If you experience lower back pain, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from a herniated disc (or discs), and the pain can be excruciating. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. At Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we know how to treat herniated discs and ease your pain so you can live your life without discomfort.
What Is a Disc?
A disc is the rubber-like cushion that sits in between each vertebrae (spinal bones) that stacks up to create your spine. The disc itself has a soft, jelly-esque center surrounded by a tough, rubber-like encasing. A herniation (also known as a ruptured disc or a slipped disc) happens when the jelly-ish center pushes through a tear in the rubbery shell and sits on a nerve in your back. This causes intense pain (primarily in the lower back or neck), numbness, or weakness in an extremity.
How Can You Treat Herniated Discs?
There are typically a few different treatment methods for herniated discs, though some tend to be more effective than others. Among the treatments are:
- Surgery: This is usually a last-resort option if other treatments do not relieve the pain. Spinal surgery can be dangerous, and many doctors try to avoid spinal surgery if at all possible. Sometimes it’s necessary, however, when the herniated disc is causing complications like difficulty standing or walking, loss of bowel and/or bladder control, or severe numbness or weakness. While these conditions are uncommon, they have been known to occur occasionally, and surgery to remove the protruding piece of the disc causing the pain is generally the way doctors opt to go.
- Pain-relieving injections: Most doctors, especially today, prefer not to prescribe addictive pain medications such as opioids and muscle relaxers unless it’s absolutely necessary. Pain-relieving injections are often recommended, especially if pain medication is not doing the job. These injections, usually in the form of an epidural or cortisone shot, can be pretty effective in masking the pain and allowing you to proceed with your life without discomfort. Full disclosure: pain injections are no fun, but the brief period of discomfort you feel while receiving the injection is something most people choose over the chronic, often-debilitating pain of a herniated disc. The one potential downside of the injections is that there is no set period of effectiveness. Some people never need another shot, while others need to repeat the procedure every few months. Unfortunately, you won’t know until you have it done.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is always a reliable option for treating herniated discs. If you come to Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we’ll evaluate your injury and determine the best type of treatment based on your pain, flexibility, and strength.
Herniated Disc Treatment and Physical Therapy
Once you’ve been evaluated, you’ll start working with your physical therapist to create more spinal flexibility, build muscles surrounding the disc herniation, and reduce the painful pressure in your spinal column. All of this can involve exercises and stretches designed to improve motion ways to improve your posture to reduce the pressure in your spine, and build core strength. Common methods of PT involve aqua therapy in a pool, exercise therapy, and massage therapy–all of which we can do right here in our beautiful Irving facility! However, just as important is the work that you’ll do on your own at home (yes, you’ll have homework!), with guidance and instruction from our skilled physical therapists.
Call Physical Therapy NOW at (214) 225-0291 to set up your first appointment. Then come and see us in our convenient Irving location. We’ll help you get back on your feet again!