If you are suffering from the pain of an annular tear, exercise can be a great treatment option. Although this condition can result in debilitating symptoms and exercise may seem impossible, there are certain exercises and stretches that can help relieve pain.
Before trying these exercises, it is important to consult with your doctor to ensure that they are safe for you. Your doctor will review your medical history and look into your condition to see if physical therapy will be beneficial.
The following exercises are excellent examples of exercises that can help individuals with annular tears rebuild strength and flexibility.
- Standing knee to chest stretch
This movement can help to elongate the spine, potentially reducing pressure on pinched nerves. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend your right knee, bringing your knee towards your chest. Try to keep your spine and your left leg straight. You can clasp your fingers around your right knee to help pull it upward. Some patients need to hold onto a railing or countertop with their hand to stabilize themselves during this movement. Hold this position for five seconds and then slowly release your leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Water walking
If you have access to a pool, whether at your home or your gym, walking a few laps in the water may help to improve the effectiveness of your annular tear treatment. Submerging your spine can help to relieve pressure due to the buoyancy of the body. The resistance of the water also helps to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, allowing them to take on more of the body’s weight to relieve spinal compression.
- Neck bends
If you are dealing with an annular tear in the cervical spine, this is a good stretch to add to your annular treatment plan. Begin by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly move your neck to your right shoulder. Hold this position when you feel your muscles stretching. Slowly return your neck to an upright position and repeat on the other side.
If physical therapy is ineffective, what are other treatment options?
If you have experimented with different exercises and are still experiencing chronic pain, you may be a candidate for annular tear surgery. If you are interested in learning more about different options for annular tear surgery, contact BEST Health System and allow our dedicated team to help you make these difficult decisions.