Things to Try Before Getting Back Surgery on a
What to try before you have back surgery on your
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
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
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
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
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
WHAT TREATMENT IS BEST?
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.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A THERAPIST?
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
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/fitness-articles/
About the Author
Natalie Szmerling Physiotherapist & Pilates
Instructor Fixes Aching Bodies