What is a Ruptured Disc?
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 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 highly effective treatment method — typically combined with other conservative options — has allowed many patients with chronic neck or back pain to enjoy a better quality of life.
Physical therapy for ruptured discs can benefit patients experiencing ruptured disc symptoms like:
- Lower back and leg pain
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness
- Shoulder, arm, or chest pain
Contact your physician if you have been dealing with any of these symptoms for longer than a few days to a week, with little to no improvement. 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 Can Physical Therapy 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 help you learn how to manage your symptoms and teach you the correct posture to reduce neck or back strain.
Other Conservative Treatments for a Ruptured Disc
Oftentimes, patients with ruptured discs will be recommended multiple conservative therapies. Combining efforts will increase the patient’s chances of finding relief without surgery. Conservative therapies for ruptured discs include:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Massage therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Corticosteroid injections
Surgery with Dr. Girton
Patients may be a candidate for surgery if they find conservative therapies ineffective. Traditional surgeries are no longer the only option. At BEST Health System, Dr. Girton specializes in minimally invasive procedures, all on an outpatient basis. This allows the patient to experience a much faster recovery time and return home the same day. Contact our team today to learn more about surgery with Dr. Girton and the procedures he offers.