How to Fix a Bulging Disc (NO SURGERY!)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I want to show you what to do for that
herniated disc. The bulging disc in your low back that I think
– probably 99% of the world has been diagnosed with. I’m going to show you how to fix it without
ever having to go under the knife, and I’ve actually got Jessie here because Jessie walked
into my office one day at 22, I think. JESSIE: Yeah. JEFF: 22 years old and he said “I can’t believe
it. I had an MRI. I’ve got a bulging disc in my low back and
I need to have surgery.” I said “Dude, you don’t need to have surgery.” Because what I’m going to show you here today
is going to do exactly what I showed Jessie, and it’s going to help you get rid of this
things once, and for all. So what are we talking about, first of all,
with a bulging disc? When we look at a bulging disc there are three
different terms that people use. There’s ‘herniated disc’, ‘bulging disc’,
and then a ‘ruptured disc’. A ruptured disc is a different scenario. A ruptured disc is when this disc here, that’s
in between your vertebra basically explodes. It’s not fixable without surgery. But that’s a very small percentage, and that
usually happens in a very traumatic incident. What we’re talking about more often is this. This is a bulging disc. A herniated disc. The disc starts to protrude out the back. This is what this red area is. A lot of times you can be diagnosed with a
bulging disc because an MRI tells you that you have a bulging disc, but you don’t have
any symptoms. The symptoms might either not be present,
or come and go based on whether or not that disc is actually touching the nerve. If it’s not touching the nerve, or making
contact – in this case, it’s not – you wouldn’t have any problems with that. If the nerve touches that disc, though you
start to feel the pain, and the tingling, and the sensation down that distribution of
the nerve root. So it could be in the front of your thigh,
if it’s an L4, or L5. It could be more in the back of your leg if
it’s more of a L5-S1. So it depends on what level, and what nerve
you’re touching. Now, here’s the thing you don’t want to
do – and what I told Jessie not to do, because he was like “Dude, I’ve just been doing these
stretches, and I think that’s what I’m going to have to do to start off.” I said “No. Don’t do back stretches if you have a lumbar
disc.” If you start doing the things that Jessie
is doing right here, you’re going to make the condition worse. A lot of people will prescribe these for you,
and that’s not what you want to do because flexing the spine, bending it, pulling one
leg to the chest, pulling both legs to the chest; that’s flexing the spine, and that
makes the disc protrude even more. So why do people tell you to do it? Because, if you look here at the spine, the
muscles the run up and down, these basically get tight from the spasm of trying to protect
against the disc. So you might stretch and feel a temporary
relief, but you’re not doing anything to fix the long term cause, which is the disc underneath,
but you are actually making it worse. So instead, what you want to do is the same
two, or three step plan that I gave Jessie. And it starts right here at the bar. The first thing, if you’re going to fix this
disc because you’re going to want to extend, and not flex. But before you do that you’ve got to fix a
couple of things. You’ll want to decompress your spine. I know people use inversion tables and all
that. If you don’t have access to one you really
don’t need one. All you need is a pullup bar. So, as I have Jessie, the first thing I tell
him to do is grab the bar. Then just don’t hang with your feet off
the floor, like he’s doing here. Put your toes down if you can. If this is too high because you’re too short
you can always setup a bar and a squat rack at a high that you can still touch your feet
to the ground. But the touching of the feet to the ground
is really, really important because it allows you to decompress, and drop your pelvis. So as I reach up here, I’ve got a hold, but
if I’m holding up here, I’m actually restricting. I’m using muscles and my hip flexors to hold
me up. But as soon as I let my toes touch, now I
feel like I can kind of release. What I’ve done here is, I’ve dropped my pelvis,
and I’m obviously keeping my spine elongated so I have some space here in the spine. We want to try and create, at least, a little
bit of room so if that disc is touching one of the nerve we can let it off. The next thing we have to do is, we either
go to step three, or if you’re doing this – that’s called a list – and we need to
correct that first because step three won’t work unless you’ve fixed step two. So are you doing this? Are you leaning away from the pain? Meaning; if the pain is going down your left
leg are you leaning over here – my left leg – are you leaning over here, in this
direction, away from the pain? You can easily see that in the mirror. Have somebody tell you if you are. If you are, then let’s go over to the wall
and fix that first. Okay, so to fix that list, remember, if you’re
doing this because you’re trying to get away from the pain, then we’ve got to fix it here,
against the wall. So what you do is, you’ll use the wall to
your advantage. If I’m leaning this way I get myself over
here into the wall, and I put my feet further away from the wall. From here. So now I can take my hand on the outside,
and I can start to push in this direction, toward the wall. What I’m trying to do is get my hips and my
shoulders to be level again. What that’s actually doing is helping to centralize
that disc because we don’t want to start trying to go into extension in step three
if we haven’t centralized the disc. Right now it’s over here, and I’m trying to
lean away from it. So if we could do this without pain, then
we’re in a good position. You do this about 10 times. 10, or 12 times. If you find that you’re running out of room,
and it feels even better the further you go, you can always take a medicine ball, or a
pillow, or a sweatshirt, or something, and you lean into it this way. So I’ve got my lean here, and my feet are
over here, but now you can see I’ve actually gotten more range of motion that I could drive
my hips through. So it’s an overcorrection. A lot of times the overcorrections are necessary. So now, we’ve done the decompression, we’ve
recentralized – if the list is necessary. If you’re standing nice, and tall you don’t
necessarily need that, and you go right to step three, which is going to be down here
on the floor. All right, guys. So we’re almost there. This is the last step and what you do is,
you want to get yourself down on the ground, and we’re going to extend. We’ve fixed the list, we’ve decompressed,
and we’re in a good spot to actually do this thing, and do it once, and for all. So you’re going to take your hands, put them
flat down, under your shoulders, but don’t get lazy about what’s happening below the
waist because that matters, too. Put your feet together, contract your glutes
together, get nice, and tight from below, take your hands here, and you’re going to
start to press up. You press up only as far as you can go because
you can over extend. If I start to lift my hips off the ground
here, I’m not extending anymore at my low back. I’m just pushing up with my hips, and that’s
what we don’t want. So you only go so far as your hips will stay
in contact with the ground, and that’s it. You hang out here for about 15, or 20 seconds. Then you lower yourself back down. Re-contract. You can see Jessie doing the same thing here. As he’s pushing up he’s trying to make sure
everything stays in contact with the ground. That was my one, main instruction for him,
and to go for a little bit more extension each time he did it. He would find that each rep he’d get a little
bit higher, and a little bit higher. If you can’t – let’s say you’re in a really
bad spot, and it’s really hurting you. You can actually just get yourself in this
position, right here, which is enough extension as it is, and you can watch TV for about 10
minutes, or so, if you can tolerate it. Just to try to get more of that extension
in place, and start to recapture that disc. The good thing is, guys, that disc – 98%
of the time – will be able to be recentralize, and recapture, and once it does, and it gets
off that nerve root, you’re not going to have the problems. You’re going to go back to lifting, and doing
the right things inside the gym without being derailed by your disc pain. So now, the last thing you can do if you had
to is, during the day you might not be able to lie on the ground. So you could do this standing. What you want to do here is just hook your
hands – I talked about it in a previous video, these two bumps right here on your
pelvis. You just want to get one hand on top on side,
and one hand on top on the other side, hook them, and just push forward with the palms
of your hands, and then lean back. Same thing though. If you have to decompress first, you decompress. If you have to do the list thing against the
wall, you do the list. But then you just lean back and you’re creating
extension this way – which is kind of a portable way to do it because you can do that
anywhere. Guys, disc problems are very common problems. Like I’ve said, if almost all of us were MRI’d,
we’d have some sort of a disc problem. But that doesn’t mean it’s a problem for you. If it is symptomatic, then there are ways
to fix it. You don’t need to rush yourself into surgery. Jessie’s now been a year and a half, or two
years since he’s had any pain at all. He’s been deadlifting, he’s been squatting,
he’s been doing a lot of things to help keep it nice, and strong. We’ll cover that in a future video, too. In the meantime, I wanted to make sure I got
you the way to fix it so you could get on your way and start feeling a lot better. Guys, all of our programs here aren’t just
programs for working out. As a physical therapist I care about what
happens to you. Not just in the gym, but around the gym, because
it’s going to matter, ultimately, to how you perform in the gym. If you’re looking for our programs where we
put the science back in strength, head to and get our programs. You can do that right now by clicking on the
link. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our channel,
and click on the notification link so you don’t miss any other videos, and you can
catch our latest video up here. All right, guys. I’ll see you over at, and I’ll
see you back here for another video in a couple of days.


  1. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  2. Jeff ya fucking legend

  3. any tips with cervical bulging disc?

  4. What if the disks are bulging forward? Would the same apply?

  5. Holy sh*t man, thank you so much! Hurt my back deadlifting a couple days ago and had to call off work. Now I can go comfortably 🙂 👍🔥

  6. I think I just fixed my back thanks to you guys…….I did the wall technique and it totally adjusted my spine……..WOW I have suffered all freaking weekend after having our inspection at McDonalds……. the pressure was totally taken off and my muscles are relaxed……. been given time off from work…… NEVER have I had this problem before…….I was diagnosed with a lumbar sprain and NOT a big fan of popping pills, but hoping to totally be pain free by my return to work date

  7. Bob and brad but for young people

  8. Many yoga postures!

  9. All hail Lord Jeff!

  10. I have about 5 or 6 bulging discs in my back, mostly lower other than one or two.

  11. How to the decompression without pull-up bar?

  12. fucking how did this actually fix it within a week its crazy how he's giving these out for free

  13. Hi Jeff, thank you for this video, currently suffering with this will give a try.👍

  14. Thanks for posting this video, Jeff. I'm a long time follower of your channel and this video has helped me tremendously. My lumbar disc slipped 3 times this year. Not sure why it keeps happening but I always turn to this video to review the exercises. The last time this happened I didn't miss a single workout. Granted I switched to a 3 day per week routine and wasn't as energetic as I wanted to be but it's amazing how performing these exercises can get you reset in such a short period of time. The first time I slipped my disc about 15 years ago I was in therapy for 6 weeks and received two hydrocortisone injections. Thank you again and keep up the good work!

  15. Thank you

  16. Sir can this technique be applied for pain after surgery. ?

  17. How would find out if it’s fixed tho?

  18. So glad I found this. Gonna give it a go. Do u do this everyday day. How long do u decompress and how many reps for other 2 moves. I have a table at home to decompress.

  19. Thank O lord and savior of my back

  20. Seems so simple when the back injury is so complex, no surgery, no way , can make worse , I don’t even trust neurosurgeons at the mayo clinics at John Hopkins.

  21. I'm on the verge of Surgery – Sciatica is killing me due to Herniated Discs – I can't even sit without Pain – I had to stand while typing this – Here goes – Let's see if this works.

  22. The dude in the dark knight rises shows how to fix a buldging disc lol.

  23. Anyone know how long of each exercise? Reps? Time?

  24. I was put through months of Physical Therapy- and It DID make my Back Worse! I was promised, therapy would help- and it caused more harm. THANK YOU for these tools! <3

  25. What do i do if i dont have enough armstrength to hold myself on a bar and decompress?

  26. How do you fix cervical disc herniations? Is it the same?

  27. Hey guys i have disc can u guys tell me which workouts I should avoid ??

  28. will this also work if this disc is in the thoracic spine location ?

  29. Thank u

  30. Can i do the 2nd and the third step without doing the first as i don’t have a pull up bar or anything at home to pull up and stretch

  31. Thanks Jeff

  32. Great video for pain relief. I have an L4-L5 bulge which has been getting worse over the last year. I don't do much exercise other than running. Desperate to get into some resistance stuff and love your channel but with the sore back I'm worried I could injure myself seriously. Hadn't come across this vid of yours until now. Anyway, I was wondering if you could do a video on how you would take this to the next level. So in other words, you've spent a month or so stretching out this way and the pain has begun to decrease, what's the best way to then slowly strengthen the whole central area, core, glutes, lower back etc so that you can then increase to doing proper resistance training? Thx again for all the great content from here in the UK.

  33. awesome it work this is my testimony. thank you thank you thank you !!!!!

  34. Can you still work out while you are performing these? I can't do any heavy lifting yet but I still want to be consistent with my workouts. Please help me! thank you.

  35. I got a bulging disk in the upper back not in the lower back can you make a video about how to fix a bulgind disk in the upper back coes i am only 15 and i want to fix this as soon as possible

  36. I can’t thank you enough, the pain has gone after the first day, not completely, but now I know what exactly I have to do, thanks!!!

  37. This has been miracle exercise for me.

  38. Any tips for adapting this to discs further up the back? I have a nasty herniated disc on my C6 and it keeps coming back.

  39. Will these help for Pain in Spine due to arthritis

  40. I’ve got bulging disc in S4-S5. Can I continue my gym routine or I need to stop until I fix with the exercise suggested by Jeff.

    Can anyone help. Jeff would you pls help me with your revert.

  41. 7:35 when i do this i hear crack in mine lower back spine i fell it it was not hurt i just fell pop and crack

  42. Wow, his health insurance actually let him get an ‘MRI’….I need to send this video to KAISER

  43. Hey Jeff or Jess, hopefully someone will actually read this considering how long it's been. I have decompressed on my pullup bar just like you have shown. I sat so far into the stretch that I actually hurt my L5/S1. It made me fall to the ground unable to hold my body weight if I stood up for a few days. This has happened 3 times now. I'm afraid to do the stretch anymore since the most recent time I've injured myself, I'm still injured with Bulges in L4-S1. Any advice? I can go back to the gym for some pretty good workouts now but I'm on epidural now. I want to fix this without surgery but I'm afraid I'll injure it again and be laid up in bed for another week. Any advice? Sorry for the format but I had a lot to say. Thanks for your time and this channel has helped me so much in so many ways so far

  44. Thank you thank you thank you..

  45. I did your exercise of listing against the wall and ended up screaming in the emergency room getting injections for pain so bad that I could no longer walk. You should be very careful what you suggest to people here.

  46. Helped lots cheers from U.K. buddy 👍👍👍

  47. Thank you very much . I have disc bulge with stenosis in l4 and l5. It’s been months now. Will these excercise help me in disc bulge and disc tear. I have problem when I walk for 2 min I m feeling pain in my back . Thankyou very much🙏

  48. Jeff, thanks for the info! Question, I am not leaning away but towards my pain side, (left) should I still do the same wall stretch when I lean with my left shoulders against the wall? Thanks

  49. Its like a back got better got 1 more loyal subricber.

  50. I've had herniated disc for 9 months now and the physical therapist was telling me to do those same knee to chest exercises. My back actually started hurting more because of the therapy.

  51. Just tweaked my back today and this helped get the pain from a 8/10 to a 4-5/10. Big thanks Jeff

  52. That's really informative. Just wanna ask i have L4-5 L3-4disc bulge in that case will these exercises help?

  53. Does it work if your overweight too?

  54. Do u do on both sides the second exrcise u showed on the wall??

  55. 2:05 I've been lied to

    used those exact exercises for months now, lower back still hurts
    never heard of the hanging thing or the side/backwards leaning, gonna give it a try

  56. God bless you Jeff

  57. How long do you have to do step 2 before going to step 3? I'm 28, I started to have knee issues and months later, really bad hip pain. After going to PT for 4 months for my hip my back has started to have a lot of pain. More pain than my hip. I'm in the military and have been trying to rehab since about Feb-march of this year and I seem to continuously get worse and it's extremely frustrating when my doc tells me we have to start back at square one in the assessment process. He wants me to go to PT and a chiropractor now. I'm not exactly comfortable going to a chiro because i've seen it only temporarily fix the pain in close relatives.

  58. Thank u bro.

  59. Can u do a video for uper back bulging disc.. C5-C6-C7 it makes me have pains on my shoulder

  60. You definitely know your stuff

  61. Thank you. This exercise reduce my pain, instantly!

  62. Been suffering from tingling numbness shooting down my left leg for about a month now as well as stiffness and pain. Haven’t been able to bend over an touch my toes or do leg raises without feeling an uncofortable pinch. I did three sets of this an noticed a major difference the first time! can’t begin to say how thankful I am for this video! You’re fucking awesome!

  63. I will be forever be thankful to you. The only one out there who knows what hes talking about. THANK YOU !

  64. Does the pain always happen in the lower back area or leg area or can it happen anywhere in the back, because I get it in random places in my back, generally above the lower back, around mid back area or above, whether centrally, right in the spine or slightly on either side, the pain is really random. Can still train with it too, because most of the time, it doesn't bother me either, when doing so, but even sometimes when I'm just sitting down, it hurts a lot.

  65. Maaaaan this helps a LOT!! I hurt my lower back from a car accident a few months ago and I’ve been going to the chiropractor twice a week for a three months and it helps some but I just did these stretches today I can see improvement a lot. Thx for this video.

  66. Hi dear do u know any excercise that will help in annular tear with disc bulge at l4 and l5

  67. You are a lifesaver OMFG!

  68. Thanks man , really useful 👍🏽

  69. Thank You 👊🏾

  70. Jeff is this really work i mean i want to try it coz i have this kind of problem. :C Help!

  71. What if I can’t hang from the bar because I can’t take the hot stinging pain I get in my lumbar spine ?😭

  72. awesome stuff this helped my back a lot!

  73. Great video. Love your content! Can a bulging disc protrude from the sides or the front of the spine?

  74. Hi jeff i am from Pakistan i just want to thank u,believe me this guy is an angel really,I watched almost 50 plus videos on YouTube to finally i watched this video it's really really helpful i had been facing sciatic pain since 2 months i tried many things,did too much exercises but remained same but after watching tbis video i am doing the same exercises 3,4 days later i am too much fine by the grace of Allah.thanks a lot jeff plz try this i hope ur sciatic pain gonna fix in few days.

  75. can u make a video on herniated disc in thoracic spine????

  76. Great video! What about a neck spine hernia ? Any advice on that?

  77. The best video I have watched on YouTube. Serious compression spinal injury 35 years ago and these exercises work for me. I compete in endurance cycling and weight train, I'm 55 now and trust me, this young gentleman knows what he is taking about! 100%

  78. Hi guys, I need help please. I have one herniated disc and another one that's about to get to the same stage. Now I am doing physiotherapy and kineto. The kineto practice involves moves that are being shown in the video (the ones that you told us we shouldn't do). I'm really confused and I want to fix this… Who's right?

  79. Thanks dad!

  80. Very helpful video

  81. Wow! I have an L5 s1 work injury,
    Minor spondylosis and protrusion bulge, unable to do regular squats, only light dumbell squats and light dead lifts like 40lbs nothing over my shoulders on those .Im worried about any kind of back surgery … just started doing these, i noticed alot of lower back pain relief. Not sure if this will work but time will tell.

  82. I have a little doubt . When you hang from the bar for the first step , do you engage your shoulders or not ? Cuz there is a little tension if I hang loose and if I raise myself by my shoulders , there is tension near my hip.

  83. How many times a day we do this exercise….And for how long each step have to do….

  84. Hey Jeff, how long should you wait between stages? I'm a new Mom with a heavy baby, slipped disc in pregnancy and now again. In a real bad way can't pick up my baby!

  85. would you recommend squats on a power squatter with no weight for a back injury? for like repetitions. i am good for core exercises but was curious in regards of squatting

  86. Does this help Sciatica ?

  87. His voice sounds like Chael Sonnen

  88. 3:00 decompress

  89. 4:20

  90. 5:50 press up

  91. 7:20 lean back
    5:40 press up
    4:25 wall

  92. Decompress

  93. Im 21 and have been spending thousands on therapy and visits to the doctor. My lower back has been stopping me from enjoying what should be the prime of my life. I hope this works, id be willing to drive pay and personally meet you if thats what it takes.

  94. thank you


  96. I have a L5S1 spondylolisthesis along with bulge, so I'm told not to extend my back, when I have it's killer getting up. Is there a plan B?

  97. Will this work for an upper thoracic disk as well?

  98. I came from gym with an aching back, and this video shows up in recommended. Thanks, YouTube! (and thanks, Jeff).

  99. I was kind of skeptical at first when I saw all the comments that these exercises fixed people’s herniated discs. I have a herniated disc that has caused so much pain in my lower back and knee. After only doing these exercises once, I was absolutely shocked that all of my pain went away. I honestly can not describe how crazy this is. All of the exercises that my doctor had given me only made my pain worse. Who would have thought that after only three exercises, my pain would diminish. All I can say is, Jeff you are the man!

  100. Is this the same for higher up herniations?

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