Herniated discs (bulging discs or slipped discs) are most common in people who are early to middle age. They are usually caused when you put too much pressure on your healthy spine, which results in a disc bulge and this may progress to cause the disc to leak. This irritates the surrounding nerves. Herniated discs often occur with bending, pulling, lifting or twisting movements. Also, poor ergonomics and bad posture may contribute to its likelihood.
If disc herniates in your upper spine or neck, it can cause pain to spread down your to your hand, arm or shoulder. This pain is often called a pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy). Here are some exercises that can quickly improve the neck pain you are experiencing due to your herniated disc.
You should not feel any neck or more importantly, arm pain during any of these exercises.
Deep Cervical Flexors
Lying on your back with your head on a low pillow, gently nod your chin down. Hold for 5-6 seconds without activating your superficial neck muscles. Do not lift your head off the pillow or push the back of your head into the pillow. Your neck should flatten a bit against the pillow. Repeat 10 times.
Take your right ear toward your right shoulder to the point of discomfort or as much as you possibly can, whichever comes first. Don’t turn or rotate your head when doing this neck exercise. Now, bring your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat this five times.
In this exercise, sit up tall then relax your shoulders. Next, place one of your hands on the back of the head. Then, tilt your head slowly and gently, such that it looks into your armpit at an angle of 45 degrees. Hold this position for half a minute, rest, and repeat two to three times per side throughout the day.
Lying on your back with a small pillow under your head, rotate ten times to right to the point of pain or as far as you can go, or whichever comes first. Just follow the shape of your head rather than spinning it. Repeat to the left. Then do left to right and back again.2. Turn your head to your right side as far as you can, bringing your chin over your shoulders. Don’t bring your shoulders up when doing this neck exercise. Hold this position for thee to five seconds. Do this also on the left side of your neck, then repeat five times.
Last Part of Neck Stretching Exercise
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then place both of your hands behind your head. Start bending from side to side, ensuring that you only bend with your upper back area, not with your hips or waist. Try reaching your upper elbow to the ceiling. You should hold each movement for three to five seconds. Next, repeat the same thing with your left side.
Keep in mind that you should always perform neck stretches in a slow, smooth fashion, especially if you are suffering from acute neck pain as a result of cervical radiculopathy, pinched nerve in your neck, stiff neck or other severe pain. Ensure that you do these motions slowly.
Stop doing the exercise if you feel a “twinge” in your neck or arm pain. Always let your physiotherapist evaluate you before attempting these neck exercise at home. Finally, while doing these neck stretches, don’t forget to breathe and relax.