Herniated Disc

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If you’ve ever experienced a herniated disc, you know the experience can be painful. In addition to low back pain, symptoms that radiate down the leg can include burning, numbness, and/or weakness. It is of utmost importance to receive treatment for a herniated disc sooner rather than later. Those who received treatment before having symptoms for six months saw the most successful recoveries.

Treatment of a herniated disc varies from patient to patient. Make sure a program is being designed specifically for your needs. The treatment will depend on a number of factors including age, symptoms, and activity level. Treatment may include heat or ice, exercises for back strengthening, physical therapy, and/or pain medicine.

Some believe a herniated disc means a one-way ticket to seeing a surgeon. This is not the case; in fact, surgery for a herniated disc only takes place for about one out of 10 people. Surgery may be the best option for those who have nerve damage that is worsening, or for individuals who experience pain even after more conservative treatment options are performed. It’s important to note that the majority of herniated discs resolve without surgical procedures, thanks to a combination of the aforementioned treatment options.

Preventative measures can also be taken to protect your spine. Make sure to use proper lifting techniques and always ask for help if something is too heavy. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help remove additional stress on the spine. Lastly, a back brace may be recommended by your physician. Be advised, however, that excessive use of a back brace can actually weaken the muscles that support your spine, making the issue worse.

–        Dan Herrmann, DPT

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