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How can physical therapy help for herniated or bulging discs?

Herniated disc
Herniated disc

A spinal disk has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior (annulus). Sometimes a herniated disk occurs when some of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus. Disk herniation is most often the result of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear called disk degeneration. As you age, your disks become less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing with even a minor strain or twist.
A herniated disk, which can occur in any part of the spine, can irritate a nearby nerve. Depending on where the herniated disk is, it can result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg.

Many people believe that surgery is always necessary when you have a herniated disc but actually most patients have no symptoms at all or only minor problems from a herniated disk. Surgery is usually not necessary to relieve the problem.
Most of the times conservative care (such as physical therapy) often produces better results in treating a herniated disc than surgery or pain medications, such as opioids.

Your physical therapist will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will speed your recovery, including exercises and treatments that you can do at home. Physical therapy will help you return to your normal lifestyle and activities.

Our treatment plans for herniated discs include skilled manual techniques ( and specific exercise programs aimed to reduce symptoms, improve flexibility, strength and core stability, optimize the healing process, improve posture and return to previous level of activity.