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How Maintaining a Neutral Low Back When Exercising Can Help Prevent Disc Damage Pain

Updated: Jan 23

Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle however, it is crucial to approach exercise with care especially when it comes to protecting your spine. One key aspect of spinal health during exercise is maintaining a neutral low back position. This position can help prevent low back pain and prevent disc damage when exercising. 

I want to take a moment to explain the function of the low back (lumbar spine). It consists of five vertebrae (L1 to L5) and is the region of the spine most prone to injury due to its significant range of motion and ability to carry load. The intervertebral discs, which are situated between each pair of lumbar vertebrae act as shock absorbers, distribute forces and allow for flexibility.

Keep in mind there is a slight curve in your low back that occurs naturally. A neutral low back means the shape your low back takes when standing in an upright position. This position puts the discs and joints in an optimal position to withstand force and load. A neutral low back provides efficient transfer of load from the discs to the muscles. A bend in the spine under load puts pressure in the disc increasing the risk of damage such as a herniation. This can also lead to nerve compression causing issues like sciatica. 

I want to clarify that if you lift weight without a neutral spine the risk of injury is still greatly reduced if you keep the bend stable as opposed to moving with a loaded spine. 

Here are 2 strategies you can use to help reduce risk of injury:

1. Maintain a Neutral Spine: Focus on keeping your low back in a neutral position

and engage your core muscles to support your spine.

2. Progress Gradually: Start with lighter weights and progressively increase the load

as your strength and technique improve. This approach will reduce the risk of


By prioritizing proper form and safe exercise programing, you can

enjoy the many benefits of regular physical activity while protecting your spinal


Neutral Low Back When Exercising Help Prevent Disc Damage

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