If you experience occasional pain like an electric shock that radiates from your lower back down to your legs or muscle weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist for a proper diagnosis. Unusual neck and back pains or extremity symptoms can mean different possible issues including herniated discs. Luckily, wisconsin physical therapy can help relieve herniated disc symptoms and help you move comfortably again. 

What is a Herniated Disc?

Discs cushion the vertebrae that compromise the spin. They are situated in between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column and act as shock absorbers. A herniated disc or a bulged disc occurs when the disc nucleus is moved out of the other later called annulus and into the spinal canal. The spinal canal has limited space, so such a displacement can usually produce pain. You can have a herniated disc anywhere in your spine, including the cervical spine and lower back areas. 

Physical Therapy Treatment for Herniated Discs

Your physical therapist will work with you to establish a plan that suits your condition best. The following are physical therapy treatments your therapist may use to treat your herniated discs:

  • Deep tissue massage. This type of massage uses a great deal of pressure to relieve deep muscle tension and spasms which prevent muscles in the affected area from moving.
  • Hydrotherapy. This passive treatment may involve sitting in a whirlpool or warm shower. It gently alleviates pain and relaxes muscles.
  • Hot and cold therapy. Your therapist may alternate between hot and cold therapies to get the best results. Heat is used to increase blood flow to the target area. Blood delivers extra oxygen and nutrients as well as eliminates waste byproducts from muscle spasms. Meanwhile, cold therapy slows circulation, reducing inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain.
  • Traction. This treatment is meant to reduce the impacts of gravity on the spin. Your therapist will gently pull apart the bones to reduce the disc herniation. 

By seeing a physical therapist, you will learn ways to condition and strengthen your back to help prevent future pain. Also, they may teach you self-care principles to understand how to best treat your symptoms. They will introduce active treatments to help address flexibility, posture, core stability, strength, and joint movement. Your physical therapist may prescribe an exercise program to curb recurrent pain and improve your overall health. They will work with you to create a program based on your health history and diagnosis.