According to my doctor I am having lower back disc problems. I feel pain there almost all the times when I stand or bend my body backward.

Now, I am gaining fat and don't know how I can lose it as I can't do heavy exercises. What is an effective way to lose weight considering my lower back problem?

4 Answers 4


I have had several friends who have lost significant (75 pounds) by doing the paleo diet alone and didn't exercise due to medical conditions. Paleo Diet Lifestyle is a good website to get started.

As for exercising, what exactly is your disc problem? I am not a physical therapist, but as a nurse, I would recommend doing whatever kind of exercise you can tolerate and not overdo it. A lot of disc problems need rest, and some even need surgical fixture.

  • Hi AtlasRN, Thanks for your useful reply. Actually from last 3 months I started feeling pain in my lower back and I think I know the reason, actually I used to be a freelancer software developer so I used to sit on floor keeping my laptop on my thies, bending my back without changing the position for hours, I did that for months. So when I consulted my doctor he told me that the only solution of this is to take rest, not be in the same position for long and do stretching exercises. Now I have joined a company so I now sit on the chair, so at least in good posture. Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 4:07
  • I have also heard about a way that I have put in here in the board as a question "Is pulling stomach inside increases metabolism and reduces weight?" Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 4:34
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    I am glad that you are working on good posture! That will help with a lot of problems. Also, losing weight and strengthening your core and back muscles will help. I mentioned in another comment that I have back pain from sciatica (not a disc problem, but still can be a chronic issue). I started doing Crossfit and losing weight, and I haven't had back pain in over 4 years. I think you are on the right track with losing weight and if the doctor recommends stretches, then follow his recommendations.
    – AtlasRN
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 13:44

All disc problems are not alike. Some are bulging discs. Some are ruptured discs. The best way you will know what exercises are safe for your back is to have physical therapy.

Your therapist will evaluate your back and symptoms. They will correct muscle imbalances, soft-tissue and joint restrictions, and teach you corrective exercises as well as self treatment techniques including self mobilization and/or traction, or heat/ice to control symptoms. Once you have some control over your symptoms, they will help you establish a safe exercise program which may include:

  • Walking (with or without nordic walking poles, or walking/exercising in water)
  • Cycling - If you can't tolerate walking, cycling or using a recumbent cycle can allow you to burn calories.
  • Strengthening - Safe ways to include strength training such as the ball wall squat with the ball giving the back support, using resistance bands, or other ways to support your back when lifting weight.
  • Stretching - Tight muscles in the hips and legs can increase the strain on your back, so your therapist can give you appropriate stretches with the proper modifications.

When looking for a therapist, ask questions to make sure that you are getting one who specializes in backs and who will help you establish a good long term exercise program. I think you will find that you will get the best results with professional help. Otherwise you will have a lot of trial and error.

Also to reduce weight be sure to adjust your intake to your activity levels. Good luck. Hope that helps.


Your back problem Your back hurts because the myofascial lines on your back are overstretched. This is caused by your daily movement pattern. I guess you do a profession with a lot of sitting or light standing work? The one thing you should NOT do is stretch them even more or doing some abs exercises like sit-ups or crunches. This will make the pain in your back even worse!

Instead, you should do exercises that open your frontal muscle chains so that your back muscle chains can relax. A good movement to do this is [the crawl][1]. There are a lot of variations to do this movement. But my advice would be to start to do it against a wall. This way the impact of the force (gravity) on your body is less than when you would start on the ground. Take a look at these crawl based exercises I do with my clients:

Crawl against wall

Crawl against Rack

These movements will improve your back problem. BUT your problem is a long term thing. Don't expect it to go away quickly. You should give it some time and do a lot of these exercises. You should feel improvement and less pain after a few trainings.Leave those weights where they are. Gravity is more than weight enough. Listen to your body. Start at the wall and take it from there. If you feel that your movement is fluent you can choose to go closer to the ground.

Your weight problem AtlasRN is right. Paleo is definitely the way to go! Here are a few tips that should get you started for a successful weight loss journey:

  1. Go easy on the sugar.
    Sugar makes you fat. That's how it is. Try to avoid it as much as possible. It's a poison. Look at [this lecture from Dr. Rober Lustig for more concrete info][1].
  2. Don't eat processed foods.
    They are packed with poisonous substances such as colourings, preservatives, etc. Also they are packed with salts and heavy refined wheat and sugar. Make your own food and EAT REAL FOOD.
  3. Stick with good and healthy fats.
    This means: lots of omega 3 fishy oils and good saturated fats from grass fed beef.
  4. Eat lots of vegetables.
    and I really mean A LOT.
  5. Drink water, tea or coffee.
    Skip juices and skip soda's.
  6. Check out these info sources:
    Mark's Daily Apple
    The Paleo Diet
    Robb Wolf
    Ancestral Health (Vimeo Channel)
    Gary Taubes
    Free The Animal
    Latest in Paleo (Podcast)

Check out this info and you'll be on your way. Success.

  1. Find some exercises you can do, such a swimming, water aerobics, or upper body weight lifting.
  2. Stretch your back. Over time, this will allow you to do a LOT more. Do a Google search for lower back stretches and find some that work for you.
  3. Eat less. The more you weigh, the harder it is on your back. It's hard to cut back on food at first, but if you are strict about it you'll get used to eating smaller portions. Count your calories. In order to lose weight, you must eat less than you use. It's the law. (of physics).
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    -1 for the advice to stretch the back. This is probably the worst advice you can give someone with disc probs. He should try to relax his back NOT by stretching but by opening the frontal myofasial chains. Please re-evaluate your info sources and broaden you horizon
    – Leo
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 18:54
  • I wanted to take another point for your nutrition advice. "eat less and count your calories"??? REALLY? That's your advice? again, please look for new information sources because your advice is based on bad science
    – Leo
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 18:54
  • You should not stretch the lower back. Instead focus on improving core stability, and thoracic and hip mobility.
    – mike
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 19:09
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    @Leo In fairness, lower activity levels mean you need to consume less to maintain the same weight, all other things being equal. I don't see anything wrong with advising someone trying to lose weight to consume less calories than they expend. Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 19:16
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    I will say, that I have a history of sciatica and I found that weight lifting in combination with yoga has helped my back problems. Stretching can be good if you get the proper exercises from a physical therapist or an orthopedist. But we also must remember that every person's recovery is different, and what works for them will be different as well.
    – AtlasRN
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 21:21

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