As part of a comprehensive bulging treatment plan, stretching and exercising at home can provide significant pain relief. They can also keep the muscles in the neck and back from becoming excessively tight. It’s common for a bulging disc to limit a person’s flexibility or range of motion. However, regular stretching can help counteract this tendency.
Stretches to Relieve Bulging Disc Symptoms
The following stretches are meant to improve flexibility as well as reduce bulging disc symptoms.
Seated Neck Release
If your bulging disc is in the cervical (upper) part of your spine, this stretch can help release tension in your neck. First, find a comfortable seated position. Reach your right hand over to the left side of your head. Gently guide your head to your right shoulder. It’s normal to feel a bit of tension here and you can use your hand to apply light pressure, but don’t press so hard that you experience major discomfort. Hold for thirty seconds to a minute then release. Repeat on the other side, using your left hand to guide your head to your shoulder.
Behind the Back Stretch
Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Bring your hands behind your back and intertwine your fingers (if you can’t clasp your hands, use one hand to hold the opposite wrist). Extend your hands away from your back while contracting your shoulder muscles. If you can, gently move your hands to the left side of your body and then to the right. If this is uncomfortable, keep your hands in the center of your body. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
If your bulging disc is in your lumbar spine (lower back), knee-to-side twists can help you with pain in your sacrum and hips. Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent (your back and feet will be on the floor and your knees will be pointed toward the ceiling). Extend both arms out to their respective sides, then drop both knees to your left side. Your knees may or may not touch the floor but aim to bring them as close to the ground as possible without creating significant discomfort (light resistance is normal). Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then bring your knees back to the center and repeat on your right side.
How BEST Can Help
While exercising and stretching help many people manage their bulging disc symptoms, some people find that nonsurgical treatments don’t do enough to keep their pain under control. In these instances, bulging disc surgery might be recommended.
At BEST Health System, we perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery as a form of treatment for bulging discs. Our approach can provide many advantages over traditional bulging disc surgery. We use a less than one-inch incision which results in a shorter recovery, lower risk of complication, and eliminates the need for an overnight hospital stay.
Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott are specialized in minimally invasive techniques and dedicated to getting you back to the things you love. To find out if you’re a candidate, we now offer MRI and other diagnostics and imaging services.
If you’d like to learn more, contact BEST Health System today.