Herniated discs can occur more often in the neck or lower back. Most of these conditions heal in six to eight weeks. A herniated disc is when the disc’s outer layer is damaged and allows its inner material to protrude or herniate into surrounding nerves. A herniated disc may also radiate pain into surrounding soft tissues. A herniated lumbar disc can cause lower back pain in as high as 3% of people. However, those with a herniated disc may be able to use these tips to speed up the healing process.
How long does it take for a herniated disc to heal?
The average time it takes for a herniated disc to heal is between six and eight weeks. Patients with this condition usually heal well without the need for surgery. You can help your herniated disc heal quicker by taking these steps:
- Do not return to your normal activities too quickly – Herniated discs can be caused by lifting large objects of poor form. You may also experience them from other types of physical activity. You may need to take time off from these activities in order to reduce your recovery time.
Your physical therapist will help you determine which activities are safe while you recover. You can also get an idea of when your normal activities can resume.
- How to manage your weight Your healing disc can be put under more stress if you are overweight. This can slow down your healing process. You can avoid a prolonged recovery period by consulting a physical therapist who can help you manage your weight.
- Regularly going to physical therapy – Many people don’t realize how beneficial physical therapy can prove to be for a herniated disc. There are many benefits to physical therapy, including:
- Reduce your pain
- Improve mobility
- Increasing function
- Decreased recovery time
- Preventing future injuries.
You can also heal your herniated disc without surgery by taking additional steps
A common goal for someone with a herniated disc is to reduce recovery time. Here are some steps you can take to help you achieve this goal:
- Bed rest should be limited – Old-school herniated disc treatments required weeks of bed rest. Most doctors recommend that you stay still for a few days. They recommend that you stay active for as long as possible, and only rest when necessary.
- You should only do short bursts of activity after you have a herniated disc. You should instead aim for short, intense activity that is followed by a short rest. This will help you to avoid pain and keep your muscles strong.
- Do not lift heavy objects – Lifting heavy objects can often cause a herniated disc in the lumbar region. It’s best to wait for a professional to clear you before lifting any heavy objects. You could increase the severity of your injury or prolong your recovery time by not doing so.
What can physical therapists do to help you achieve these benefits?
A physical therapist can reduce the time it takes for herniated discs to heal by reducing the need for surgery. They offer a variety of therapy options that can help. Physical therapists may use the following therapy methods to treat herniated discs:
- Manual therapy
- Therapeutic use
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM)
- Trigger point release
- Training in spinal stabilization