Herniated Discs And Neck Pain
Spine health is an important part of a person’s overall well-being. But many people aren’t familiar with what a herniated disc is and how the condition can contribute to neck and back pain. The spine is composed of vertebrae or bones. But between each of the bones is a jelly-like disc that normally helps to cushion spinal joints from impact, allows for free movement in the spine, and helps maintain proper alignment of the vertebrae. A herniated disc occurs when the inner nucleus of a disc leaks into the tougher outer portion, which irritates surrounding nerves. To help alleviate discomfort, think about trying out the stretches listed below.
1. Neck extension
The neck extension is a stretch that can be performed while laying down. To begin, lay on a flat surface such as a table or bed with the base of the neck aligned along the edge of the table. Slowly lower the head back so that the head hangs and holds the position for one minute. Return to the initial position for another minute and repeat the process 5-15 times. However, if the neck extension makes pain worse or causes arm pain, stop immediately and don’t continue.
2. Chin tuck
The chin tuck is another exercise that can be done while laying down. Begin by lying on the back on either a table or bed. Keep arms at the sides. Slowly tuck the chin towards the chest as if making a double chin. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and then rest. Repeat the chin tuck 15-20 times.
3. Neck stretches
For people who don’t enjoy the laying down exercises, the neck stretch can be performed in a chair. With the neck stretch, begin by sitting with proper posture and move the chin towards the chest and then back against the chair headrest. Next, move the left ear towards the left 5-10 times, and engage in exercise 2-3 times a day.
4. Shoulder retraction
The shoulder retraction exercise can be performed in a sitting or standing position. However, to perform the stretch, a wall is needed. Stand against the wall with arms at the sides. Bend the elbows to 90 degrees and slowly bring the shoulders down and back. While performing the shoulder movement, push the back of the arms towards the wall to squeeze the shoulder blades together.
Prioritizing spine health
A herniated disc is uncomfortable but doesn’t have to mean a person must suffer from pain indefinitely. When neck pain subsides, options such as engaging in low-impact exercise can improve the overall condition. But people should also consider posture such as slouching or leaning the head too far forward can encourage back and neck pain and make conditions such as a herniated disc worse. People with back and neck pain should prioritize a neutral head position. Speak with a physician if a herniated disc is causing pain that’s difficult to manage independently.