Is a Herniated Disc Causing Your Back Pain?
One of the most common causes of pain among adults in the United States is back pain.
Back pain is not something you want to ignore for long, and it can develop for any number of endless reasons. Once it does develop, making it go away can truly be an uphill battle that you can’t fight alone.
When pain in the back lingers well beyond the time that an injury would traditionally take to heal it is called chronic pain. Chronic back pain is incredibly difficult to cope with. This sort of pain will interfere with your ability to sleep comfortably, to move freely, or to feel energized throughout the day. It can also cause a person to slip into a depressive state as well because they are unable to enjoy life as they did before.
Eliminating back pain is difficult to do on your own. Taking over the counter medication isn’t going to help the back pain go away either; it’s just a temporary fix for a long-term problem. Instead, many sources of back pain can be best addressed through physical therapy. One of the most common causes of back pain is disc herniation. In this blog, you’ll learn more about what a herniated disc is, how to tell if you may have one, and how physical therapy at our clinic can help alleviate your pain.
What is a herniated disc?
There are a few signs that can help you determine whether or not your back pain may be the result of a herniated disc or not. A herniated disc develops when the rubbery cushions (or discs) between the vertebrae of the back becomes dislodged or ruptured.
When this happens, the bones of the vertebrae along the spine begin to rub against one another, and this can cause severe pain and discomfort. The most frequent symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Numbness and tingling in your extremities or back. Since a herniated disc is located along the spinal cord, the development of this pain may cause numbness or tingling throughout other parts of the body associated with the afflicted nerves.
- Arm and leg pain.The exact location of where the pain will feel most severe depends on where the herniated disc develops along the spine. Pain associated with a herniated disc is frequently shooting pain, and can be the most intense and uncomfortable after movement, or following a cough or sneeze.
- Weakness, especially in the legs or grip. A herniated disc will compromise the comfort and strength of the spine, and therefore may impair your ability to comfortably hold items, or may cause you to stumble frequently.
If you are noticing any of these symptoms in yourself, or a loved one has been experiencing them, contacting a physical therapy clinic for an appointment is a wise move!
What will a physical therapist do to alleviate herniated disc pain?
The best way to determine if the pain that you are experiencing in your back is the result of a herniated disc is to consult with a physical therapist.
In many situations, a physical therapist will use a combination of a physical examination and imaging techniques to properly diagnose the cause of the pain and then will work with you to develop a personalized program of treatment that addresses your particular issues with pain. Remember that no two patients are the same, and neither are their treatment methods! If you have a friend or family member who has undergone physical therapy treatment, he or she might tell you that their experience was different from yours, and that’s okay.
Many physical therapy programs for treating back pain associated with a herniated disc include a combination of targeted massage therapy, guided stretching and yoga techniques, and additional pain management strategies like hot and cold therapy.
Although it is not common, if at any time during your treatment, something causes you to feel uncomfortable or your pain worsens, tell your therapist immediately. The goal of therapy is always to have you feeling better when you leave than when you arrived at the office. Your therapist can switch up your exercises and stretches to make sure you’re able to perform them without discomfort.
Take control of your pain today
Relying on pain medication to cope with back pain is not healthy, nor it is an ideal coping mechanism. If you are struggling with chronic back pain as a result of a herniated disc, then physical therapy may be the most effective form of therapy in alleviating your discomfort. For more information about treating back pain associated with a herniated disc, contact our office today to speak with a trained movement specialist!