Torn disc — exercises for symptom relief

Have you been diagnosed with a torn disc in your neck or back? Are you experiencing pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in your spine and down your arms or legs? You may be wondering about available options to ease your symptoms. A course of conservative treatments may be recommended by your physician, including hot and cold compression therapy, rest or pain medication.

One option that surprises many patients is exercise. While it is important to not overexert yourself, there are many benefits to engaging in light to moderate exercise for spine health. If you are seeking pain relief from symptoms of a torn disc, regular exercise can strengthen important supporting muscles. This can potentially relieve painful nerve compression, relive symptoms and improve mobility. Additionally, exercise can improve cardiovascular health which improves the flow of nutrients to the spine.

Types of exercises

You may want to begin performing some exercises to relieve your pain right away, but you should always check with your doctor before beginning any new treatment or exercise plan. He or she may first suggest resting your neck or back, as many cases of a torn disc have resolved on their own over time. However, resting too long may cause your neck and back muscles to atrophy, or lose mass and weaken.

The following exercises might help to stretch and strengthen your core supporting muscles, including the abdominals and mid- to lower back muscles.

  • Knee to chest. Lie with your back on the floor, knees bent, and feet flat. Slowly bring one knee up to your chest, stretching your lower back. Hold for a few seconds and then lower. You can also raise your other knee and hold both knees for a deeper stretch. Slowly lower one leg at a time.
  • Leg lifts. Lie with your back on the floor, with one leg extended and the other bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles and slowly lift the extended leg up to 12 inches off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Pelvic tilts. With your back and feet on the floor and knees bent, pull your abdominal muscles into your back. Slowly roll your hips forward and flatten the small of your back. Hold for a few seconds and then lower.

Other helpful exercises might include walking, biking, swimming, tai chi or yoga.

If conservative treatment does not bring relief

If you’ve tried exercise and other conservative treatments to ease your torn disc symptoms, but have not found the relief you need for a high quality of life, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to the risks and difficulties of traditional open spine procedures. Because we use a less than 1-inch incision to access the spine, supporting muscles are spared which leads to an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication than a traditional spine surgery.

Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a potential candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.