Herniated discs are very common and can cause extreme lower back pain. Fortunately, surgery is not the only option when alleviating herniated disc pain. Exercise and therapy are often used prior to resorting to surgery, as they are proven remedies for lower back pain.

What is a Herniated Disc?

According to Dr. Paul Salinas, a  nuerogsurgeon at Medical Center of McKinney, a disc herniation occurs when there is a tear in the nucleus fibrosis that allows a portion of the nucleus polpusus to extrude out from the center of the disc. This can occur with trauma to the spine but more commonly its associated with degeneration of this disc.

Herniated Disc Treatment

In some cases, surgery is the only option to correct severe, unrelenting herniated disc pain. Physicians and physical therapists typically recommend exercise and therapy as an initial treatment to pain. Speak with your doctor before starting any exercise or therapy regimen. 

Exercise treats pain, helps with posture and coordination, and strengthens lower back muscles. Dr. Salinas says "core muscle-strengthening exercises" can help with the symptoms associated with a disc herniation.

Common helpful exercises include:

  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Swimming/water aerobics
  • Stationary bike riding

According to herniated-disc-treatment.info, other exercises used to treat a herniated disc include regular herniated-disc therapy. This therapy is critical to resuming a normal routine.

Patients should receive stretching instructions from their therapist, as well as a rehabilitation schedule including techniques to support and strengthen the lower back muscles. Additionally, patients should participate in a pain management program to learn how to deal with ongoing pain. 

"Excercises alone can help and sometime alleviate the symptoms that are associated with a disc herniaton, but do not remove the disc herniation or nerve compression when present," says Dr. Salinas. "It's also important to point out that exercise nor any other therapy for that matter can "push" the herniated portion of the disc back into its proper anatomical position."

Ultrasound, heat or ice, and cortisone shots are also helpful in reducing pain. If the patient has exhausted all different therapies resulting in little or no relief, the next step may be surgery.

If you’re having herniated disc pain that just won’t subside, talk to your doctor to learn about your options.

For more information about how orthopedic specialists at the Medical Center of McKinney can help you, visit the hospital online

To be connected with a Medical Center of McKinney neurosurgeon, call the Physician Referral Line at 1-855-296-6265