Relieving the symptoms of a herniated disc with physical therapy
A herniated disc can often be treated with conservative methods of treatment such as physical therapy. This condition occurs when a spinal disc becomes damaged, usually due to the natural aging process combined with everyday stresses that put pressure on the spine. As this continues, the outer shell of the disc cracks, allowing the inner fluid of the disc to be pushed into the spinal column. 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 doctor about starting a physical therapy plan 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 relieve your pain.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries are specifically designed to treat spine conditions like herniated discs with muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a shorter recovery period and less risk of complication compared to traditional procedures.
If you have questions about the surgical treatment options available to you to treat your herniated disc, please contact our caring team. We are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.