Physiotherapy Treatment for Herniated Disk

A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine.

A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who have a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem


Most herniated disks occur in your lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine). The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disk are:

Gradual numbness or tingling in a specific part of an arm, hand, leg or foot
Specific pain in the leg or arm, can be sharp and typically worse in the mornings
Difficulty with moving or bending in the mornings
Possible weakness in the leg, foot, arm or hand
Pain is more one sided

1.    Relieve inflammation

Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area may be a good way to temporarily relieve your pain and reduce inflammation.

2.    Careful movements

Avoid wearing high heels, sleeping on your stomach and standing or sitting for long periods of time. Also, keep focus on good posture with standing or sitting.

3.    Physical Therapy / Exercise

There are special exercises and stretches, which help relieve the pain associated with a herniated disc. Physical therapist can train you on performing these exercises properly to reduce the pressure on the disc and reduce pressure on the spine associated with poor mobility. As your spinal muscles become stronger, the pressure on the disc should lessen, causing the pain to ease.

4.    Over-the-counter medications

When the pain from a herniated disc is only moderate, an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication can help relieve inflammation and improve pain.

5.    Surgery

This option is reserved for only the most severe cases as most herniated discs can be successfully treated with physical therapy and conservative measures. Many herniated disc surgery options are minimally invasive and have high success rates, but the recovery process can be long.

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