Is Sauna Good For Herniated Disc Pain? (+ Risks & Safety Tips)

If you’re suffering from a herniated disc, you may be looking for ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. One potential remedy worth exploring is the use of a sauna.

There is no clear evidence that sauna use is helpful for herniated disc pain. Some believe that increased blood flow in the sauna can reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and ease herniated disc pain. While others think, it may aggravate the condition and cause more pain. It’s important to consult with a medical professional before using a sauna in this condition.

In the rest of the article, we will take a deeper look at how the sauna can benefit or cause harm to someone suffering from herniated disc pain. We have also recommended a few safety tips to help manage or even reduce the pain.

Table of Contents

What is Herniated Disc? Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or herniated disk, occurs when the soft inner layer of a spinal disc pushes through the tougher outer layer. This pressure on the spinal nerves causes pain and discomfort which is called herniated disc pain.

Let’s take a deep dive into the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of the herniated disc condition.

man with pained expression
Herniated disc pain occurs due to pressure on the spinal nerves (Image source)


There are various factors that can contribute to a herniated disc. Degeneration is a common cause, as the discs in your spine lose their flexibility and elasticity with age. This makes them more vulnerable to tears and ruptures.

Strain and injury can also lead to a herniated disc. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly, engaging in high-impact activities, or experiencing trauma to the spine can all potentially cause a disc to slip or rupture.


When it comes to identifying a herniated disc, some of the most common symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area. This may be felt in your back, buttocks, or legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc.

In addition to all these, experiencing issues with your reflexes, muscle strength, and walking ability can also be a symptom of herniated discs.


A herniated disc is diagnosed by a doctor via physical examination. If the doctor suspects a herniated disc condition, they may also order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. The tests would include a CT scan, MRI, or myelogram, each of which provides a detailed view of your spine and surrounding soft tissues.

How Sauna Affects Herniated Disc Pain

A sauna can provide relief to those suffering from a herniated disc by increasing blood flow to the affected area, reducing inflammation, and promoting relaxation. In this section, you’ll learn about the benefits and potential risks of using a sauna for someone with a herniated disc condition.

man relaxing in a sauna
The sauna can help reduce inflammation & promote relaxation (Image source)

Positive Effects of the Sauna

The benefits of using the sauna to treat your herniated disc are:

  • Accelerated headline process: The heat from the sauna encourages your body to increase blood flow, accelerating the healing process. Increased blood flow in the affected area can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your back muscles and joints helping to recover faster.
  • Reduced pain: The increased blood flow can also help reduce inflammation, which in turn can help alleviate pain.
  • Accelerate recovery: Spending time in a sauna loosens your muscles and relieves stress. Your body is able to focus on healing which means you recover faster.

Negative Effects of the Sauna

The sauna can offer herniated disc relief but there are some potential risks to consider. Those are:

  • Dehydration: Spending too much time in a sauna can lead to dehydration and overheating. Be sure to limit your sessions to only a few minutes and hydrate yourself before, during, and after spending time in the sauna.
  • Numbness: The heat of the sauna will reduce your herniated disc pain temporarily and this can lead you to overexert yourself by spending too much time in the sauna. It will worsen your condition. Therefore, you must listen to your body and avoid pushing it too much.

Be sure to discuss your plans with your doctor before starting a sauna treatment. They can advise you on the best approach and help you determine if it’s a suitable option for your condition.

How to Prevent Herniated Disc Pain?

There are two main ways of managing and reducing herniated disc pain.

1. Implement Posture & Lifting Techniques

It’s crucial for you to maintain proper posture at all times. You need to keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed whether you are standing or walking. If you need to lift something, bend your knees, keep your back straight, and only engage your legs to lift the object. All these will help reduce pressure on your spine, and prevent further injury and pain.

2. Mind Your Sitting Position

When sitting, choose a chair that offers good back support and encourages correct posture. Be sure to keep your feet flat on the ground and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Also, avoid crossing your legs as it can worsen your condition.

If you need to sit for long periods, take breaks by standing up and stretching whenever you can. This will help relieve pressure from your back.

If your herniated disc pain radiates towards your thighs or worsens while sitting, then try placing a cushion or rolled towel behind your lower back. This additional support helps maintains the natural curvature of your spine.


Saunas have been shown to provide relief from pain and discomfort associated with herniated discs. It promotes blood circulation, detoxification, and relaxation. So incorporating sauna sessions into your daily routine can be beneficial.

When using a sauna, it’s essential to listen to your body and avoid overexertion. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. Be sure to hydrate properly before, during, and after your sauna sessions, as maintaining proper water intake is crucial when dealing with herniated discs.

You can also supplement your sauna routine with a proper exercise regimen to further alleviate pain. Exercises such as neck stretches can help relieve pressure from your herniated disc.

We recommend consulting with a healthcare professional to tailor an exercise program specifically for your needs and ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly.

(Featured image by Towfiqu Ahamed Barbhuiya from Canva Photos)

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