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Anyone who has experienced pain from a herniated disc bulge will tell you that it is very uncomfortable and painful. However, this problem can be improved with physical therapy for the vast majority of patients. Today, we are going to learn more about herniated discs and how we treat them at .
WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC?
The bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine in the back are cushioned by discs. These discs are round, like little pillows, with a tough outer layer (annulus) surrounding the nucleus. Located between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column, the discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones.
A herniated disc (also called a bulge, slip, or rupture) is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. Discs that herniate are usually in an early stage of degeneration. The spinal canal has limited space, which is inadequate for the spinal nerve and the displaced disc herniation fragment. Due to this displacement, the disc presses on the spinal nerves, often producing pain, which can be severe.
Herniated discs can occur anywhere in the spine. The most common occur in the lower back (lumbar spine), but they also occur in the neck (cervical spine). The area in which the pain is experienced depends on which part of the spine is affected.
CAUSES OF DISC HERNIATION
A single excessive strain or injury can cause a herniated disc. However, the disc material naturally degenerates as we age, and the ligaments that hold it in place begin to weaken. At this stage, a relatively minor strain or twisting motion can cause a disc to break.
Certain people may be more vulnerable to disc problems and, as a result, may suffer from herniated discs in various places along the spine.
HERNIATED DISC SYMPTOMS
Symptoms vary greatly, depending on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the hernia. If the herniated disc does not press on a nerve, the patient may experience low back pain or no pain at all. If you are pressing on a nerve, there may be pain, numbness, or weakness in the area of the body that the nerve travels to. A herniated disc is usually preceded by an episode of low back pain or a long history of intermittent episodes of low back pain.
Lumbar spine (lower back): Sciatica often results from a herniated disc in the lower back. Pressure on one or more nerves that contribute to the sciatic nerve can cause pain, burning, tingling, and numbness that radiates from the buttock to the leg and sometimes to the foot. Usually one side (left or right) is affected. This pain is often described as a sharp, electrical shock. It may be more severe when standing, walking, or sitting. Straightening the leg on the affected side can often make the pain worse. Along with leg pain, one may experience lower back pain; however, for acute sciatica, leg pain is often worse than lower back pain.
Cervical Spine (Neck): Cervical radiculopathy is a symptom of nerve compression in the neck, which may include dull or sharp pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain radiating down the arm to the hand or fingers, or numbness or tingle. The shoulder or the arm. The pain may increase with certain positions or movements of the neck.
PHYSIOTHERAPY TREATMENT FOR HERNIATED DISC
The initial treatment for a herniated disc is usually conservative and non-surgical. The may advise the patient to maintain a low and painless level of activity for a few days to several weeks. This helps decrease swelling of the spinal nerve. Bed rest is not recommended.
A herniated disc is often treated with nonsteroidal anti -inflammatory drugs if the pain is mild to moderate. In cases where the pain is more severe, an epidural steroid injection can be performed using a spinal needle under X-ray guidance to direct the medication to the exact level of the herniated disc.
One of the most common recommendations made by doctors is to go to . The will perform an in-depth evaluation that, combined with the doctor's diagnosis, will design a treatment designed specifically for patients with herniated discs. Pain medications and muscle relaxants may be beneficial along with physical therapy.
At Dr Sarwar , we will design a physiotherapy program for each patient based on their clinical presentation, including the history of their problem, the factors that contributed to the development of the problem, the behavior of their symptoms and the functional deficits that have occurred. Therefore, it is impossible to describe a typical physical therapy treatment for herniated discs, although most programs will include a combination of some of the following techniques:
Techniques to relieve pain. Manual therapy to restore normal range of motion of the spinal joint Strengthening of the core muscles that support the spine. Strengthening of the hips. Neural mobility techniques. Stretching of shortened structures Postural reeducation and ergonomic assessment Activity Modification Directional exercises to restore lost range of motion and control symptoms.
There are many options for physical therapy treatment of herniated discs. The most important thing is that you make sure you have a comprehensive evaluation by a physical therapist. At our clinic, we have a professional team of the trained in the most advanced techniques to achieve your goals.