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Can Massage Be a Good Form of Therapy for Herniated Discs?


11.9 - Does-Massage-Help-a-Herniated-Disc

Massage therapy has a long history of being an effective way to deal with an assortment of aches and pains. As for whether massage therapy can be beneficial for a herniated disc, there is no clear answer. For some people with mild symptoms or a spinal disc that is not severely herniated or damaged, massage therapy can be effective. This article explains what you need to know about massage therapy and herniated discs.

Massage Therapy Defined

Massage therapy refers to the gentle manipulation of soft tissues. It can be performed manually with hand and palm pressure or with the use of specialized tools that target deeper tissues around the area where the
herniated disc is located. In some cases, heat is used along with massage therapy to increase circulation and promote healing of tissues around the affected spinal disc. The approach to massage therapy, if it is determined it may benefit you, is based on several factors, including: 

  • The extent of the damage to the spinal disc
  • Where the spinal disc is located
  • Your overall health and wellbeing
  • Your personal preferences

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Herniated Discs

Massage therapy has the potential to ease protruding disc material back inside the affected spinal disc. This can lead to noticeable relief from your symptoms. In fact, you may even be able to avoid surgery. However, surgery may also be avoidable if massage therapy is helpful in other ways, with possibilities including: 

  • Easing soft tissue strain 
  • Reducing instances of muscle spasms in the affected area
  • Relieving pressure on the nearby sciatic nerve 
  • Promoting relaxation, since the stimulation from massage therapy promotes the release of "feel-good" hormones that naturally ease pain
  • Increasing blood flow and circulation
  • Stimulating and accelerating the body's natural healing process

Everyone experiences different results from massage therapy for back and spinal disc issues. Even so, it is worth noting the relaxation that results from massage therapy can certainly be beneficial, since tension and stress can play a role in how you experience spinal disc pain.

Massage Therapy as a Safe Treatment for Most Patients

For many people with herniated spinal discs, it is safe to try massage therapy as part of a physical therapy program. However, it is best not to have massage therapy separately, which may be the case if you go to an independent massage therapist. This could potentially risk offsetting some of the benefits of other aspects of your therapy plan if the massage therapy is not incorporated correctly into your overall routine.

If you have a herniated disc that is not responding to conservative treatment, a discectomy may be discussed and potentially recommended. Although this is generally a very successful
back surgery procedure, having a large hole in the outer ring of the disc more than doubles the risk of needing another operation. A new treatment, Barricaid, is a bone-anchored device that closes this hole, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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