Physical Therapy For Herniated Disc

Back Surgery Information

As health care costs rise, conservative treatments, such as physical therapy for herniated disc, are being prescribed in lieu of surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, four out of five Americans will suffer from disabling back pain during their lifetimes. U.S. spending for back care soared between 1997 and 2005, reaching $86 billion.

Despite sky-rocketing costs for invasive herniated disc surgery, a 2008 study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reveals that the increase in spending for back care occurred "without evidence of corresponding improvement" in the health of patients.

"Intense pain is not necessarily an indication for surgery," says Dr. Richard Deyo, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University and one author of the study, You Can't Fix Everything with a Knife.

Possibly the greatest controversy concerning treatment of herniated disc involves an invasive surgery called spine fusion. This surgery attempts to relieve back pain by permanently connecting, or fusing, several levels of bone in your spine. Although other surgical procedures for severe back pain have remained relatively constant in recent years, the number of spine fusion surgeries continues to rise. This complex surgery can cost upwards of $80,000 and is performed twice as often in the United States as in Europe, Australia and New Zealand; and five times more often than in the United Kingdom.

As America’s federal health care legislation continues to be rolled out, physicians and hospitals may be required to prove the cost-effectiveness of their services. With that requirement in mind, the New England HealthCare Institute estimates the United States could save approximately $1 billion a year by eliminating unnecessary back surgeries.

Physical therapy for herniated disc is an excellent alternative to back surgery and is commonly prescribed for patients with a herniated disc. A physician-prescribed physical therapy program may assist in calming back pain and inflammation; improving your mobility and strength; and helping your daily tasks become easier.

Physical therapy sessions are designed to help control your symptoms, enabling you to resume normal activities as quickly as possible. Exercises center on strengthening and conditioning of targeted muscles. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to teach you how to effectively take care of your back through safe exercise and self-care when symptoms flare up. Therapy sessions may be scheduled as often as your physician prescribes.

The goals of physical therapy are to assist you in:

learning ways to manage your condition and control symptoms

resuming suitable activity levels

learning proper posture and body movements to reduce strain on your back

maximizing your flexibility and strength

It is estimated that 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point during their life.

Although back pain is a common condition it can also be a very complicated condition to manage.

However, studies show that up to 90% of people with acute back pain will heal on their own regardless of treatment.

All things considered, physical therapy for herniated disc can be an excellent option for back pain sufferers.