A bulging disc is a condition where a spinal disc extends or bulges out of its normal perimeter in the spinal column. This spine condition can be related to factors like traumatic injury and repetitive motion. Howeve, the largest underlying factor is natural degradation. This causes the discs to become less able to withstand the pressure being placed on them every day. Disc bulges often develop in the spinal column’s lumbar (lower) region. This is due to the amount of movement that occurs in this area combined with pressure from supporting the upper 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 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 your life is being disrupted by a bulging disc in the lower back, you should work with your doctor to develop an effective personalized treatment plan.
Exercises for Bulging Disc Treatment
Treatment for bulging disc include options like hot/cold compression and medication to relieve pain and inflammation. In addition, there are many exercises that can help treat this condition. The primary goal of exercise for a bulging disc is to strengthen the muscles. As well as the connective tissue around the spine while improving spinal flexibility. This helps to relieve pressure on the discs, potentially also helping relieve nerve compression.
Here are three common exercises. Your doctor and physical therapist will recommend these to help with a bulging disc in the lower back:
- Bridging. Bridging exercises involve lying flat on your back. Then using the gluteal muscles, carefully elevate the buttocks and lower back. This is a great exercise for strengthening these muscle groups.
- Planking. Planking exercises are designed to engage muscles across the entire body. This is especially true for the core. A standard plank can be performed from a push-up position or resting on the forearms. Planks can be held for progressively longer periods of time as you gain strength, 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 by a bulging disc. This involves lying flat on your back, placing both hands behind the leg, slowly pulling until tension is felt, and then releasing.
Any form of exercise, whether stretching, strengthening, or cardiovascular should be performed with the supervision of a qualified doctor or physical therapist if you have been diagnosed with a spine condition like a bulging disc. Listen to your body and stop at the first sign of discomfort, especially if you are just starting out.
Surgery Options at BEST Health System
A conservative treatment plan that includes exercises is often effective in bringing lasting relief for a bulging disc, but 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, reach out to BEST Health System. Our outpatient procedures are performed by our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Girton. Patients can expect a shorter recovery time with less risk of complications compared to traditional open-back surgery.
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