Herniated Disc and Back Pain – How Physiotherapy can Help?

Discs are shock absorbing cushions positioned in the spine between two bones. The tear in the layers of the discs causes pain and nerves pinching. Reasons could be natural aging process, any spinal trauma, repetitive stress, unhealthy body weight, poor nutrition, tobacco use or genetics.


The symptoms would depend on which level of the spine the disc is prolapsed.

The initial warning signs triggered by a bulging disc can include:

  • Pain that travels to the extremities
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness

These symptoms may begin at the site of the nerve compression, usually in the lower back (lumbar) or neck (cervical) regions of the spine. However, they can also spread along the nerve pathway and into the closest extremity. For example, a bulging disc in the lower back may cause symptoms in the lower back, buttocks, leg and foot.

When this condition is left untreated, it get worse and Surgery could be the only resort. So address the symptoms and Visit a Physiotherapist.

How can Physiotherapist Help?

Physiotherapists are qualified professionals to diagnosis the condition. Always get yourself diagnosed by a qualified professionals rather than banking on self-diagnosis as it may create more problems. Physiotherapist will 1) Diagnose the condition 2) Educate you about the present situation and mentions Do’s and Dont’s and 3) Treatment you to reduce pain and to prevent recurrence.

STEP 1: History Taking

Physiotherapist will spend time with you talking about your History, pain, condition and how it is bothering you. Once she has collected enough data, she will move to STEP 2

STEP 2: Physical Examination.

Your Physiotherapist will perform various tests to check your range of motion, strength, flexibility, special tests to rule out any other conditions and come to a diagnosis.

STEP 3: Education about the condition

Your Physiotherapist will explain you all the findings she observed, the severity of the condition and how to treat it so that you can get ride of it.

Step 4: Treatment

The treatment is focused and changes depending on your pain level, your comfort and severity of the condition;

Reduce pain and other symptoms. Your physiotherapist will help you understand how to avoid or modify the activities that caused the injury, so healing can begin. Your physical therapist may use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain and symptoms.

Improve posture. If your physiotherapist finds that poor posture has contributed to your herniated disc, the therapist will teach you how to improve your posture so that pressure is reduced in the injured area, and healing can begin and progress as rapidly as possible.

Improve motion. Your physiotherapist will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in any stiff joints. These might begin with “passive” motions that the therapist performs for you to move your spine, and progress to “active” exercises and stretches that you do yourself. You can perform these motions at home and in your workplace to help hasten healing and pain relief.

Improve flexibility. Your therapist will determine if any of the involved muscles are tight, start helping you to stretch them, and teach you how to stretch them at home.

Improve strength. If your therapist finds any weak or injured muscles, your physical therapist will choose, and teach you, the correct exercises to steadily restore your strength and agility. For neck and back disc herniations, “core strengthening” is commonly used to restore the strength and coordination of muscles around your back, hips, abdomen, and pelvis.

Improve endurance. Restoring muscular endurance is important after an injury. Your physiotherapist will develop a program of activities to help you regain the endurance you had before the injury, and improve it.

Learn a home program. Your therapist will teach you strengthening, stretching, and pain-reduction exercises to perform at home. These exercises will be specific for your needs; if you do them as prescribed by your physiotherapist, you can speed your recovery.

Return to activities. Your physiotherapist will discuss your activity levels with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. Your treatment program will help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible. For spine injuries like a herniated disc, your therapist may teach you proper “body mechanics”—correct ways to perform tasks and lift heavy objects—that will help protect your spine from further injury.

Once your pain is gone, it will be important for you to continue your new posture and movement habits to keep your back healthy and pain free.


Physiotherapist are the qualified professionals to consult when in pain. They will thoroughly examine you and come to a diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis and all the finding she found, a treatment plan will be tailored for you, helping you to get better faster.

Dr. Mansi Parikh,

Co-Founder EndoRush App.