Physical therapy for ruptured discs

By Michael Perry, M.D.

Physical therapy for ruptured discs is used to manage the symptoms associated with your ruptured disc, enabling you to resume normal activities like playing golf, working in the yard, grocery shopping or even sleeping through the night without pain. This is a highly effective method of treatment — typically combined with other conservative options — has allowed many patients with chronic neck or back pain to enjoy a better quality of life.

A ruptured disc occurs when the disc’s outer layer breaks and the gel-like material inside is pushed out into the spinal canal. This displacement of disc material can become painful if it interferes with any of the nerves in the spine, like the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root. Ruptured disc causes vary, with some of the most common being the natural aging process and traumatic injury.

Physical therapy for ruptured discs can be benefit patients experiencing ruptured disc symptoms like:

  • Lower back and leg pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling, numbness and muscle weakness
  • Shoulder, arm or chest pain
  • Sciatica

If you have been dealing with any of these symptoms for longer than a few days to a week, with little to no improvement, contact your physician. He or she can determine the location and cause of symptoms while helping you develop a care plan. Treatment options may include over-the-counter medications, rest and lifestyle changes that can be coupled with physical therapy.

How physical therapy can treat a ruptured disc

The goal of physical therapy for ruptured discs is to relieve your pain and improve your strength, range of motion and flexibility. These benefits can work together to take pressure off the spine and any affected nerves. Working with a licensed physical therapist can involve:

  • Evaluating your current flexibility, strength, posture and other physical abilities
  • Testing the limits of your range of motion
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Learning proper body mechanics
  • Trying soft tissue massage
  • Adjusting your ergonomics at home and at work
  • Practicing aerobic activities with little to no impact

Physical therapy can not only help you learn how to manage your symptoms — it can also teach you correct posture to reduce neck or back strain.

Laser Spine Institute

Surgery is explored by many patients when weeks or months of conservative treatments do not bring enough to relief to enjoy or engage in normal activities. Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is an alternative to traditional open spine procedures because our surgeons use a smaller, muscle-sparing incision to access the spine and decompress nerves. This means we can perform our procedures on an outpatient basis, letting our patients enjoy a shorter recovery period^ compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.