10 Best Cervical Herniated Disc Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo


hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and princess
Remy, and today I’m going to show you my ten best stretches and exercises for a
herniated cervical disc. so let’s get started So the first stretch is kind of a stretch and an
exercise and that’s gonna be a chin tuck. chin tucks are one of my favorites. not
only do they help if you have a disc issue in your neck, but they also help
just kind of recorrecting your posture. and so they’re really easy to do. you can
do them almost anywhere. so a chin tuck is not tucking it down like this, but
you’re tucking your chin in. so you’re trying to get that neck into a normal
position. so I like to sometimes just use my finger as a target. so I’m gonna keep
my finger here, and I’m gonna try and bring my chin away from it. so I’m taking
my head and moving it backwards. and then so just holding it for about three to
five seconds and then relaxing. a lot of times once you relax there’s a little
bit of space in between your finger and that means that it just gives you a good
visual feedback that you’re actually resetting those muscles, getting you back
into that position. so you don’t have to put your finger there, you can just pull
that chin in and you can see it kind of flattens out it gives me a bunch of
little Chins right there, and then again holding that for three to five seconds
and then coming back. so sometimes this is a little hard for people if they’ve
got some stiffness in their neck or even if they have that disk issue in their
neck, but just work on it a little bit and the more you do it the more you’ll
actually be able to get that head actually going back. but keep that chin
in that neutral position, so it’s not tucking in like that, or tucking in like
that, you’re really just bringing it straight back and then letting those
muscles kind of relax once you let it go. so then the next one is going to be
isometric exercises for your neck. and isometric exercises are really
you’re activating the muscle, but you’re not really moving it. so it does a good
job of kind of getting some stiffness out of the muscles, starting to get some
strength in the muscles, but you’re not doing the big movements that might still
hurt your neck at the time. so what you’re gonna do is we’re gonna start off
with what would be a side bend, but again I’m not actually
moving into that side bend. I’m gonna place my hand on my head and then push
into and you should see my muscles here activating a little bit, and just again a
three to five second hold and then relax. I’m not pushing as hard as I can,
especially the first couple times I do these isometrics. I’m doing maybe twenty
to thirty percent of my push, and then later on the next day if that’s not sore,
then I can push forty to fifty and then 60 you know in the 70 and so it forth.
but make sure you’re doing both sides. then this is the movement I would do and
then I’m pushing in three to five seconds and then relaxing. do five on
each side, you can alternate back and forth if you want, or you can just do
them all on one side and then do all on the other side, but make sure you’re
doing both sides. so the next isometric one is turning your head from the side
to side. and so that would be what we would call rotation. so again I’m just
placing my hand here. I would be turning into my hand, so then again I’m pushing,
but now I’m getting the rotational movement. so you can probably see a
little bit of those muscles activating that three to five seconds, then my hand
on the other side and then I’m turning in that way. so three to five seconds,
five on each side. I like to alternate back and forth, but you can do them all
on one side if you want to. so then the next one is going to be to get some neck
or cervical extension. and so when we have a disc issue, a lot of times if you
can give that extension movement at the right level, you’re gonna actually kind
of push that disc back in a little bit. so using a towel to kind of stabilize
the bottom part so you can move the top part actually does a really good job. so
I’m gonna put the towel you know around this one level, and then it’s staying and
then I’m gonna move my head back into that extension. so you’re probably not
going to be exact to start off with, so sometimes I say just move it up a little
bit each time, but what i’m gonna do is i’m taking this towel and i’m pulling it
forward this way to help kind of stabilize the bottom part of the
spine. and so i’m pushing or pulling forward and then i’m just going to look
back and up going into that extension. so doing that motion at the
same time while I’m pushing forward so I’m stabilizing that bottom segment and
moving that top one and you can go at each level of your spine and just do
maybe five to ten of those at each one. and that really helps kind of loosen
everything up. it’s a really nice way to get some movement in there. so now we
want to stretch out all the muscles around our neck, so we got some big
muscles in the back, we’ve got some little smaller muscles up in the front.
so let’s start off with an upper trap stretch and that’s that big top of the
triangle muscle in the back of your neck. and a lot of times when it’s tight, it’s
putting a lot of pressure on your cervical spine in that neck area, and
pushing on that disc. so when you’re gonna stretch your upper trap, I like
kind of sitting on my hand of the side that I want to stretch. And what that
does is that just keeps that shoulder down. you don’t have to sit on it, but I
feel like you’re gonna get a better stretch. then all you’re gonna do is take
your other hand and pull your head gently towards the opposite side. like
I’m trying to take that ear to the other shoulder. but keep the shoulder down.
don’t bring it up, but just gently pull over this way. and you should feel that
stretch right in through here. so nice gentle stretch just holding that stretch.
so since this is a full stretch you want to hold it for 30 seconds and then
switch sides. so sitting here pulling it over gently getting that stretch and
doing three on each side. again I like to alternate back and forth just because
that makes it where you can give each side just a little bit of a break. so
before I go on to my next exercise I want to do a wall of thanks for some of
my folks that have supported me on the wall of thanks. and so Katherine H., Louise
W., and Elan M. thank you so much for supporting me. and if you’re interested
in being on the wall of thanks, find out how by clicking on the link in the
description below. so the next stretch is going to be for our levator SCAP. and
that levator scapulae muscle is the one that kind of holds our shoulders that
will elevates or lifts it. and when we have a lot of stress and tension, that’s
the muscle that really holds a lot of that tension, so it gets tight a lot. It
comes all the way up into the neck. so it could put a lot
pressure on that neck or that cervical area. so this time the side that you want
to stretch you’re going to put your hand up where you’re trying to bring your
elbow up towards the ceiling. now sometimes people can’t do that, that’s
okay. you can also just raise your arm up, but you don’t have to do that either.
this is just now that’s pushing that shoulder blade or that scapula down to
give you a better stretch. but you don’t have to do that, I just feel like you’re
gonna get a better stretch. so I’m gonna bring this side up of the side that I
want to stretch, and then I’m gonna take my other hand and put it behind my head.
I’m gonna pull down at an angle about a 45 degree angle towards my opposite knee.
so I want my nose to point towards my opposite knee when I’m going down. so I’m
stretching this way. so it’s not stretching to the side, it’s not
stretching forward, is stretching at that angle to really get that stretch right
through back there. that’s where you should feel that stretch. so again this
is a full thirty second hold, and you want to do three on each side. so then
the next stretch is going to be for your anterior scalene muscles. these are the
ones in the front here. so the way to stretch those is to take your opposite
hand and kind of push down on your collarbone. and that just again kind of
helps stabilize everything. then you’re going to turn towards the side that you
want to stretch and look up towards the ceiling. and so you can see right here,
that’s where I’m getting all those stretch of those scalene muscles right
there. and so again you’re holding that for thirty Seconds and doing three on
each side. so really getting it nice and stretched out. so then we’re going to go
into some exercises where we are getting some movement. so the next one is just
gonna be scapular squeezes. and our scapula or scapular a have more than 20
muscles attached to them, and a lot of them go up into our neck. so that’s
really why it’s important to get those moving, get everything moving in the
right place. so for a scapular squeeze, you want to almost imagine that
somebody’s hand is on your spine, and you’re just gonna squeeze those shoulder
blades back. now you can use your elbows to kind of guide your your shoulder
blades going back, but don’t just use your elbows. so see I’m if
just using my elbows I’m not actually getting that squeeze, but sometimes when
you first start doing it, you can get a better squeeze if you use your elbows,
but you don’t have to. you can do squeeze them back this way,
but try and keep your shoulders down when you’re squeezing. so you’re not
coming up like this, but you’re squeezing down and back. hold it for about three to
five seconds and then do ten of those a couple times throughout the day, and
that’s really going to kind of help reset that and get some strengthening in
there as well. so then the next one is going to be lying down. and so at the
side that you want to work is going to be up on top. so this one if you can,
you’re going to lie down and put your arm just kind of out so you can rest
your head on it, so your head stays in a neutral position. so all I’m gonna do is
just lift my head up to the side and come back down. so I’m working these
muscles on the side, but I’m supporting it in a neutral position and then
bringing it up. so I’m trying to keep everything straight forward here. so I’m
not looking up like this, I’m not coming like this, but I’m really almost just
trying to bring that ear towards my shoulder. so this one you can do ten, ten
to fifteen, couple sets, a couple times throughout day. but make sure you’re
switching the sides. so then the next one so you can get some extension is to get
it on all fours or in quadruped, and you’re gonna just put your head in a
neutral position here. and then you’re gonna lift up into extension and then
come all the way down. so you’re getting that pull motion and then coming back up
and again. if you’ve got a disc issue you might not be able to come all the way up
without some pain, so make sure it’s a pain-free motion. so if you can only come
up to about right there, that’s okay, but each time try and go a little bit more
as long as it’s in a comfortable position. and then the last one is just
gonna be a cat dog because again you want to kind of get that upper back as
well as that cervical area. and this is one of my favorite stretches. it always
feels really good. so the cat stretch you’re going to arch your back up and
tuck in your chin. so just like when a cat is stretching you’re coming up like
this. just hold it for about three to five seconds and then drop down into the
dog. or some people call it a cow. and then lift your head up
again. so again you want it to be in a pain-free motion. so if that’s
uncomfortable, you can bring your head down just a little bit and just
alternate back and forth, maybe five times each way ,holding it three to five
seconds. so there you have it. those are my ten best stretches and exercises for
a herniated cervical disc. if you’d like to help support my channel, make sure and
click on the link up there. and don’t forget to subscribe, yeah, down there. and
remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

41 Comments

  1. You're great.
    Dear I want to study your country I am from Iraq Please help…

  2. Hi 👋 Remy! 🐕

  3. I tend to have lower back spasms that are sometimes remedied since I recently learned of a stretch you do laying on your back. You pull one leg up to bent knee and then you cross your other leg over it at the ankle and gently pull the legs back toward your chest. You feel a pull and burn along buttocks down into upper leg. Seems to do wonders for back. Are you familar with this stretch for lower back and if so, what other stretches would you recommend?

  4. Thanks

  5. Saint Josephine, thank you! again!

  6. Yay!!

  7. Thank you. Some of these I have been doing for years. Some I just figured out on my own. There are also a bunch new ones.

    For the ones I have been doing for years. The validation that I was doing the right thing is great.

    Having a few new stretches to keep my neck moving will improve my quality of life.

    Now I can almost spin my head around! Just kidding, but it does feel good!

  8. ryli good

  9. My neck feels so much better just from implementing the first few stretches and exercises. Thank you. I was able to self traction my neck using gentle movements.

  10. My Mother has osteoporosis lumbar and i need your advice and Recommendation exercise to help her

  11. Thanks for these tips … should help me with my 78 yr old golf swing, hopefully to help relief with L4 & L5 related problems where I developed hernia issues years ago.

  12. Thank you so much!! Life saver

  13. Cheers Dr Jo 🙂 Nice t shirt also 🙂

  14. "Dr. Of Physical Therapy and plays the piano" 😂 love it. I start PT school in August and I love watching your videos!

  15. Absolutely wonderful advise ❤️❤️❤️👏👏👏

  16. Hi Dr. Jo, I commented a while back on one of your videos about a potential video on arm slings and how to cope with them. Is there any way you could make that video? The sling could be either the typical blue slings doctors usually give you or the slings you are typically given after shoulder surgery. Either way, could you make a video on exercises that could be done with them on or at least on how to do every day things like exercising and sleeping. Thanks!

  17. Hi Jo. Just a quick question! are you a physical therapist in the USA? Just wanted to ask ! thanks from Australia!

  18. Just did your stretches, Dr. Jo, and for the first time in days my neck feels way better. Thanks!! 🙏. How many times per day should we do this routine?

  19. Just did you stretches and love the results! Thank you so much for video!😀

  20. The chin tuck causes that pain radiation to the arm. Is it okay to do it slightly anyway? I just want to get better fast and everyone keeps saying take it easy. It is painful but not unbearable….thanks

  21. I always sleep while traveling, now I have cervical disc hernia symptoms….I really needed those exercises… May GOD bless u for this video….
    And yeah, u have got a new subscriber

  22. Doc hi you are great,best wishes

  23. Hi Dr. Jo, I love your videos! Do you recommend any devices for cervical traction or any pillows?

  24. Dear dr. Jo, thanks so much for that awesome video! I love how you explain and demonstrate so clearly.
    One question please –
    I just got diagnosed with cervical disc herniation (C4-5), and even though I have a full movement and almost no pain – I'm scared to do anything that includes bending the head forward. For example during a roll-down, cat position, or during abs exercises where you put your hands behind your neck, making the spine rounder at the neck.
    It feels like I basically should never do that rounding/forward position since that is exactly where a disc is coming towards during a herniation, and it will encourage it to go there even more…
    Is that only in my head? Any chance my logic makes no sense and it's actually good to do that movement too?
    I'd appreciate it a lot if you could explain to me, since I'm just preventing myself from so many movements :/ (for example I'm doing machines Pilates and half the class I'm just scared even though physically I can do everything without pain).
    Thank you in advance!!

  25. Hi Dr. Jo.. I'm from India.. I'm also a physiotherapist.. I have 2 kids… I would like to come and work in USA… But I don't know anyone there… Is it really very hard to find a job in USA… Plz give me tips… Plz help me😂

  26. Hi doc i have disc herniation on my spinal cord c3 c4 , c4 c5.. my i can still move well and work, but hav tingling and numbness in both hands and feet but more on the left part.. can i do your stretches? Spexially using that towel on the neck.. thank u..

  27. Do the pain ever go away

  28. Brilliant video, would you avoid of weight lifting if you have this neck injury

  29. Hello . Thanks to your good youtube channel, i'm a regular viewer of you but my english is not enough to hear all the conversations in the videos i wanted to ask you please include farsi subtitles in your channel settings beforehand Thank you for your cooperation, Persian or Farsi

  30. Thanks doctor for your help 😊

  31. Thank you so much Dr jooo.. 1 month ago I had an injury in my cervical.. C5-TH 1..
    I just found this video.. and I am so excited to try it routinely..
    Coz my fisiotherapy and acupancter is not well enough..
    May I ask something.. with that's kind of injury.. what is a good position during I sleep?.. coz till now I still wearing my collar neck during sleep.. co if I'm not I will get numbness in my fingers in the middle of the night..
    Hoping for your answer Dr Joo..
    Again thank you so much

  32. One more my dearest Dr Joo..
    What kind of style of swimming that recommend for HNP cervical (disc bulging)..?
    Again thank you so much😘

  33. Appreciated Dr. very effective exercises Thank you

  34. My elbow pops and it’s a nerve whyyy

  35. Very nice job. Thank you for your input.

  36. Iam goin make my wife see this video hope it helps her to get over her C3/4 DISC protrusion.
    🙏

  37. thank u for useful guide….

  38. Hey Doc, since 3-4 weeks i feel numbness and tingling on my back near shoulder, centre and hip area when i bent. But i dont have pain. I also feel my right hand weak and pain in right index finger, right hand fingers also shivers sometimes. And i also feel fatigue and dizzy sometime. And i feel tingling and numbness on different area of my body. Sometimes my leg knees feel weak too.. is this related to slip disc?

  39. I’m so happy I found you!

  40. Thanks. Just doing that once, not quite right, already gave me relief.

  41. Hi there Dr. Jo! I was diagnosed with disc protrusion, not herniated disks but the anxiety and dizziness I got due to this situation are the worst part 🙁 .. I got also panic attacks cause of this diagnose and it's really hard for me to keep moving on.. Many people told me that if I make my neck muscles stronger (which are in so bad condition now) I will get better. I have 2 simple questions which could give me some hope and power to keep moving forward:
    1. How many times per day should I make those excercises.
    2. Can those disks (bulged / protrused) will get better with physical excercises and posture correction. And to be more clear – will those disks ever revert to their normal condition if I keep excercising and strengthening my neck?
    Thank you so much in advance! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *