Spinal discs help cushion the spine and absorb much of the daily wear and tear that it endures. After many years of deterioration, however, a spinal disc can start to lose water content and elasticity, and this can cause it to lose height or “collapse.” Most common in the lumbar spine (lower back area), which bears a great deal of body weight, a collapsed disc may require treatment if the space available for spinal nerves to pass is reduced and pressure is placed on a nerve root. Bone spurs, which could impact the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, can also form if the disc collapse results in spinal bones rubbing against one another.
Treating a collapsed disc through stretching
If you’ve been diagnosed with a collapsed disc in your lower back and you are experiencing painful symptoms that are interfering with your daily routine, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of conservative treatments to help manage your symptoms. One common collapsed disc treatment option is stretching, which can improve your overall flexibility and help reduce the strain the affected area of your back is enduring.
Here are some stretching exercises that, with your doctor’s approval, may help you find symptom relief:
- Cobra pose. In this basic stretch, you start by lying on your stomach with your hands flat on the floor near your head. Gradually lift your upper body while ensuring your pelvic area stays on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Seated hamstring. Start seated on the floor with your back straight, knees bent and thighs pressed against your abdomen. Hold your toes and gradually straighten your legs as far as you can. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three to five times.
- Knee to chest. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and alternate lifting each leg by placing your hands behind your knee and pulling your knee toward your chest. Repeat 10 times on each side.
- Cat/cow. Start on your hands and knees with your back straight and let your stomach drop toward the floor while lifting your head up. Then, slowly arch your back while bending your neck down to look at your feet. Repeat five times.
- Bridge. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, your knees bent and your arms at your side. Slowly push your heels into the floor and lift your pelvis and hold for two seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Collapsed disc surgery
If stretching and other conservative options don’t provide symptom relief, it may be time to consider surgery as a collapsed disc treatment. While open spine surgery can require a lengthy recovery process, USA Spine Care offers minimally invasive surgery that requires less than a 1-inch incision and utilizes muscle-sparing techniques, resulting in a shorter recovery time.^ We can provide a no-cost MRI review* if you would like to find out if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.
Contact USA Spine Care today for more information about the procedures we offer and conditions we treat.
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