image1 324x160 1 - How to Treat Herniated Disks

How to Treat Herniated Disks

The soft center of a spinal disk pushing pushing through a crack in the exterior casing, known as a herniated disk, is one of the most common causes of leg and back pain.  Herniated disks affect more than 3 million Americans each year and can cause extreme pain and distress if left untreated. Although not every case of a herniated disk requires serious medical attention, this condition should still be treated properly in order to relieve pain and prevent symptoms from getting worse.  Here are a few ways to treat herniated disks without surgery.

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Use A Heating Pad

Applying a warm compress to the area that is causing you pain and discomfort can provide great relief, so consider investing in a heating pad to use when you’re having a flare up.  Heating pads help to increase blood flow to soothe sore muscles and reduce any pain you’re experiencing. To feel the full benefits of using a heating pad, apply the heating pad to the sore area for 20-30 minutes, and repeat this every 2 to 3 hours, if possible.  You should start noticing a decrease in the pain in that area, and your muscles will feel warm and relaxed after a good heating pad session. Taking a long, warm bath can also provide similar benefits, and can be a relaxing way to soothe your muscles before bed.

Exercise

For people suffering with a herniated disk, getting enough exercise is crucial.  Be sure to talk to your doctor before doing any herniated disk exercises, as they will be able to recommend exercises that won’t put additional stress on that part of your body.  Doing yoga can be a great form of exercise for people with herniated disks, as many yoga poses can help stretch and extend your back, relieving pain in that area.  In addition to exercise, people suffering with a herniated disk should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking cigarettes, and anything else that can have a negative impact on overall health.

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Physical Therapy

If you find that managing your herniated disk is too difficult to do on your own, consider seeing a physical therapist.  A physical therapist can walk you through any exercises you should be doing, such as stretching, walking, or riding a stationary bike.  Your physical therapist can also massage the part of your body that is causing you pain and discomfort, and apply ice or heat to the area if necessary.  Having a physical therapist at your side can ensure that your herniated disk is being properly and safely treated, and their professional expertise can even help improve your symptoms more than if you were to treat them on your own.

While a herniated disk can be debilitating, it doesn’t have to control your life.  By consulting your physical therapist and practicing these treatments at home, you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time!