Stretching can often help alleviate the discomfort of degenerative disc disease. This is especially true for people who have desk jobs. Prolonged sitting is now referred to as “the new smoking” in light of its numerous detrimental health effects. While not physically taxing in a traditional sense, sitting can nonetheless wreak havoc on your overall well-being. Neck and back pain are just some of the many problems it can create and worsen.
If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, your physician will probably encourage you to move around as much as possible throughout the day. There are many simple changes you can make in your working environment to help you do so, and your physician can suggest specific ideas just for you. For instance, you might try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a coworker’s desk instead of sending an email, standing while talking on the phone or sipping water throughout the day (which will not only provide health benefits in and of itself, but also will require you to keep getting up for refills and restroom breaks).
A stretching routine that you can perform at your desk
In addition to moving around, stretching can also be very effective for relieving degenerative disc disease pain by loosening up overly tense muscles and relieving pressure on pinched nerves. Ask your physician about this simple approach, which requires no special equipment. In fact, you won’t even have to leave your chair — although you are still encouraged to do so several times a day.
Here are five easy and effective stretches that you might try:
- Nodding your head. Move your head up and down, as if you were saying “yes,” and then from side to side, as if you were saying “no.”
- Shrugging your shoulders. Inhale deeply as you lift your shoulders upward toward your ears. After holding for a few seconds, release and drop your shoulders.
- Extending your legs. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and extend one leg outward until it is level with your hips, then slowly bend your knee to lower your leg and place your foot back on the floor. Repeat using your other leg.
- Working your gluteal muscles. Squeeze your butt as hard as you can, hold for 10 seconds and then relax.
- Hugging yourself. Place your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder, breathe deeply and hug yourself tightly to release any tension that has built up between your shoulder blades.
Along with improving your degenerative disc disease symptoms, stretching can also increase your productivity at work. A short break can serve to clear your mind and help you mentally prepare for the next task at hand. If you incorporate several stretching sessions into your workday, you will probably soon notice a difference in the way you feel, both physically and mentally.
If nothing seems to help your degenerative disc disease symptoms
If your discomfort is severe and stretching or other conservative treatments do not provide the relief you need, you may want to talk with the experts at USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice for treating degenerative disc disease when surgery is required and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^
To learn more about treatment options for degenerative disc disease, contact USA Spine Care today. Ask your Patient Empowerment Consultant for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.
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