Physical therapy plays a part in herniated disc recovery. Its methods not only offer you immediate pain relief, but they also teach you how you can condition your body to prevent further injury.
The discs are pads that serve as “cushions” between the vertebral bodies that serve to minimize the impact of movement on the spinal column. Each disc is designed like a jelly donut with a central softer component (nucleus pulposus).
As the disc degenerates from age or injury, the softer central portion can rupture (herniate) through the surrounding outer ring (annulus fibrosus). This abnormal rupture of the central portion of the disc is referred to as a disc herniation. The most common location for a herniated disc to occur is in the disc at the level between the fourth and fifth lumber vertebrae in the low back.
You will find a variety of physical therapy techniques, such as passive treatments, which help relax your body and include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapy, electric stimulation (eg, TENS), and hydrotherapy, among others.
Your physical treatment program will usually begin with passive remedies. But once your body heals, you will start active treatments that strengthen your body and protect against additional pain. Your therapist will work with you to develop a strategy which best suits you.
Passive Physical Treatments for Herniated Discs
Deep Tissue Massage: There are more than 100 kinds of massage, but deep tissue massage is an ideal option when you’ve got a herniated disc because it uses a lot of pressure to ease deep muscle tension and spasms, which develop to stop muscle movement at the affected place.
Hot and Cold Therapy: Both hot and cold therapies offer their own set of advantages, and your physical therapist may alternate between them to get the best outcomes.
Your physical therapist may use heat to increase blood flow to the target region. Blood helps by delivering nutrients and additional oxygen cure the area. Blood also removes waste byproducts.
Conversely, cold therapy (also called cryotherapy) slows circulation. This decreases inflammation, muscle spasms and pain. Your physical therapist may put an ice pack give you an ice massage, or use a spray known to cool tissues.
Hydrotherapy: As the name implies, hydrotherapy involves water. As a passive therapy, hydrotherapy may involve sitting in warm shower or a bath. Hydrotherapy gently relieves pain and relaxes muscles.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS): A TENS machine utilizes an electrical current to stimulate your muscles. It isn’t painful, although it seems extreme. A electric current is sent by electrodes to key points on the neural pathway. TENS reduces muscle spasms and is generally believed to activate the release.
Traction: The goal of traction is to decrease the effects of gravity to the spine. The aim is to cut back the disk herniation, by pulling the bones apart. The analogy is similar to a flat tire “disappearing” when you place a jack under the car and take strain off the tire. It can be carried out in the lumbar or cervical spine.
Active Physical Treatments for Herniated Discs
Active remedies help address flexibility, posture, strength, core stability, and joint motion. An exercise program may also be prescribed to achieve results. This will not just suppress recurrent pain but may also benefit your health. Your therapist may work with you to develop a schedule based on your diagnosis and health history.
Core equilibrium: Many people don’t realize how important a strong heart is to their spinal health. Your core (abdominal) muscles help your back muscles support your spine. It puts pressure when your heart muscles are weak. Your physical therapist may teach core to you.
Flexibility: Learning appropriate stretching and endurance techniques will prepare one for aerobic and strength exercises. Flexibility helps your body move simpler by warding off stiffness.
Hydrotherapy: Compared to just sitting in a hot bath or bath like its counterpart that is passive, active hydrotherapy can demand water to help condition your body without unnecessary strain.
Muscle strengthening: Strong muscles are a great support system for your backbone and better handle pain.
Your physician will teach you ways to condition and strengthen your back to help prevent future pain. So that you realize how to best treat your symptoms, you may learn fundamentals. The aim is that you develop the knowledge to maintain a way of life.
It is essential that you understand how to exercise and condition your back following the formal physical therapy ends. You won’t appreciate its results, if you don’t implement the lessons you learned during physical therapy. You might prevent additional disc pain, by taking care of your back on your own.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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