A herniated disc may disrupt your everyday life and prevent you from performing normal daily tasks. It may also keep you from working or playing sports since you need your back to support those movements. A back injury can also cause pain and weakness, so you should seek treatment as early as possible. Fortunately, you don’t always need surgery. Many cases of a herniated disc can be addressed with non-surgical treatments like physical therapy.
Your spine is comprised of individual bones called vertebrae that stretch from the neck to the lower back. In between each vertebra is a spinal disc or cartilage, a rubbery tissue cushioning the bones from friction and impact. A herniated disc occurs if a disc tears or leaks its internal gelatinous substance. You can develop an injury on any part of your spine. However, it commonly affects the lumbar area or the lower back.
Herniated discs are usually caused by normal wear and tear due to aging. When your discs start to experience degeneration, they may be more prone to damage and herniation. You may also develop it from relying too much on your back when lifting heavy weights. In some cases, the injury may be caused by a traumatic accident.
Not all patients who experience disc herniation feel pain, but many cases are painful due to inflammation. This aching appears when the disc puts pressure on nerve roots in the spine. The condition may also cause sciatic nerve pain, which spans the lower back down to each leg.
Your therapist will recommend and guide you through exercises that can help relieve inflammation and pain. They may combine massage, stretching, and hands-on physical therapy with other modalities, like:
- Electrical stimulation – a painless form of muscle stimulation using electric currents
- Temperature therapy – hot and cold therapies to increase blood flow and slow circulation, respectively
- Ultrasound – uses vibration from sound waves
- Spinal traction – the gentle and careful tugging apart of vertebrae to relieve pressure
Alleviates Nerve Pressure
Aside from pain, nerve pressure caused by disc herniation also results in other symptoms like tingling, numbness, and weakness. Depending on the location of your injury, it may affect your back, arms, legs, or other parts of the body. The nerve pressure may also cause muscle spasms, especially in the immediate area surrounding the herniated disc. For more severe cases, you may experience changes in your bladder control and bowel movement.
Physical therapy can help alleviate the pressure on or pinching of nerve roots. They may recommend exercises to stretch your back and use other modalities to relieve inflammation and nerve pressure. With multiple sessions with your physical therapist, you may begin to observe a gradual easing of your symptoms. You may begin to regain lost function, sensation, reflexes, and strength.
Stabilizes The Spine
Your therapist can recommend exercises to help stabilize your spine. The first one is for your core strength, which involves your back, abdomen, and pelvic area muscles. Core strengthening supports your spine and helps you become more in control of your movements. Your therapist may also recommend exercises to improve your flexibility, mobility, and range of motion.
More exercises may be introduced as you go along with your treatment. After all, you can support your spine and body more capably if you’re stronger overall. Improving your strength also entails being able to handle back pain better.
Promotes Full Recovery
Physical therapy doesn’t just aim at relieving symptoms. It also promotes full recovery with core and overall strengthening and preventing future re-injury. As your symptoms improve, your therapist will gradually reintroduce movements and activities that were difficult previously. They will also recommend exercises to help your core, thighs, and legs become stronger to provide adequate spinal support.
In addition, they will include patient education to help you learn about what situations to avoid to prevent straining your spine. They may also introduce movement forms and sports or work techniques you can adapt to prevent another disc herniation. You may talk to your therapist about your sports or work, so they can tailor your program to your needs.
Herniated Disc Treatment In Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, & Royal Oak, MI
Back injuries such as a herniated disc can prevent you from performing daily tasks, going to work, or playing sports. The injury can also cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving, preventing you from enjoying time with loved ones. Fortunately, many cases of a herniated disc can benefit from nonsurgical options like physical therapy. Your therapist can suggest exercises to relieve your pain, alleviate nerve pressure, stabilize your spine, and promote full recovery.
If you’re looking for herniated disc treatment in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, or Royal Oak, look no further than Ahlgren Spine. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon who can give you the comprehensive care you deserve. We can also provide on-site physical therapy for your herniated disc.
If you want to know more about our services, you may call our friendly staff at (248) 840-2035. If you want to book a consultation, you may use our secure online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you at one of our convenient locations!