One of the best methods of annular tear treatment is exercise. If you have been diagnosed with an annular tear as the source of debilitating symptoms, exercise may seem like the last thing you want to add into your treatment plan. However, certain movements and stretches will actually help to relieve the pain and symptoms of this condition and help you move one step closer to regaining your normal quality of life.
Talk to your doctor about these exercises
Before you add any exercises into your annular tear treatment plan, you should consult your doctor to make sure you are performing exercises that will benefit your condition and medical history. Ask about these three exercises that are commonly included in annular tear treatment plans:
- 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 toward 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 on to 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 gym, walking a few laps in the water may help improve the effectiveness of your annular tear treatment plan. Submerging your spine can help to relieve pressure due to the buoyancy of the body. The resistance of the water also helps 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 (upper) spine this is a good stretch to add into your annular tear treatment plan. Begin by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly move your neck to your right shoulder, as if trying to touch your ear to the top of your shoulder. Hold that position when you feel your muscles stretching. Slowly return your neck upright and stretch to the other side.
Other annular tear treatments
While conservative treatments like exercise, physical therapy, medication and hot/cold compression allow many patients dealing with this condition to enjoy a good quality of life, they don’t work for everyone. If you are exploring surgical options, USA Spine Care provides minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures.^ For more information about annular tear treatment options available to you, contact USA Spine Care today.
We can provide you with a free MRI review* to see if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures to help treat annular tears and other spine conditions.