Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

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Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) can be an acute or chronic issue. It’s basically when the intervertebral discs of the spine start to degenerate. See Doctor Jo’s blog post about this at:

Degenerative Disc Disease can happen from a trauma either big or small over time, and it is often associated with aging. These stretches and exercises should help.

The first stretch is called the pelvic tilt. You will roll back onto your back with your knees bent. You want to imagine pushing your belly button into the ground, or push your back flat onto the ground like you are squishing something. You can put your hand under the curve of your back, and try to push your back into your hand. Make sure you are breathing and not holding your breath while doing these exercises.

Next you will do a bridge. Push your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time.

Now you will do some stretches. For the hamstring stretch, you can use a strap, belt, dog leash, or towel. You want your knee to be straight with this stretch, so only go as high as you can before the knee bends. Pull it up in the air towards your head, and if you pull your toes towards you as well, you will get more of a stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do it three times.

Then you will do a piriformis/glut stretch. Cross the leg that is hurting over into a figure 4 position. Pull the good leg up towards your chest by grabbing underneath the knee. You can use a belt or leash to help pull the leg up if your hips are not very flexible.

Next you will stretch your quad in a kneeling position. Place the knee of the quad you want to stretch on the ground, and take the opposite leg and bend it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. You might want to place a pillow under your knee to protect it. You will be in a lunge position with the knee of your injured side on the ground. Then grab the ankle of the side you want to stretch and pull it up towards your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds, and do it 3 times.

The hip flexor stretch will be in the same position. Place the knee of the hip flexor you want to stretch on the ground, and take the opposite leg and bend it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. You might want to place a pillow under your knee to protect it. You will be in a lunge position with the knee of your injured side on the ground. Now drive the knee of the uninjured side forward away from your body. Hold for 30 seconds, and do this 3 times.

Now you are going to get onto all fours or in the quadruped position. Try to keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and try to keep your back in a straight line, no arching up or down. Kick one leg straight out behind you. Do ten on each side.

For the last set of stretches, you will still be in quadruped. The cat/cow or cat/dog stretch is performed by tucking your chin in and arching your back. Then drop your back down and lift your head looking forward. You can hold this for 10-15 seconds and alternate back and forth for about a minute.

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Doctor Jo is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) Stretches & Exercises:

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  1. hiya, ive had DDD for 8 yrs now. painkillers coming out my ears but nothing really touches it. Had Epidural…did nothing. Tried hypo tension…think surgery is the only way and get my L4/L5 fused.

  2. Cathy Key says:

    What about shoulders ?

  3. mc gm says:

    nice ..very simple exercise easy to follow

  4. taking long walks does help

  5. Im 53 and having to combine alot videos working all the muscles i got spondiosis. osteoporosis. but done a number on self. I. fractured by hip and L5 with s1 and had broke my tailbone. i got lupus so they said tht might be why im so slow healing but My PT ended here at home but im still loyal about doing it. Thank you n god bless

  6. Aimee Ward says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was just recently diagnosed with DDD when I thought it was just sciatica that wouldn't go away. I have been taking tons of motrin, which I know isn't good, but it was the only way I could function.
    I know now that also the constant sitting has been aggravating it. I now get up and walk around for a minute or so every half hour. That has helped a lot.
    Will be working out this afternoon and doing this first. Again, thanks.

  7. the exercise that gives me the most results is the horizontal table top

  8. Thanks for suggestion

  9. doctor i have right leg backside up to down hill pain what i do i Don't know…nigh sleep also problem because right bump also pain

  10. Thanks doctor…nice information

  11. I knows little English.sorry you understand. l have degeneration ,herniation and bulg disk at l5-s1.please,tell me which kind of exercises l doing?

  12. ocantu1987 says:

    great video doctor jo! I have a degenerative disc in my back from barbell squatting although i lost weight and my back hasn't bothered me, I went from 165lbs to 150lbs lol im not heavy but i see it makes a difference with me. is this common?

  13. Dr.Jo… I am working on flexibility for the first time in my life at the age of 36 I worked for about three months every day and I can do a front split where the left leg goes in front of you and the right leg goes behind you in the body remains perpendicular to the ground… However I cannot make any progress on my side split AKA straddle because I could not get my legs open far enough to allow my body weight to start pushing me open… This was how I progressed on the front split I simply went further and further each time…. is there another way to stretch out the adductor muscles besides simply doing a side split…. I can probably get my legs open to 120 degrees estimated thank you very much… And as another person already commented you do have a certain Charisma about your personality , I can tell you have a Magnetic Personality in real life.

  14. Azah M.S says:

    I have MS 🙁
    every morning I have difficulty walking bcoz of d spasticity. Doing too much can make me running out of energy. Any ez stretches without equipment I can do for the spasticity & maintaining energy level? Thank doc :-*

  15. Zak Asad says:

    u have a nice spirit . very useful video .thank you and keep it up ✌

  16. bielka mua says:

    Thanks a lot for yr videos, they help me a lot, would it be possible to do a video for the legs , to improve them, especially for the inner part. Thanks again |