How can a patient do physical therapy for a herniated disc if it hurts too much to exercise?
What if you have a herniated disc and find that the physical therapy exercises are impossible to do because you can’t get into the position without a lot of pain? Should you just grin and bear it?
Or does the pain mean that the exercise is actually making things worse for the disc?
First off, you certainly do not want to hastily make the decision to undergo surgery just so that you can avoid physical therapy.
People who have surgery to repair a herniated disc will still be required to stick to a physical therapy program.
And surgery is never a picnic.
How to Deal with the Pain of Physical Therapy for a Herniated Disc
“Physical therapy is employed to diminish pain and suffering,” says Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, who specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, laminectomies and spinal fusions, and is author of the book, “Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine.”
“Unfortunately, especially in the phases of pain, just touching the involved spinal area may lead to further pain and tenderness.
“I encourage my clients to stay with the therapy at this point, since the therapy will lead to diminished inflammation and restoration of function along with further tolerance of therapy.”
In other words, before progress is to be felt, the patient may have to endure some inconvenience.
Pain does not always mean that something is getting injured or made worse.
In this case it would mean that the physical therapy is involving the compromised structures — and of course there will be some hurting. But stick it out; give it a chance.
In addition to the physical therapy for your disc herniation, you can implement the use of heat packs and stretching exercises to combat pain. Below are a few stretching exercises.