Physical therapy is often recommended as a conservative treatment for herniated discs because it frequently results in lasting pain relief for many patients.
If you have received a herniated disc diagnosis from your physician, a licensed physical therapist can be enlisted to design a physical therapy plan that specifically addresses your herniated disc symptoms.
Physical therapy often includes:
- Deep tissue massage aimed at relieving muscle spasms
- Herniated disc exercises and other techniques for improving posture
- Hot/cold compresses (heat stimulates the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to herniated discs; while cold reduces pain, inflammation, and muscles spasms)
- Hydrotherapy (sitting in a hot tub or whirlpool)
- Using ultrasound waves to stimulate and loosen tight, contracted muscles in the back
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS (a very low-level electrical current is sent through electrodes taped to the skin in order to relieve muscle spasms)
- Core stability exercises to help strengthen your entire body so that you can avoid back or neck injury in the future (core stability training often involves sit-ups to strengthen abdominal muscles which help support the back)
- Stretching for flexibility and reducing stiffness
- Weight loss through calorie reduction and low-impact cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, bicycling, swimming, or water aerobics (excess weight puts extra pressure on the spine, so losing weight is important; additionally these low-impact aerobic exercises can help to strengthen muscles and improve core stability)
For some patients, physical therapy for treating the symptoms of herniated discs may fail to alleviate pain, and the next treatment option is often traditional herniated disc surgery. If you are one of these patients, you do have an alternative. Rather than risk the complications of traditional open back surgery, you may want to consider the minimally invasive procedures at Laser Spine Institute to treat your herniated disc.
Our procedures are aimed at relieving the pressure that a herniated disc places on spinal nerve roots, resulting in reduction or elimination of pain. Our procedures typically take less than an hour and are performed on an outpatient basis. Patients typically return for a postoperative consultation the next day. Our state-of-the-art procedures have been very successful for tens of thousands of patients with neck and back pain, and we may be able to help you, too. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about minimally invasive treatment options and to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan.