Rehabilitation of Herniated Disc
The symptoms of a herniated disc can range from extreme pain to no noticeable changes. Those suffering from herniated discs, or slipped discs, often endure chronic pain, muscle weakness or affected nerves which can interrupt daily activities. They are often caused by disc degeneration which is a result of gradual wear and tear.
For David, his herniated disc was disrupting his daily activities and his construction job. He was standing with his weight shifted to compensate for the pain, he was having sleeping problems and his hip flexors were tight. It came to the point where his doctors recommended surgery to give him some relief. He decided, instead, to try conservative treatment before diving into surgery, so he went to Veronica Paquette, PT, Owner of Essex Aquatic & Rehab Center in Essex Junction, VT. In order to decompress his lumbar spine, Veronica put him into the HydroWorx 500 Series pool so he could work on core and leg strength without the pressure on his back. Other advantages of putting him in the pool included loosening his tight muscles with the warmth of the water as well as providing natural resistance to movements he would do on land for further strengthening.
They focused on exercises that would strengthen his core, increase his flexibility and strengthen leg muscles. These protocols included:
- Walking on the underwater treadmill at 1.4 mph with progression up to 3.0 mph
- Side stepping on the underwater treadmill
- Backwards walking on the underwater treadmill
- Hamstring stretching using the raised platform and handrails
- Step ups
- Dumbbell fly using HydroTone dumbbells
- Push/Pull exercises
- Push Up/Down exercise to simulate lifting
- Abdominal rotations using noodles
- Bicycling using noodles
This list includes just a few of the protocols used during his sessions to improve his symptoms. David saw improvements by his second visit to the pool and ultimately was able to avoid having surgery thanks to his work in the pool combined with a postural restoration program. By the end of his rehabilitation he had increased overall strength and reported feeling 90% better! He also had eliminated his leg symptoms and back pain and increased his flexibility.
Veronica is confident in using aquatic therapy because it allows people to move without compensating. Once individuals are in the warm water, they are relaxed to do range of motion exercises that they may not be able to achieve on land. This allows patients to break the pain cycle and find relief!
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Watch videos of his rehabilitation below:
To learn more about changing gait patterns for patients, view our webinar “The Use of Hydrotherapy for Gait Re-Education” on-demand!
Page Updated on: July 7th, 2020
4 comments on “Rehabilitation of Herniated Disc”
Appreciable work was done by both Veronica and David. This case proves when proper cooperation between Doctor and Patient exists, diseases or health issues of patients can be relieved soon. Finally, herniated disc got cured without surgery.
I found these 2 videos very helpful. I have L4/5/s1 herniationso and currently cannot walk without compensating due to a good deal of pain. I have been doing deep water aqua jogging as this allows me to maintain a normal movement pattern. I can’t yet bring in the resistance work but when things improve I will be coming back to these videos and implementinget them into my rehab regime. Thank you.
Physical activity plays a major role in the maintenance of a durable spine. Strengthening the abdominal and back muscles offers spinal vertebrae and discs extra support in the management of the upper body. Consistent exercise may also allow you to reach and sustain an optimal weight, another significant factor contributing to spine wellbeing. If you’re carrying extra pounds, more tension is placed upon your spine, hastening the natural aging process.
Avoid high impact sports such as gymnastics, football or hockey, as falls and blows may lead to spinal injuries. Opt instead for vigorous activities that do not repetitively jog the spine, such as aerobic swimming, yoga and walking. If pain occurs during exercise, stop and inform your doctor.
Very good information. So true. I will share this.