If you have been diagnosed with a collapsed spinal disc, your physician will likely suggest that you undertake a daily stretching and exercise regimen as part of your full treatment plan. There are many different types of stretching exercises that can help improve back strength and flexibility, but when you are suffering from a collapsed disc, it’s important that you avoid exercises that may aggravate your condition.
What is a collapsed disc?
A collapsed disc is a spinal disc that has lost some of its normal height, which it uses to cushion the vertebrae. When this happens, the space available for spinal nerve roots decreases, which can lead to nerve compression and the development of painful symptoms. While a collapsed disc can sometimes be caused by an injury, it is most often the result of the normal deterioration that the spine undergoes throughout the years. The rate of this deterioration can be accelerated by several factors, including obesity, tobacco use, a physically demanding job and high-impact sports.
Stretching to reduce collapsed disc symptoms
There are three different types of muscles that work together to support the spine. Extensors help us to straighten the back and stand, flexors allow us to bend the spine from the front and oblique muscles help the spine to remain stable or rotate. Using stretching exercises to strengthen these different muscle types can help reduce the strain on the spine, and potentially lessen the symptoms of a collapsed disc.
Stretches that can increase strength and flexibility without aggravating a collapsed disc include:
- Curl stretch. While on your back, bend your knees and bring them up to your chest, then wrap your arms around your ankles. Hold this position for several seconds and repeat.
- Hip extension. From your hands and knees, alternate lifting each leg up and away from your body until it is parallel with your back.
- Hip stretch. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then take a half step back with your right leg. Keep your right leg straight as you bend your left knee and reach forward. Alternate legs.
- Piriformis stretch. Lie on your back with one leg crossed over the other. Reach down and use your hand to grab your knee and ankle, and gently pull the knee toward your chest. Repeat using each leg.
- Pelvic tilt. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms at your side. Gently lift your pelvis off the ground as high as you can, and repeat several times.
Surgery for a collapsed disc
Spinal surgery is a consideration for those patients who are still experiencing painful symptoms after attempting several months of conservative treatments. At USA Spine Care, we perform outpatient spine surgery to treat a wide variety of conditions, including collapsed discs. To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery, contact us today.
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