How to sleep with a bulging disc in the neck

Millions of Americans are affected by degenerative spinal conditions that make enjoying day-to-day life a challenge. One of the more common conditions is a bulging disc in the neck, and getting a good night’s sleep while enduring chronic neck pain can be a difficult proposition. A disc bulge occurs when the nucleus of a weakened disc pushes against the outer wall, causing the disc to protrude beyond its normal boundaries. This type of disc injury can result from a traumatic injury or the natural degeneration that occurs as we age.

The symptoms of a bulging disc in the neck can vary. While localized pain is common, compression of a nearby nerve root can produce pain, tingling, muscle weakness and numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. If the damaged disc puts pressure on the spinal cord, more troubling symptoms such as reduced motor skills, leg heaviness and difficulty walking can result.

Tips for sleeping with neck pain

Sleep is important, especially if you’re dealing with constant pain due to a bulging disc. Here are some tips that may help you enjoy a more peaceful night of sleep:

  • Stretch. Light stretching, with your doctor’s approval, can help loosen tight muscles and reduce the stress on the affected area of your neck.
  • Find the right pillow. It’s important that you find a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck and doesn’t cause any undue strain.
  • Don’t sleep on your stomach. This position can put the most strain on the neck muscles.
  • Don’t be afraid of medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective in relieving pain and may help you get the rest you need.

Treating bulging disc pain

If a bulging disc in the neck is interfering with your sleep and other daily activities, your physician will likely suggest a conservative treatment regimen designed to reduce the strain on your spine. This can include physical therapy, the use of medications and lifestyle modifications that could help improve your overall spine health. These options can include losing excess weight, avoiding high-impact activities, eliminating alcohol and tobacco use and being more aware of your posture.

If these treatments don’t produce results, you may want to consider minimally invasive neck surgery at Laser Spine Institute. We’re the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, and our patients are often up and walking within a few hours of having one of our outpatient procedures.^ If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for our surgery, we’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review.*

Contact Laser Spine Institute today if you would like to learn more about our minimally invasive approach to bulging disc treatment.

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