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Back pain is one of the most common complaints in the United States. Whether you have occasional back pain or chronic back pain, it can be extremely difficult to complete your daily tasks. But have you ever wondered if your back pain was a symptom of something more serious?
The spine is composed of a complex series of bones known as vertebrae. There are cushioning pads between each vertebrae that act as shock absorbers, allowing you to bend, walk, and move around without pain on a daily basis.
However, if these small cushioning discs are injured, the soft center can rupture and cause severe pain. Physical therapy can help manage the chronic pain symptoms caused by herniated discs – contact us to learn how!
Common signs of herniated discs
Herniated discs are one of the most common back pain complaints. They typically occur in people aged 35 to 55 years but can affect physical therapy patients of all ages.
Herniated disc pain presents itself in a variety of ways depending on a person’s age, body type, and physical condition.
In certain cases, a herniated disc may show no outward symptoms at all. But for those dealing with recurring pain from a herniated disc, the following symptoms are also common:
- Pain in the shoulder blade area.
- Pain radiating out from the shoulder, arm, and sometimes traveling down to the hands and fingers.
- Neck pain that stays centered in the back and side areas of the neck. This type of pain can increase in severity when bending or turning the neck.
- Neck spasms affecting the muscles in the neck and shoulder area.
What caused my herniated disc?
The spinal column is formed by a group of bones. The cervical spine consists of seven bones, the lumbar spine has five, and the thoracic spine has twelve.
Each disc has a gelatinous inner section and a strong outer ring. If the disc protrudes through the outer ring, it is known as a herniated disc. This can lead to numbness, discomfort and pain.
The vertebrae and cushioning discs in the spinal column can become injured in a variety of different ways.
However, when dealing with a herniated disc, injuries are most often the result of:
- The natural aging process or degeneration
- Excessive weight gain and obesity
- Work-related or overuse injuries where the spine has been twisted violently
- Improper lifting resulting in sudden strain
The herniated disc can be caused by a variety of causes, including movements such as turning or twisting. Another offender is moving heavy objects.
Weight can also cause herniated discs, as it causes the need for discs to bear more weight. According to Healthline, men are also at a higher risk of developing a herniated disc than women.
What can I expect from PT treatments for my herniated disc pain?
When experiencing back pain, it can be tempting to simply visit your general physician in search of a quick solution.
However, in many cases, all that a general physician can offer in the way of pain relief is a prescription for painkillers. Alternatively, an experienced physical therapist can offer a variety of treatment options that are designed to target the root cause of your reoccurring back pain.
Some of the most common treatment options recommended by our physical therapist for herniated disc pain include:
- Stretching exercises that help to keep the muscles in the back flexible
- Aerobic exercises like walking or using a stationary bicycle
- Therapeutic massage to help ease sore muscles
- Alternating treatment with ice and heat to reduce inflammation and soothe sore muscles.
- Ultrasound therapy or electrical muscle stimulation for fast pain relief and deep penetration of the targeted area
Consult with a physical therapist today
If you’ve been experiencing recurring back pain or pain near your neck or shoulder, it could be a sign of a herniated disc.
Our physical therapist team can help you manage your herniated disc pain and avoid the use of prescription drugs or more invasive pain treatment options.
Please contact Moon Physical Therapy right away for more information and to set up an initial consultation!