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Can physical therapy help treat a herniated disk?

ANSWER

Some exercises can help improve the symptoms of a herniated disc. A physical therapist can teach you which ones strengthen the muscles that support your back. Physical therapy programs also include:

  • Stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible
  • Aerobic exercises -- such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle
  • Massage
  • Ice and heat
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Electrical muscle stimulation

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Herniated Disk."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery: "Herniated Disk in the Lower Back."

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: "Herniated Disk."

Cleveland Clinic: "Herniated Disk." "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medicines (NSAIDs)."

Mayo Clinic. “Herniated Disk.”

North American Spine Society: "Lumbar (Open) Microscopic Diskectomy."

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Surgery for Herniated Disk."

Radiological Society of North America, Inc.: "Epidural Injections."

Temple University Health System: "Herniated Disk Surgery."

University of Michigan: "Lumbar Herniated Disk: Should I Have Surgery?"

Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center: "Herniated Disk."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on November 12, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Herniated Disk."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery: "Herniated Disk in the Lower Back."

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: "Herniated Disk."

Cleveland Clinic: "Herniated Disk." "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medicines (NSAIDs)."

Mayo Clinic. “Herniated Disk.”

North American Spine Society: "Lumbar (Open) Microscopic Diskectomy."

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Surgery for Herniated Disk."

Radiological Society of North America, Inc.: "Epidural Injections."

Temple University Health System: "Herniated Disk Surgery."

University of Michigan: "Lumbar Herniated Disk: Should I Have Surgery?"

Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center: "Herniated Disk."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on November 12, 2018

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Can epidurals treat a herniated disk?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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