Herniated discs can present with a range of symptoms. In fact, some people don’t even know they have one. That being said, the condition can also be incredibly painful in some cases, and treatment is an important part of giving those patients their lives back. Typically, pain management and physical therapy are enough to relieve the symptoms, but there are some exceptions. But do you need physical therapy with a herniated disc?
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is the term used to describe a rupture in the rubbery cushion that sits in between your individual vertebrae. Without the full protection of that cushioning disc, it’s possible for the vertebrae to come into contact with one another. The protruding disc can also put pressure on the surrounding nerves.
As a result of these physical changes, it isn’t uncommon for people with herniated discs to experience pain. They may also feel a tingling sensation or numbness in their extremities. This is due to the pressure being put on the nerves near the spinal column. This condition is often referred to as a “pinched nerve.”
Who Is at Risk for a Herniated Disc?
Anyone can get a herniated disc. Sometimes it comes from direct trauma. Other times they’re caused by repeated activities that put stress on the spine. Weight lifting, contact sports, and smoking are all considered risk factors for herniated discs. Statistically, men between the ages of 30 and 50 are the most likely to have the condition. Herniated discs are most common in the lumbar region (lower back), but they can also occur in other areas of the spine.
Do I Need Physical Therapy with a Herniated Disc?
Receiving treatment for a herniated disc begins with a diagnosis. If you suspect you may have a herniated disc, then you will want to contact your spine surgeon in Los Angeles. The majority of patients can expect to receive a diagnosis based on their personal medical history and a physical examination.
If your spinal surgeon agrees that you are likely suffering from a herniated disc, then they will help to create a treatment plan for you. As with any spinal condition, most specialists agree that starting with conservative measures is in the best interest of the patients. With that in mind, your doctor is likely to start you off with a combination of medication and exercises. Many of these exercises can be done at home. But we may advise seeking out the help of a trained physical therapist if the exercises don’t seem to work.
Using Physical Therapy
Many of the exercised used to relieve symptoms of a herniated disc are fairly simple. Neck stretches, hamstring stretches, and gentle yoga make up the bulk of them. However, if you aren’t performing the stretch correctly, then there is a chance that you may not receive the relief in symptoms that you expect. Wait before moving onto stronger pain medications or another treatment plan. First consult with your doctor and a physical therapist to ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly.
When Physical Therapy Isn’t Enough
Over the course of many months, you and your doctor will experiment with treatment options until you have found a way to reliably and safely relieve your symptoms. If you still aren’t getting the relief you need, your doctor may have to make a more thorough investigation. Medical imaging ensures no other conditions present could cause your symptoms.
Surgery for a herniated disc is very rare. Are you following your doctor’s instructions and have no additional conditions? Then you can almost certainly find a treatment plan that works for you without undergoing surgical correction. If you have any questions regarding herniated discs or their treatment, then contact your local spine surgeon at Yashar Neurosurgery to set up a consultation.