Things to Try Before Getting Back Surgery on a Herniated Disc

Author: lazysubmit

What to try before you have back surgery on your herniated disc

If you or someone you care for is due for back surgery on a herniated disc, then this may be the most important letter you ever read.

Here’s why…Going straight in for back surgery on a herniated disc without taking some crucial steps to prepare can increase the already inherent risks of such surgery on general health.
Physiotherapy: Physiotherapists are experts at assessing and treating disorders of the spine. Getting professional help early can dramatically reduce your recovery time and get you back to work and sport more quickly. You will receive advice on exercises and movements to avoid, as well as those that encourage healing. Many physiotherapists are experienced at teaching pilates and can design a program to strengthen your back and prevent further injury in the future.
Pilates: While it may be the latest fashion in sports and exercise, there is real benefit to be found from Pilates. Pilates exercises are based on improving posture and strengthening the “core” muscles. Whenever there is an injury or pain in the lower back, the core muscles reflexively “switch off”; Pilates can help to “switch on” your core again after injury. A strong core will provide crucial support and reinforcement to the lower back. Make sure you participate in a Clinical Pilates class that is run by an experienced physiotherapist.

Heat packs: Physiotherapists will frequently recommend the use of heat packs as a self management strategy. Heat packs are a wonderful and simple pain relief device that have been used successfully for thousands of years. The application of heat will assist in reducing or blocking pain sensations to your brain and will also encourage tight muscles to relax. This will leave you with more movement and less pain.

Anti inflammatory medication: The natural response of the human body to any injury is the release of inflammatory cells. These irritate pain receptors in the injured area and create discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medication effectively blocks the pain receptors and decreases the pain sensation. They are especially useful if you are experiencing pain during the night. If you are asthmatic, suffer from stomach ulcers or are pregnant, check with your doctor before using anti-inflammatory medication.

Back brace: A brace can help to provide extra support to your back while it is recovering. It essentially provides the same kind of support your core muscles would provide when they are strong and functioning correctly. Many people report and immediate improvement on using a back brace .

Walking: Walking is a wonderful, low impact activity that can help to maintain fitness throughout your life. It is also excellent for your lower back. The movement of your legs encourages gentle movement of the pelvis and spine, thus reducing stiffness. Being in a standing position can also reduce the loads and forces on the disc, thereby encouraging healing and decreasing pain.
Get a few opinions: Have you really tried everything? Surgery of any sort always involves calculated risks that you must be fully aware of. Spinal surgery in particular can be risky, and a positive outcome is not always achieved. Be sure to try a number of conservative treatments (physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture) before you decide to walk down the path of surgery. For the majority, surgery can provide some relief but the degree of improvement varies from person to person. There are also cases of chronic pain that develop and persist after spinal surgery.

McKenzie Exercises: Robyn McKenzie is a physiotherapist from New Zealand who developed a system of assessing and treating spinal problems, including disc injuries. Her exercises and advice are based on positions and movements that encourage appropriate “re-positioning” of the disc fragments. Once the disc is sitting in its correct position, it will not be painfully impinging on nerves and tissues around the spine. Many physiotherapists are skilled in McKenzie therapy.
Hydrotherapy: Combining exercise in a warm environment where there is no gravity can be absolutely superb in relieving pain and improving your mobility. Hydrotherapy is an excellent place to begin rehabilitation exercises.
Avoid activities that irritate herniated discs: Whenever we “herniate” or “bulge” a disc, it is usually displaced either backwards or backwards and to the side. The following activities and positions can really irritate a disc problem: Sitting, Bending towards your toes, Bending forwards and twisting at the same time, Lifting, Driving long distances, Yard work, Gardening

The following can help to relieve pain and pressure on an injured disc: Laying on your tummy, standing up, Walking, McKenzie exercises, Pilates exercises with an “extension” bias (ask your pilates instructor or physiotherapist for more information).
In my experience as a physiotherapist, I have seen the majority of disc injury patients make an excellent recovery using the above conservative approaches.

As we are all unique individuals, what works for one person may not necessarily work with another. Of the treatments described, physiotherapy is widely recognized and accepted by western medicine. Chiropractic and Osteopathy are offshoots of western medicine dating back to the late 19th century but they are not overly supported by western medicine. Along with chiropractic and osteopathy, myotherapy is also considered a complementary health approach.

Always choose a therapist that is registered with a professional body (such as the Australian Physiotherapy Association). It is important to find a therapist who really cares about you and your injury. Be wary of practitioners who refute the value of other interventions. All philosophies and sciences have something unique and valuable, and in a comprehensive treatment plan, this will be acknowledged by a competent therapist.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/fitness-articles/

About the Author

Natalie Szmerling Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor Fixes Aching Bodies

Disclaimer Terms of UsePrivacy Policy

Copyright 2010, Physicaltheraphy.com