With the mass popularity of cell phones and the impact they are having on our posture, it seems like now more than ever we’re seeing an influx of patients dealing with bulging or herniated discs in their neck. The good news is that for many patients, these shifting discs can be treated with physical therapy so that surgery doesn’t become necessary.
Physical therapy for bulging or herniated discs typically comes in two forms – passive and active therapy. Below, we share some examples of each and explain how these techniques can help decrease and eliminate symptoms associated with shifting cervical discs.
Passive PT Treatments For Bulging Cervical Discs
Passive treatments can be a great way to help calm symptoms associated with a bulging or herniated cervical disc, but it’s the active treatments that will really help to treat the underlying cause of discomfort. Passive and active treatments should be used in conjunction for best results. Here’s a look at some passive therapy techniques:
- Ice/Heat Therapy – Cold or hot therapy can help impact blood flow to the area and control swelling, which in turn can help with symptom onset. This won’t treat the shifted disc, but it can help provide some symptom relief.
- Massage – When performed by a specialist who understands your disc issues, deep tissue massage can help to alleviate pressure and relieve muscle tension that could be causing discomfort or inhibited mobility in the neck.
- Hot Water Therapy – Sitting in a warm bath or a hot tub can help release muscle tension, relieve pain and increase healthy blood flow to the area.
Active PT Treatments For Bulging Cervical Discs
The above treatments are nice passive options to consider between physical therapy sessions, but the following active treatments are what really drive healing and pain relief. Some active physical therapy options we may perform in our one-on-one sessions or recommend as part of your rehabilitation include:
- Flexibility Training – Cervical flexibility exercises involve stretches and flexibility training techniques that help foster healthy movement in the area. Not only can this help to decrease pain and stiffness, but it can improve your cervical range of motion.
- Hydrotherapy – With hydrotherapy, you’re not just sitting in the water relaxing, you’re actively moving to help condition your neck. Hydrotherapy allows you to practice movements against the natural resistance of water and without the natural stress that gravity puts on your body.
- Core Strengthening And Stability – Your spine health is directly tied to your core strength, so many cervical spine problems can be treated by helping to improve the strength and stability of your core. We can develop an exercise routine that safely builds your core muscles without jeopardizing the health of your cervical discs.
- Cervical Muscle Exercise – If you want to take some pressure off your cervical discs, you’ll want to build up muscles in the area so they are better equipped to handle stress. We can create some cervical muscle exercises to target specific areas that can help take pressure off your neck and spine.
For help with any of these passive or active treatments, or for assistance with your cervical spine issue, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.