stress on the spinal discs, particularly when you are slouching forward in your seat. If your occupation allows you to spend much of your time sitting down, it is advisable to take short breaks, walk around, or lie down if possible. Sitting can be unavoidable, which is why it is good to learn some healthy sitting tips; including:

  • Utilizing a pillow to aid your lower back.
  • Sitting up straight with shoulders rolled backward.
  • Keeping thighs horizontal with the floor.


While you are doing laundry, you bend down to pick up clothes, carry a heavy basket, and stretch to reach various items. All these activities can be repetitive and put your lower back under too much pressure. If you must do the laundry yourself, ensure you don’t pile up too many clothes to clean at once; try cleaning smaller loads as soon as you can. Even asking someone to help out so you do not have to do all the repetitive work independently, such as dry cleaners, who offer regular laundry services.

Strenuous Exercises

Although exercises should be on your regular schedule, you should ensure you stick to healthy exercises advised by your doctor. This is a result of wanting to achieve a certain body type, health goals, or engaging in high-impact activities, thinking it will work faster. While it may work faster, you put too much stress on your spinal discs. Consult your doctor to guarantee that the exercises you are doing are healthy and help you recover rather than make your symptoms worse.


As you vacuum your floor, you engage in a repetitive forward-lunging motion, which can irritate your herniated disc. However, you can avoid this by keeping your back straight and walking your vacuum across the floor instead of extending your arm and bending your back. Let your legs do the work rather than your arms. Consider buying a robotic vacuum cleaner that you just pre-set and forget.


Gardening involves heavy lifting, forward bending, and twisting, all of which can aggravate your disc pain. Avoid repetitive stooping and bending by holding one position, changing only your posture. This happens with snow shoveling too, we recommend using a snowblower or asking for help from a neighbor. After receiving treatment, it is best if you give yourself enough time to heal completely before engaging in such activities. Consult your doctor on your recovery duration.

These activities are both common and important, but at the same time can worsen disc herniation. Therefore, it is good to avoid them or seek help when possible. Your provider can help you learn how to return to your activities after treatment gradually.

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