Treating a Herniated Disc with Physical Therapy

What is a Herniated Disc?

Herniated disc symptoms include burning pain, numbness, and muscle weakness that radiates out to different parts of the body depending on the location of the condition. If you are living with these painful symptoms, it is important to keep a positive attitude and understand that there are effective treatments that can return you to the activities and people you love.

In a large number of cases, herniated disc symptoms can be relieved with conservative nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medication and lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Physical therapy is another extremely common and effective nonsurgical recommendation. Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist who can show you a variety of techniques to manage your pain.

Passive Physical Therapies

Physical therapy methods that do not require your direct participation are called passive therapies. Passive techniques include:

  • Massage — deep tissue massage is used to target specific problem muscle groups
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) — gently stimulates the muscles and can reduce muscle spasms
  • Hot/cold therapy —provides increased blood flow and reduced inflammation
  • Ultrasound — sends sound waves into the muscles to reduce swelling and relieve pain

A doctor will typically administer passive physical therapy first to warm up the muscles, ligaments, and joints.

Active Passive Therapies

Active physical therapies require paients to actively participate and perform specific movements. A combination of these can often trest herniated discs. Some of the most common are:

  • Strength training — strengthening the right support muscles can reduce pressure on the spine, providing relief from nerve compression by a herniated disc
  • Stretching — guided stretching with your physical therapist relaxes muscles and can ease pain
  • Hydrotherapy — alternative physical therapy using various benefits of water to treat symptoms

If Physical Therapy Can’t Alleviate Herniated Disc Symptoms…

If you have exhausted physical therapy or other prescribed conservative treatments after several weeks or months, your doctor may recommend you consult with a spine specialist to explore surgical options.While traditional surgery is always an option, minimally invasive treatments are available with the same benefits.

BEST Health System believes that everyone deserves to find the least invasive option for their condition. This is why our specialists first recommend trying conservative therapies. The skilled surgeons at BEST specialize in minimally invasive procedures since they come with many benefits for the patient. 

First, our procedures typically only require a less than 1-inch incision. With this, patients can expect a much shorter recovery period after surgery. Additionally, BEST surgeons perform procedures on an outpatient basis, meaning that patients can return home the same day of their surgery. 

Reach Out to BEST Today

For more information regarding our spine and orthopaedic procedures, contact our team today. The BEST is yet to come.