This Dr. David Middaugh of El Paso Manual Physical Therapy.
I wanted to answer a question for you about herniated discs.
Somebody asked us today online, “What should I do if I have a herniated disc?”
I shared with this woman 3 tips that she needs to know moving forward since she’s got a herniated disc.
She had disc herniations at L4/L5 and L5/S1.
Just to show you where that is exactly, in the lower back, it’s the first bottom disc and the one right above it.
Here’s what I told her:
#1 – Don’t Panic.
A lot of people have herniated discs and DO NOT have pain.
We know this from research.
There’s people that have zero back pain, they get an MRI and actually show that they have a herniated disc in their back.
There’s a ton of reasons why your back might hurt.
There’s other things back there that could be causing the pain, like muscles, the joints, the ligaments, the nerves.
There’s a bunch of reasons why your back can hurt and just because you have a herniated disc doesn’t mean that, that’s the reason your back pain is there.
#2 Avoid Twisting.
Now even if your herniated disc is not the reason for your back pain….
You still have a herniation, which means there’s some damage there (but it may not be the reason that you’re hurting.)
You want to NOT make that disc any worse and have it become the main source of your pain, so you should avoid repeated twisting, and twisting while you’re carrying something heavy.
Some examples of repeated twisting are sweeping and mopping. It involves a lot of twisting your back and it can really aggravate a back problem in the long term.
Then, the other thing is holding something heavy and twisting.
This can happen a lot of times while working out in the gym, or even doing chores at home like picking up a heavy laundry basket and setting it over somewhere.
Those things can actually make herniated discs worse over time so you want to avoid those.
#3 – Discs Can Heal.
If you put them in the right environment and you do the right things, you can actually make your disc get better over time.
Now that doesn’t mean that the disc herniation is going to shrink or go away necessarily, it just means that if it is actually causing your pain you can set yourself up so that, that disc is no longer irritated and feeding into the problem.
We do this all the time here in the clinic.
What I would recommend if you’ve got a disc problem is talk to an expert so that you know without a shadow of a doubt what you should be doing to make sure that this disc problem isn’t getting any worse.
Guys, I hope this helps.
Have a wonderful day.