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Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs

What is Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs?

Physical therapy is applied techniques of movement, exercise and stretching, designed to increase the patient’s range of motion and flexibility. While the treatments will help a patient learn to move around more comfortably, they will not do anything at all to cure the actual herniated disc condition. Most patients with structural disc pain will not enjoy considerable benefits from physical therapy. However, being that many disc pain syndromes are actually misdiagnosed, there are many patients who do enjoy pain relief using physical therapy practices. Typically, these patients feel better since exercise and movement increases localized circulation and therefore cellular oxygenation. Remember that oxygen deprivation is one of the main sources of back pain which is commonly mistakenly blamed on a herniated disc.

Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs Opinion

If you ask most doctors exactly what physical therapy is supposed to do to cure a herniated disc, they will generally tell you that the exercises and activities might help to increase the healing response and may reduce discomfort in the surrounding area. While this is true, is this an ideal treatment for a herniated disc? Well, not compared to modalities which might actually change the structure of the painful disc, thereby resolving the symptoms completely. Physical therapy is a long term process which may or may not enact some benefits over the course of weeks or months. Consider that 1 month of spinal decompression treatment might completely cure the pain permanently and I think the best choice of treatment should be obvious.

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Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs Advice

I am not criticizing physical therapy in any way… In fact; I am a big fan of physical therapists. Exercise therapy is a crucial part of recovering from a back injury and physical therapy is indicated to help a herniated disc patient overcome the considerable physical and psychological restrictions created by any chronic pain condition. However, physical therapy is rarely a cure in itself for a herniated disc. I would recommend finding a cure to resolve the disc condition first and using physical therapy to regain lost functionality after all the pain is gone.

Please consider the fact that herniated discs are not the actual source of pain in many diagnosed patients. Using physical therapy in these cases will simply slow down proper diagnosis by many more months, since the treatments will help control ischemic back pain, but will do nothing to resolve the underlying source of the oxygen deprivation.

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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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