Herniated disc — physical therapy treatment for herniated discs
A mild herniated disc can often be treated with conservative methods of treatment, such as physical therapy. A herniated disc occurs when the vertebrae of the spine become compressed, usually due to the natural aging process or weight gain, and squeeze the disc found in between the vertebrae. As this continues, the outer shell of the disc cracks, allowing the inner fluid of the disc to leak into the spinal canal. Physical therapy helps to treat this condition by stretching the spine to relieve pressure on the vertebrae and discs, and then strengthening the core muscles to help support the spine and prevent future compression.
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc and you are looking for treatment options, consult your physician about starting a physical therapy regimen to treat the symptoms associated with your herniated disc.
Benefits of physical therapy for a herniated disc
Physical therapy benefits the spine by doing two things: stretching the spine to decompress the vertebrae and discs and strengthening the muscles around the spine to help support the body and prevent future spinal compression. The exercises performed in physical therapy are specifically designed to help relieve the pain associated with a herniated disc.
Most patients will experience two types of physical therapy — passive and active — combined together to produce the most pain relief. Passive physical therapy includes:
- Deep tissue massage
- Hot and cold therapy
- TENS therapy
The purpose of passive therapy is to stretch and elongate the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Once the spine is stretched and moved back into its natural position, the second portion of physical therapy — active therapy — is done to strengthen the surrounding muscles to keep the spine in the correct position. Active physical therapy includes:
- Core strengthening exercises
- Stability exercises
- Flexibility stretches
During this process, you may feel a little sore as you begin to rebuild your muscles to help support your spine. However, if you feel pain or discomfort during or immediately after any of the physical therapy activities, make sure you tell your physical therapist immediately.
Surgical treatment for herniated disc
If you have tried conservative therapies to treat your herniated disc and you have found no lasting pain relief, you may want to consider a surgical treatment to help alleviate your pain.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer, more effective treatment alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery are specifically designed to treat spine conditions like herniated discs without disrupting the muscles and tissue surrounding the spine. This means that our patients endure less scar tissue and a shorter healing process than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery.
If you have questions about the surgical treatment options available to you to treat your herniated disc, please contact our Care Team. We are here to help you find the best treatment solution for your needs.