A bulging disc, also known as a herniated disc, occurs when the rubber-like filling between spinal vertebrae slides out of place.
While it can heal on its own, if you’re not careful, you accidentally could worsen the issue. This is why it’s important to know what exercises and stretches are safe. If done correctly, they can relieve pain and encourage the disc to slip naturally back in place.
This post will explore five exercises and stretches you can try.
- Chin Tucks
- Stability Ball Stretches
- Shoulder-Blade Squeezes
- Neck Extensions
- Isometric Holds
You’ll also learn a few important facts about bulging discs and how to prevent them.
Is a Bulging Disc in the Neck Serious?
A herniated disc can be a concerning thing. When pressed out of its normal position, it can result in your spine shifting to an awkward angle. This not only affects your posture but can damage nearby nerves and joints. If left untreated, it could cause severe headaches, dizziness, and a lack of flexibility.
Exercises to Avoid with a Bulging Disc
If you’re suffering from a bulging disc it’s crucial to avoid exercises and stretches that are strenuous. Excessive motions, like jumping, running, and lifting weights, can put strain on the affected area. This won’t only make the pain worse but put you at risk of also tearing nearby discs.
Here are the five neck exercises and stretches you can do safely even with bulging disc:
1) Chin Tucks
One safe exercise to attempt is a chin tuck. This simple stretch will move your upper vertebrae but without causing harm to the bulging disc.
To do a chin tuck, first sit with proper posture. Once you do so, gently tilt your head back toward your shoulders. You should feel your upper neck muscles slightly pull together. After holding this position for a few seconds, slowly tilt your head down toward your chest. Carefully attempt to touch your chin to your upper chest. When you do, hold for a few seconds. Repeat this process 10 more times.
2) Stability Ball Stretches
A stability ball is a great way to diffuse disc bulging. It allows you to move but prevents excruciating spinal pressure.
There is plenty of stability ball stretches you can do for a neck bulging disc. One to attempt requires you carefully bounce up and down on it. To do this, sit with correct posture in the ball’s center. As you keep your arms flat at your side, slowly move your body up and down. This simple movement will encourage blood flow around your spine which can bring healing nutrients to the affected area.
3) Shoulder-Blade Squeezes
Shoulder-blade squeezes help release tension throughout your upper back. This can calm tight muscles which can heal a herniated or bulging disc quickly.
To begin, stand with proper posture. Make sure that your body is aligned but loose. If there’s tension, it could make it harder for you to do this stretch.
Now, slowly pull your shoulder blades behind you so that they meet. As you do so, you should feel a slight pull. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then bring your shoulders back to the original position. Repeat five more times.
4) Neck Extensions
This stretch works to extend your spine. This will help create space between your vertebrae which can assist with slipping the bulging disc back to its proper position.
The first step is to lie flat on your back on a bed. Line your neck up with the edge of it so your head slightly falls off of it. Once you do, bend your head toward the ground. Hold this position for about a minute and then lift your head back up. Continue this stretch a few more times.
Remember, if you feel pain or tingling sensations when doing a neck extension, immediately stop. This could indicate that you’re doing the stretch wrong or that your bulging disc is irritated.
5) Isometric Holds
An isometric exercise focuses on a specific set of muscles. For this stretch, the isometric holds will work to heal neck muscles. This can prevent them from pressing on your nerves and shifting the bulging disc.
This isometric hold will stop pressure around your head and upper neck. This can stretch your neck muscles and encourage the bulging disc to heal.
To do this exercise, first sit with proper posture. Then, place your palm on the top of your forehead. Firmly press your hand into your forehead. Do your best to not move your head when doing so. Keep pressing your palm into your head for 15 seconds and then release. Repeat a few more times.
Important Exercising and Stretching Tips
While these are helpful you need to keep a few things in mind. One of the most important is to not overdo things. If you feel pain when moving your body stop doing so. This is your body trying to give you a warning sign that you’re doing too much.
You also need to be consistent with your exercises and stretches. This will slowly help your body heal so the side effects don’t worsen.
Are There Other Things I Can Do To Heal a Neck Bulging Disc?
In addition to these essential stretches, you can do a few other things to heal your bulging disc. Here are some to consider.
A) Visit a Chiropractor
One of the best treatment options is chiropractic care. Not only will it work to heal your neck bulging disc, but it can help you be more flexible.
The adjustments your chiropractor uses will depend on how severe your condition is. But, in most cases, they’ll use flexion-distraction. This technique requires them to push their hands in specific areas for spinal manipulation. By doing so, it will encourage the bulging disc to slide back in place. It will also reduce inflammation which can stop pain.
Many chiropractors also offer massage therapy. This can help the adjustments get deeper into your body while also encouraging you to relax.
B) Use a Cervical Pillow
Sometimes your pillow could be to blame for extra pain. The angle could cause your neck to rest at an awkward angle. This could put pressure on your upper spine which could result in the disc sliding out of place even more.
A cervical pillow cradles your neck and ensures it stays in its correct position as you sleep. Thanks to this, it will keep your spine aligned and even increase blood flow. This can help you get fresh blood to the area which can restore it to health.
C) Try Capsaicin Cream
You could also rub some capsaicin cream on your neck bulging disc. This cream is made with an active component found in peppers. A few studies have found that capsaicin cream can significantly reduce pain thanks to these unique properties.
As it absorbs into your skin, it will calm tingling nerves. This can help you move your neck and attempt the stretches above without fear of pain.
However, it’s important to remember that this cream could cause a slight burning sensation when you first apply it. But, this should disappear after a few seconds.
A bulging disc in your neck can be an irritating problem. Not only is it painful, but it can hinder you from doing daily activities. By attempting these exercises and stretches you can slowly heal it.