Back pain can often seem like an impossible puzzle to solve. You feel that something is wrong, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Where is the pain coming from? Why does my back hurt? Is my back pain related to pain in other parts of my body? These are all common questions with many possible answers. If you are experiencing lower back pain, you may be suffering from a herniated disc.
Fortunately, early assessment of your lower back pain by a physical therapist can help diagnose a herniated disc and put you on the path to regained mobility and pain relief. Professional’s physical therapists are dedicated not only to getting you back to doing the things you love but doing everything possible to safeguard you from worsening herniated disc symptoms and other future back injuries and conditions.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Spinal discs are round pads of cartilage that sit between each spinal vertebra, providing shock absorption and allowing the primary movements of the lower back. Normally these discs help absorb stress that is put on the spine. When a disc herniates, it can make daily life difficult and painful.
A herniated disc occurs when the outer fibrous layer of a spinal disc (generally in the neck or lower back) tears. This tear causes the disc’s gel-like filling to leak out into the nearby joint space. A herniated disc aggravates or compresses nearby nerves and other structures, leading to uncomfortable symptoms. This condition causes back pain, neck pain, and pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs. Herniated discs are also called ruptured discs or slipped discs, although the whole disk does not rupture or slip. Only the small area of the tear or crack is affected.
Causes of a Herniated Disc
There are a variety of causes for disc herniation such as:
A sudden injury affecting the back
Poor position when lifting something
Poor posture while sitting or standing
Age-related wear and tear
Herniated discs can occur suddenly or develop over time. No matter the cause or duration of your lower back pain, it is important to address it before symptoms worsen or more serious conditions develop. There are many forms of manual treatment with physical therapy that can help to find relief from back pain caused by a herniated disc. Professional’s physical therapy specialists understand how the body’s structures work and can identify and treat the underlying causes.
Do you have back pain?
Our physical therapists will customize a rehabilitation plan for pain caused by herniated discs. We will work in an effective way to get you back on your feet, focused on your wellness before, during and after therapy.
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Insurances We Accept
Below is a condensed list of insurances we participate with throughout our network of physical therapy clinics. Find your particular provider below based on your area. For a complete listing of all insurance providers and individual plans by name: CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL INSURANCE PAGE.
Amerihealth Caritas (effective date 4/27/2020 - NH)
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (NH)
Bardavon (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
BCBS Massachusetts (MA)
Commonwealth Care Alliance (MA)
Fallon Health (MA)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA, NH)
Health New England (MA)
Magna Care (MA, NH)
Magna Comp (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
Martin’s Point Health Care (NH)
Mass General Brigham Health (Formerly AllWays Health Partners)
Massachusetts Health (Medicaid – MA)
Medicaid (MA, NH)
Medicare (MA, NH)
Med Risk (Workers' Compensation – MA)
ML Healthcare (NF – MA, NH)
No Fault (Various Carriers)
Omni Healthcare (MVA Lien – MA, NH)
One Call (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
SPNET (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
Streamline (Workers' Compensation – MA, NH)
TRICARE (MA, NH)
Tufts Cigna (MA)
Tufts Health Plan (MA, NH)
Tufts Medicare Advantage (MA)
Tufts Public (Medicaid – MA)
United Health Care (Optum – MA, NH)
WellSense Health (Formerly BMC – Boston Medical Center – MA)
Workers’ Compensation (Various Carriers)
What are Herniated Disc Symptoms?
While the lower back is a commonly affected area, herniated disc symptoms can be felt in other places in the body. A herniated disc can cause pain, tightness, numbness, weakness, or tingling in the neck, arms, or legs as well. Wherever a herniated disc puts pressure on a nerve along your spinal cord, pain or muscle weakness can occur in nearby areas. For example, if herniation occurs in your lower back, you may feel symptoms in your leg or foot as well. Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:
Lower back pain
Weakness in the legs
Inability to bend or rotate the back
Difficulty standing up straight
Difficulty standing or sitting for long periods of time
Increased pain after sneezing or coughing
Pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg
Diagnosis of Herniated Disc
Tools that can be used to diagnose a herniated disc and refer you to PT include a clinical exam, MRI, X-Ray or Orthopedic Specialist.
If you suspect you are suffering from a herniated disc, it’s vital to have an evaluation as soon as possible. Professional’s highly trained physical therapists will create an individualized treatment plan designed to relieve pain and rehabilitate the affected area. You can rest assured that our PTs will educate you on your herniated disc diagnosis, evaluate your pain and other symptoms, and work with you to develop goals and ongoing wellness strategies to restore pain-free function as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from any back pain that may not be related to a herniated disc, please visit our primary low back information page⇒.
When Should I Seek Physical Therapy for a Herniated Disc?
Identifying a herniated disc as the source of your lower back pain is the first step to treating it. It’s not a puzzle that you have to solve alone. During your initial consultation, Professional’s physical therapists will discuss your concerns with you, examine your current physical limitations, and create a plan to address your pain and help curb the onset of additional or worsening symptoms. Your PT will reevaluate your condition with each visit to make sure that your rehabilitation progress and treatment approach are aligned.
Physical therapy is a beneficial, non-invasive process for treatment and rehabilitation. The main goal of physical therapy is to improve your daily quality of life by providing care that helps decrease your pain and increase your strength and mobility. If you are experiencing symptoms of or have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as the pain is noticeable. Professional’s physical therapists work with you to assess and address your back pain and herniated disc symptoms and severity to create a personalized physical therapy plan for you.
Treatment of Herniated Disc
A herniated disc diagnosis can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Physical therapy is a first line of defense for herniated discs, and Professional’s physical therapists are experts on pain caused by lower back pain and herniated discs. At Professional, we are committed to ensuring that our treatment is comprehensive, manageable, and customized to fit your specific symptoms and concerns.
Below are just a few of the skills and techniques we use to treat a herniated disc or rehabilitate you after a back injury or herniated disc surgery:
Pain Modulation Techniques
Manual Muscle Stretching
Soft Tissue Mobilization
When you work with the knowledgeable physical therapists at Professional PT and take an active role in your treatment, you have the best chance of a complete and timely recovery. Professional’s physical therapists can identify and treat herniated discs and guide and encourage you when you are ready to return to activities. Your PT will welcome any questions if you do not understand your diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment plan. We are ready to support you every step of the way on your journey to pain-free movement.
We provide treatments for Herniated Disc pain from our physical therapy clinics throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Fill out the form above, or contact a clinic near you to speak with a Professional Physical Therapist and lower back pain specialist today.
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