Can I still do forward bends if I have degenerative disc disease (or bulging or herniated discs).
Generally, doctors recommend not doing forward bends with such conditions. With degenerative disc disease, improper forward bends can cause slippage of the vertebrae. With herniated or bulging discs, in forward bends, the bulge can press onto the spinal nerves creating pain.
Backward bends are recommended for building strength in the spine and spinal muscles, and they have the added advantage of taking the bulge away from the spinal nerves, relieving pain as well as toning the digestive system and strengthening the breathing.
However, it is important to learn to bend forward properly. At the beginning, learn to fold forward safely. Experiment gradually increasing the strength of your pulling on your heels in forward bends. Do not cause pain with this pulling–you must back away from pain. Also, don’t do sit ups while in the acute stage of your condition–roll over onto your side to sit up.
Your practice of what you can do will gradually enable you to do more and more of the series as your back strengthens. You will get relief from pain and it is not impossible to regenerate the herniated or bulging discs. Expect to practice regularly for the best results.