Have you been suffering from back pain and wondering what the could be? There are several reasons your back might be bothering you, but one of the most common ones is a herniated disc.
So, how do you know whether you have a herniated disc? One telltale sign can be where the pain is located. With a herniated disc, the pain is typically located in the lumbar spine. That’s the lower part of your backbone. The pain may radiate from the back to the thighs, buttocks, or calves. A herniated disc can cause pain whether you’re resting or active. Even a cough or sneeze can cause pain as it puts pressure on pinched nerves!
The good news is that physical therapy at Synergy Manual Physical Therapy in Colorado Springs, CO could be the very key to helping you unlock the door to true pain relief. Keep reading to learn more about herniated disc pain and how physical therapy could benefit you. Afterward, give us a call to schedule an appointment!
Risk factors for herniated discs
Herniated discs can be caused by several things, and Risk factors that can increase your risk of a herniated disk include:
- Smoking. It’s thought that smoking lessens the oxygen supply to the disk, causing it to break down more quickly.
- Weight. Excess body weight causes extra stress on the disks in your lower back.
- Occupation. People with physically demanding jobs that require repetitive lifting, bending, and twisting also can increase your risk of a herniated disk.
- Sedentary lifestyles. Prolonged sitting postures, whether in an office or vehicle, have a greater risk of back problems.
- Genetics. Some people inherit a predisposition to developing a herniated disk.
Symptoms of herniated discs
Spinal discs absorb trauma during daily activities such as walking, sitting, lifting, and running. There is a soft inner ring and a strong outer ring on each disc. The inner ring may protrude when the outer ring is injured, causing pain. Weak muscles, age, being overweight, or maintaining a sedentary lifestyle are all common reasons for a herniated disc. A herniated disc can also be caused by a rapid turn of the body.
Don’t try to self-diagnose if you think you may have a herniated disc. It’s critical that you see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis!
Your doctor will most likely do a physical examination and maybe order an x-ray. While an x-ray won’t reveal if you have a herniated disc, it can help rule out other possibilities for your symptoms, such as a fracture.
An MRI can show comprehensive 3-D images of the spinal cord and pinpoint if there is a herniated disc if your doctor approves it. It also identifies the nerves that are damaged.
How can a physical therapist help with herniated disc pain?
A physical therapist will have you do particular exercises to relieve discomfort and strengthen the muscles in your back that are affected by a herniated disc. Ultrasound therapy, deep tissue massage, ice and heat treatment, stretching exercises, electrical muscle stimulation, and aerobic activities are all part of physical therapy programs.
Deep tissue massage applies pressure to ease spasms and muscle tightness. Heat therapy aids in the healing process by increasing the number of nutrients and oxygen delivered to the damaged area. Cold therapy aids in the reduction of inflammation and pain.
Active treatments for a herniated disc, such as exercise, emphasize core stability, flexibility, and muscle strengthening. Keep in mind that core muscles aid in spine support. Your body will move more easily if you learn proper stretching and flexibility exercises. Muscle strengthening helps reduce pain by providing a strong support structure for the spine.
A physical therapist will also teach your self-care principles and home exercises. This way, you can prevent further injury and enjoy the long-term effects of physical therapy. With physical therapy, you’re an active participant in your recovery!
Contact our clinic today for an evaluation
Physical therapy aims to restore range of motion and improve strength while reducing the general experience of pain. It provides targeted exercises that support the spinal joints with precise movements that help reinforce strength and range of motion.
Call Synergy Manual Physical Therapy today for a comprehensive assessment and learn what steps you can take to alleviate your pain and prevent further episodes.