What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc is a condition where a spinal disc bulges out of its normal perimeter in the spinal column. This spine condition can be related to factors like traumatic injury and repetitive motion. However, the largest underlying factor is natural degeneration that causes the discs to become less able to withstand pressure. Disc bulges often develop in the lumbar (lower) region of the spinal column. This is due to the amount of movement that occurs in this area and pressure from supporting the body’s weight.
If bulging disc material puts pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord in the lower back, it can cause localized back pain as well as radiating symptoms that shoot into the lower body. These symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness can take you away from the people and activities you love. If a bulging disc is disrupting your life, you should work to develop a treatment plan.
As with other spine conditions, the best way to minimize back pain is building muscle in the affected area. However, doctor approval is essential to know if it is safe for you. Before trying any of these bulging disc exercises, make sure your doctor says it is a safe addition.
Bulging Disc Exercises
In addition to conservative treatments, there are many exercises that can help treat this condition. The primary goal of bulging disc exercise is to strengthen the muscles while improving spinal flexibility. This helps to relieve pressure on the discs, potentially also helping to relieve nerve compression. Patients with a comprehensive treatment plan that also follow a healthy lifestyle are more likely to avoid bulging disc surgery.
Here are three bulging disc exercises commonly recommended by physical therapists to help with this condition in the lower back:
- Bridging. Bridging exercises involve lying flat on your back. You will then use the gluteal muscles to carefully elevate the buttocks and lower back. This is a great exercise for strengthening these muscle groups.
- Planking. Planking exercises engage muscles across the entire body, especially the core. Perform a plank but laying face down, then lifting up through your forearms. You can hold the plank for longer as you bguild muscle, but don’t overdo it.
- Sciatic nerve glides. These exercises gently stretch your hamstrings and the sciatic nerve, which can often be irritated or compressed. This involves lying flat on your back, placing both hands behind the leg, slowly pulling until tension is felt, and then releasing.
A qualified doctor or physical therapist should supervise or approve all exercises.Listen to your body and stop at the first sign of discomfort, especially if you are just starting out.
Bulging Disc Surgery
A conservative treatment plan that includes exercises is often effective in bringing lasting relief for a bulging disc, but bulging disc surgery can become a serious consideration if weeks and months go by without an improvement in symptoms.
To learn more about the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery for a bulging disc, contact BEST Health System today. Our outpatient procedures offer a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.