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All you need to know about herniated disc

Updated: Mar 30

A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc, is a condition when softer inner cartilage protrudes through the tougher outer layer that is cracked. The most common symptom is back pain; however, in some cases, you may feel nothing until the condition progresses.

What causes disk herniation?

Discs lay between each of the vertebrae, and they are shock absorbance of the spine. A herniated disk may be caused by a single shock, like exercise, a sudden twist of the spine, weight lift and other mechanical causes, but the root cause is the long time deterioration of the disks. When people age, discs lose their liquid, thus elasticity; and a rupture occurs at some point. The jellylike central part of the disc then protrudes through this damaged area. When it happens, the protrusion may press the nerve or cause inflammation in a nerve root, which in turn creates pain in different parts of the body.


Depending on the severity of herniation and the position of a herniated disc, you can feel pain in arms or legs, neck, lower back. The pain area also depends on whether a herniated disc presses a nerve or not. The pain area occurs where the nerve travels in the body. Usually, the pain affects one part of the body.

Leg and arm pain: You may feel a leg or thigh pain if a herniated disk is situated in your lower back. If the neck disc is damaged, you may feel pain in a shoulder and an arm.

Low back pain or neck pain: Local low back pain or neck pain is the most common symptom of a herniated disc. You may feel continuous or reoccurring pain attacks in one or several areas of the spine.

Numbness or tingling: As herniation may affect nerves, the brain sends different types of signals. If you have numbness in hands, or it is difficult to type, you may consider looking for spinal damage.

Weakness: Foot weakness is another symptom that is ignored easily. Affected area causes your muscles to weaken because damaged nerves serve them.


Doctors recommend surgery if the condition is severe, and other conservative options did not work. At other times, a patient may request surgery because he or she cannot perform their daily activities, and they have to return to the job. However, physical therapy, medications are the most common way to go if you have a herniated disk.

Physical therapy has many tools to ease or eliminate pain, prevent further progress of the condition and help to develop a lifestyle that will suit the best interests of a patient. Physiotherapy types can be active or passive, based on the patient’s active involvement in the process. Physiotherapy services are at Hydroactive include but not limited to:

Passive therapy:

Interferential Current Therapy: We apply electrodes to relieve the pain and treat the damaged area. This is a type of passive therapy.

Manual Therapy and Massage: Mobilization, manipulation of the tissue muscles are part of this therapy. Massage therapy has various types, but deep tissue massage is the best to treat a herniated disc. It helps to reduce deep muscle spasms and pain.

Therapeutic Ultrasound: High- frequency sound waves are used to treat the damaged areas.

Active therapy:

Aqua therapy: Aquatherapy has countless benefits for people with many types of back pain conditions, as well as for disk herniation. Why? It is the best to relieve the pain, keep yourself active and strengthen muscles without extra pain and weight pressure on your spine. We have many articles devoted to the advantages of aqua therapy when it comes to working with painful conditions. Please, check our blog posts for more information.


The best way to prevent disk herniation is to have a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. A good posture and a healthy weight are also essential to consider if you want to prevent back and spinal problems in a long time. Mayoclinic suggests to give up using tobacco products to avoid a herniated disk.

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