Herniated Cervical Discs & Pilates

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Here is a recent question I received regarding doing Pilates with herniated cervical (neck) discs.


I have two herniated discs on my neck and I have been doing pilates for a while at the gym club. But my doctor told me that it may cause problems even if he wasn't sure what pilates was. It really helps me to gain my strength. But sometimes I feel pain in my lower back. What should I do?

Thanks for your response,


Hi Naciye

If your neck is feeling OK with the Pilates you're doing you should be fine. Just be sure to avoid movements where there is weight on your neck (roll-over, jacknife) and watch that when you do any rolling exercises you don't roll back so far that all of your weight is in your neck.

Now, the pain in your lower back is most likely due to tucking your pelvis back and flattening your lower back during much of your routine. You want to try to keep the spine lengthened from your head all the way to your tailbone and NOT force your lower back flat to the mat. Your teacher should be able to help you there.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

I do recommend that if you have only taken group Pilates classes you should really try at least one private session with a teacher familiar with cervical disc herniations. It can hep you find better form.