Your cervical spine represents the seven vertebrae that are located just below your skull leading down to the upper back. A disk bulge in the cervical region can result when the gel-like material that is inside your disk begins to seep out of or “bulge” from your spinal column. This material can place stress on the nerves in your arms and neck. Tingling, numbness and weakness in your arms and hands can result. To ease the symptoms of a bulging cervical disk, you can perform physical therapy exercises to relieve muscle tension and soothe irritated nerves.
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The chin tuck exercise helps to stretch the upper cervical region, which is the area underneath your skull. Start by standing in front of a mirror with your head facing forward and your shoulders pulled slightly back. Tuck your chin down slightly, feeling a mild stretch in the front of your neck. Push your chin back slightly more to deepen the stretch. Hold this position for two counts, then release to return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
This exercise stretches the muscles around your cervical spine and shoulders. To perform, stand with your shoulders pulled slightly back. In a controlled, slow motion, reach your chin up and then lower it down toward your neck, making a C-curve with the motion. Relax the neck muscles as you maintain your neck position. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then release the stretch. Repeat the exercise three to five times.
A cervical disk bulge can cause your posture to suffer due to tense muscles. However, maintaining proper posture can actually help to reduce pain and pressure on your cervical spine. To loosen the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, interlace your fingers behind your back with your palms facing each other. Lift your hands up and feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then lower to return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise two times.
This exercise is ideal if you experience a bulge in the lower cervical spine. To perform, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your arms at your elbows, bringing your hands up to your collarbones. With your head facing forward, pull your elbows and shoulders back, imagining your shoulder blades touching as you do. Take deep breaths as you hold this position for 20 seconds, then release the stretch. Repeat two to three times.