Did You Know Physical Therapy Could Help Relieve Pain Caused by Herniated Discs? Could you have herniated disc pain? This type of pain can sneak up on you. You’re sitting comfortably watching TV and when you stand up, there’s a sharp pain that radiates through your back. If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back, you just might have a herniated disc. Give our office a call for a consultation and evaluation, so you can get a proper diagnosis. Herniated discs, defined The spine consists of 33 bones referred to as vertebrae. The vertebrae are cushioned by discs made up of a gel-like substance. This cushions the discs and prevents friction. It’s the discs that allow movement of the spine, such as bending over. However, if a disc slips out of place between the vertebrae, you have a herniated disc. This condition is also known as a ruptured disc or slipped disc. A herniated disc can cause extreme pain if it irritates the surrounding nerves. Why do herniated discs develop? A disc herniation is often caused by age-related wear and tear. This condition is known as disc degeneration. With age, the disc loses water content, which makes them more prone to tearing and less flexible. Twisting and turning when lifting something can also cause a herniated disc. Even a fall or strike to the back can result in a herniated disc. Excessive weight, occupation and genetic disposition can be the cause of disc herniated, too. Sometimes, people are unable to determine what caused their herniated disc. “The most common symptoms of a herniated disc are arm or leg pain, numbness or tingling and weakness.” You may feel pain in your calf, thigh and buttocks. If you have a herniated disc in the neck, you’re likely to feel pain in the arm and shoulder. When you cough or sneeze, the pain may shoot into your leg. Numbness or tingling may be felt in parts of the body. You may also be unable to lift items, as the muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. Physical therapy and herniated disc pain relief A physical therapist will design a specific treatment program to reduce pain and speed up your recovery, so you can return to your normal activities and lifestyle. Typically, recovery can be achieved within two to eight weeks with the help of a physical therapist. A physical therapist will conduct an in-depth evaluation and outline specific treatment for patients with herniated discs. Physical therapy may include stretching exercises, massage, ice and heat therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, pelvic traction and ultrasound. A physical therapist will also choose specific treatments to help restore movement and reduce pain. Passive movements may be performed on you by a physical therapist and then you can progress to active exercises on your own. Stretching exercises will also be done, which can be done at home. Other modalities of treatment for herniated disc pain include hot and cold therapy, massage, electric stimulation, ultrasound and soft tissue mobilization. According to research, physical therapy often plays a big role in herniated disc recovery. Physical therapy entails a holistic approach with both active and passive treatments. Not only is pain relief a result of physical therapy, but a physical therapist will teach patients how to prevent further injury. What does a PT treatment plan for herniated discs look like? According to SpineUniverse, “Physical therapy often plays a major role in herniated disc recovery. Its methods not only offer immediate pain relief, but they also teach you how to condition your body to prevent further injury. There are a variety of physical therapy techniques. Passive treatments relax your body and include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapy, electrical stimulation (eg, TENS), and hydrotherapy.” Our physical therapist can check your symptoms against X-rays, postural evaluations, and other factors to confirm the presence and location of a herniated disc. In addition to analyzing your symptoms and performing various tests and measures, a physical therapist can help you determine if you have a herniated disc by assessing your medical history and lifestyle. While the most severe cases might require surgery, physical therapy can help many sufferers overcome their symptoms the natural way. Physical therapy to treat herniated discs focuses on building the strength in your back muscles, optimizing your posture, and increasing your pain-free flexibility. Our physical therapist may start you with a daily walking regimen before moving on to more strenuous aerobic and strengthening exercises. Find relief today! If you’re suffering from herniated disc pain, call us today to schedule an appointment. Our physical therapists will review your medical history, test your mobility, test your range of motion and create a personalized treatment plan just for you. We’ll get you on the road to recovery.