Tue. Jul 2nd, 2024
Exercises To Avoid With Tarlov Cysts: Things You Need To Know

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-filled sacs known as Tarlov cysts are type II innervated meningeal cysts. In most cases, they are found in the sacral region of the spinal cord’s spinal canal.

It’s crucial to exercise caution when using your back if you have these cysts. Your lower back may become more painful as a result of some exercises. In that case, here are some suggestions for exercises to stay away from.

Exercises to Avoid With Tarlov Cysts

Contact Sports

Avoid activities that require repeated impact, abrupt stops, and starts, twisting, jumping, running, or pivoting. Avoid contact sports. These motions can aggravate the cysts, causing them to rupture.

Although for some people that may seem obvious, it’s important to take other things into account as well. In order to avoid aggravating your Tarlov cysts or injuring yourself in a way that could result in permanent damage, you should be cautious about how much exercise you engage in if your cysts haven’t yet received a diagnosis.

High-Impact Activities

High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, are not recommended for people with Tarlov cysts. If you normally run, try walking instead. To keep up your cardiovascular fitness, you can also use elliptical machines or stationary bikes.

If you enjoy hiking and get a good sweat going on the trails, try going on shorter hikes or avoiding steep terrain that puts more of a strain on your knees when you walk. A brisk walk is always better than sitting around.

If you want to get back into yoga after being sidelined by Tarlov cysts, start with simple poses that don’t require much effort from your legs (like seated forward bends). Later, you could progress to more challenging poses like standing splits or balance poses like the eagle pose (garudasana).

Lifting Weights

The high-impact sport of weightlifting can put stress on your back, knees, and shoulders. Tarlov Cysts may also rupture as a result of it.

The best way to avoid weightlifting is by sticking to low-impact exercises, such as cycling or swimming. If you decide to lift weights, make sure to do so slowly and carefully to minimize the risk of injury.

Repetitive Exercises That Cause Strain

Don’t do repetitive exercises that strain your back. The quadratus lumborum, multifidi, erector spine, and deep spinal rotators are the four major muscle groups that run along your spine.

If you have weak muscles in any of these areas, it can cause pain or discomfort in the lower back. Talking to a doctor or physical therapist should be your first course of action. They can determine whether you are prepared for an exercise program, the best kind of exercise for you, and how frequently you should exercise. Try foam rolling some stretches.

Exercises To Avoid With Tarlov Cysts: Things You Need To Know

Back Extensions

It can stress Tarlov cysts in your posterior pelvic cavity if you perform back extensions while lying down with your legs bent. Therefore, it is advised that you refrain from doing back extensions if you have these cysts.

Due to the added pressure on these muscles and nerves when performing back extensions, the Tarlov cysts may also burst or swell. Bleeding might result from that.

Ab Crunch Machine

The abdominal crunch exercise should be avoided if you have Tarlov cysts. Simply refrain from engaging in any activity that requires you to repeatedly flex your waist muscles while lying on the ground to avoid this one.

This includes exercises like sit-ups and planks as well as quieter motions like rolling into a ball or rolling from the back to the side. Alternatively, try planks or wall sits. Despite the fact that they may seem more difficult to perform, particularly if you have Tarlov cysts, these exercises are beneficial to your health.

Lift Weights When You’re on Your Back Or Shoulders

In general, it’s a good idea to refrain from lifting weights while lying down. This is because using a dumbbell or barbell may put more pressure on your lower back and hips, which could make Tarlov cyst sufferers more uncomfortable.

If you must perform this exercise, it is best to maintain your upright position so that your weight is equally distributed between both legs rather than just one side at a time. When you have Tarlov cysts, exercises like pushups and dips are preferable.

What Causes Tarlov Cysts?

There are several theories regarding the origin of Tarlov cysts, including the possibility that the meninges, which cover the brain and spinal cord, have the propensity to weaken over time or that they are already weak at birth. There is debate over the frequency of both in some patients with Tarlov cysts and connective tissue disorders.

The majority of patients appear to have a high prevalence of trauma history related to the onset of the most severe Tarlov cyst symptoms. It is possible that the Tarlov cysts have been present, but asymptomatic for a number of years, and then are triggered by a traumatic incident causing further pressure or injury to the spine and causing the cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSF) to increase, the cysts to develop, fill with spinal fluid, enlarge, press on spinal nerves and become symptomatic.

Automobile accidents (particularly rear-end collisions), childbirth, heavy lifting, falls, etc. are a few of the incidents that Tarlov cyst patients have discussed. Several patients who have Tarlov cysts have indicated that their symptoms began after receiving an epidural for anesthesia for a surgical procedure or childbirth. Some patients indicate worsened symptoms when there is the presence of a herpes simplex outbreak, so the question exists as to possible viral or bacterial causes, but there have been no reports or studies to indicate that as a proven factor.

Given that 90% of the general population is known to have antibodies for the herpes virus, there is doubt about whether there is a causal relationship, but it is intriguing that some patients claim that their symptoms get worse when the virus is in an outbreak.


It’s important to remember that everyone is different, so if you’re unsure about whether or not an exercise is safe for you, consult your doctor or physical therapist.

We hope this article has given you some insight into the exercises that people with Tarlov cysts may find painful and uncomfortable.