Physiotherapy For Persons With Slipped Disc

Physiotherapy For Persons With Slipped Disc

The slipped disc or herniated disc or bulged disc is the chronic or acute backpain experienced by a patient because of the injury to the spine. Slipped disc is one of the most commonly occurring spine diseases and physiotherapy is the first considered treatment option. Treatment for patients suffering from slipped disc is a combination of medication as well as physical therapy and exercise therapy to help them cope with the injury. Surgery is considered only in 1 out of 10 patients diagnosed with slipped disc and is considered a last resort.

How can physical therapy help?

The physical therapy treatment for a patient suffering from slipped disc varies on the severity of the injury. Generally the treatment goes through three phases which includes pain reduction, back strengthening and rehabilitation through exercise therapy.



Phase I – Pain Reduction

When diagnosed with slipped disc, the first line of treatment will include medication as well as a date with the physiotherapist. At this stage of treatment, it is important to control the inflammation, tenderness and pain in the affected region so that further treatment can be carried on smoothly. Ice and heat therapy is most commonly used against inflammation. Various exercises are performed by physiotherapists to deload the herniated discs. Other treatment options considered in this phase are electrotherapy, taping techniques like kinesio taping, back brace and soft tissue massage.

Phase II – Back Strengthening

Once the pain in the joints is taken care of, the focus shifts to building back strength and range of motion which will allow patients to pursue daily chores without pain. The exercises recommended by physiotherapists and exercise therapist might be sporting activities, light exercises, yoga and more.

  • Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is performed by lying on the back with bent knees and flat feet. You have to tighten the back, abdomen and buttock muscles so that your lower back region is little elevated. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax.

  • Partial Sit-ups

This is a relaxed version of the traditional crunches. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat out. Now raise your shoulders 5-6 inches from the surface. The exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles.

  •  Other exercises like the lumbar extension strength training are recommended for stabilizing the spine. The exercises are helpful in improving lower back mobility and strengthening the back muscles.
  • Aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, and long walks are suggested as alternate exercise for patients with acute back pain. Strenuous exercises could aggravate the spine issue and hence exercises especially swimming could be the key element in building strength and stamina amongst practising patients.
  • Stretching, yoga and tai chi might be recommended to patients who want to build up physical and mental strength, as psychology plays a major part in patient recovery.

Phase III – Rehabilitation

This phase of the treatment involves engaging patients in occupational therapy as well as other exercises which can determine their range of motion in strenuous positions so that the back pain doesn’t reappear. Physiotherapists and exercise therapists build these rehab programs based on your lifestyle or the type of lifestyle you would like to have. If you have a certain sport you would like to continue enjoying, your physical therapist or exercise therapist can guide you with certain movements which wouldn’t put pressure on the back.

The exact therapeutic program cannot be charted as it depends on the physio you choose, but this is what you can expect while pursuing therapy for slipped