A herniated disc in your neck can present as sharp pains in your neck and shooting pains down your arm or to your head. The physical therapy treatment for a herniated disc is to work on having really good posture and to stretch the muscles that pass over the spine.
Posture is the first place to start when trying to get relief from a herniated disc. If you think of taking that first big bite into a jelly donut, when your teeth squish the soft dough together and the jelly squirts out the back… that’s like what happens to the discs in your neck when your head is forward and bad position. Head tipped forward, bones squeeze together, disc pushes out from between the bones and pinches your nerves. Working on exercises that stretch tight muscles and strengthen the stabilizers will help good posture seem natural and easy to maintain all day long.
Video Transcript: HERNIATED DISC IN NECK
A herniated disc in your neck can present as sharp pains in your neck and shooting pains down your arm or up into and around your head. Most of my patients that come to me having been told they have a herniated disc are very nervous. They think they need surgery. That is actually rarely the case. Surgery absolutely can be avoided, and pain can be gotten completely rid of, with proper physical therapy, even with an MRI confirmed disc herniation!. The physical therapy treatment for a herniated disc is to work on having really good posture and to stretch the muscles that pass over the spine. Hi, I’m a licensed physical therapist, my name is Josie, and here on my free tips video at insight into injury I want to teach you my top pick exercise to avoid and recover from a herniated disc in your neck. I call it the chin tuck. When your chin is fully tucked back like this it puts your spine in its maximum curved position which is its most stable position where it is best able to fight gravity and other stressors put upon your head. On the outside, the back of your neck looks straight, you feel tall, and I know… you probably feel like you have a double chin. Regardless, hold this position for 5 seconds. Make sure that your chin is level, like it slid back along a shelf. Your eyes should be level as well. Don’t’ try to make your chin touch your chest. After 5 seconds, just release out of that overpressure and relax, but be sure you don’t purposefully jut your chin forward. When your chin goes too far forward, as is often the case when we slouch, the disc gets pushed out from between your spine bones, kinda like when you take a bite into a jelly donut and the jelly smooshes out of the hole, and then that disc is considered to be herniated. So- no jelly donuts. Practice this exercise 5 times for 5 seconds every time you find yourself slouching. You’ll begin to develop a better habit of sitting up straight, and your neck WILL start to feel better as a direct result of your improved posture. It IS possible that your neck pain can be this easy to fix. I hope it is! But if you are interested in more detailed information, more reasons why, and a more comprehensive exercise program – then please check out my full length PT session. It will teach you everything that you would learn if you were sitting in a good PT office, and you will get an exercise check list to print out with illustrations to follow along with too! You CAN get better from a herniated disc by learning and doing the right exercises. I’ve seen it happen tons of time in my 20 year career so far, and counting! Please, check out my full length PT session and start working on those chin tucks today!