The Herniated Disc

By Ehren Allen, PT, CMT

The Herniated Disc of the Spine

A diagnosis of a “protruded “or herniated disc indicates where a discs inner material has pushed through torn fibers in the disc against the outer wall creating the “herniation.”

Due to the anatomy of the spine and close proximity to the spinal nerves, irritation or compression can occur of the nerve root.

The degree of herniation can effect whether the patient experiences just pain and numbness in the limb.  The actual muscle weakness of the muscles supplied by the nerve affected.
A familiar term of “sciatica” can result from a herniated disc in the lower back, giving symptoms down the back of the leg.  Therefore, this pain down is a symptom that the condition is getting worse.  The goal in therapy is to centralize the pain to the low back.

Herniated Disc

Image of Herniated Disc


The Treatment of Herniated Discs

Treatment for less severe disc herniation can include physical therapy.  Pt will address core stability, flexibility, posture, ergonomics, and pain. Injections to decrease inflammation that leads to pain can also be given, which can help resolve symptoms in a lot of cases.

A larger herniation that compresses the nerve with resulting muscle weakness.  A herniation where symptom resolution can’t be achieved conservatively, may require surgery. A procedure known as a “discectomy” is performed to remove the part of the disc pressing on the nerve.

Maintaining good body mechanics and core stability and flexibility is important.  In conjunction with a healthy weight, are all factors that contribute to a healthy spine.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about low back pain, go to:

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