Disc Herniations

Physical Therapy for Disc Herniations in Kansas City

Herniated Disc Physical Therapy Program

Injuries to the intervertebral discs are often a result of repetitive trauma and long-term fatigue and can occur anywhere in the spine. Examples include sitting for long periods, poor posture, and work duties requiring excessive rounding of the low back. These injuries may also result from severe traumatic accidents such as a fall, car accidents, or any high impact forces applied to the neck or low back. Lumbar disc injuries often occur in those who spend long periods in lumbar flexion (i.e. sitting, bending over, etc), while cervical disc injuries can occur in those who display significant anterior head carriage (forward head posture). A herniated disc occurs when a “weak” point develops in the outer wall of the disc, the annular fibers. The nucleus of the disc, a dense fluid like gel, becomes displaced from the center of the intervertebral disc and creeps towards the outer edge, pushing up against the annular fibers. When the annular fibers become weak, the gel filled center travels outward putting pressure on the nerves, thus creating pain.

Symptoms of
Disc Herniations

Disc herniations typically produce pain that is more intense in the mornings and dissipates throughout the day. Pain typically worsens with sitting, rotating, or rounding of the lower back for long periods of time. Pain may be experienced within the neck or low back; however, pain is often associated with radicular symptoms within the extremities.

  • Back or neck pain
  • Pain that worsens with sitting, rotating or rounding of the lower back
  • Stiff/Restricted antalgic (leaning) posture
  • Numbness or tingling sensation down the leg or arm
  • Weakness in the leg or arm

Treatments for Disc Herniations

Physical therapy treatments for disc herniations in Kansas City include the McKenzie protocol, manual therapy, and rehabilitation exercises. These are powerful methods for treating disc herniations. Educating the patient on the mechanisms that lead to the injury is also part of the rehabilitation process. Disc herniation cannot be confirmed 100% without a MRI, but often MRIs are unnecessary unless one is experiencing progressive neurological symptoms or is not responding to conservative care measures. Our doctors will make the appropriate referral if imaging is necessary. In more extreme cases or in those that do not respond to conservative care, surgery may be necessary.

Our Treatment Process

Treatment focuses on eliminating pain, restoring function, and educating patients on the mechanisms which have lead to the dysfunction causing pain. Manual therapy (including joint mobilizations and/or adjustments and soft tissue work), rehabilitation exercises, and McKenzie Method are powerful, non-invasive physical therapy treatment procedures for disc herniations.

Core stabilization and DNS exercises are key to help provide support to the injured and “weak” area to not only help with symptom relief but also prevent further problems and future injury.

Possible Treatments for a herniated disc

For other treatment options, check out our chiropractic services for a  herniated disc.

Active Release Technique

physical therapy as part of your normal routine

Rehabilitation Exercises

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there exercises for herniated discs?

Yes. After visiting with one of our physical therapists, we will equip you with disc herniation exercises that are specific to your case.

Can you tell me if I need herniated disc surgery?

Most herniated discs can be treated conservatively, but in rare occasions the disc can extrude and require surgical intervention. Imaging would be required for confirmation. We often do a trial period prior to ordering imaging to see if you improve with conservative treatment.

I have a slipped disc. Can FIT help me?

Yes - we have helped provide relief to many individuals across Kansas City who have experienced a slipped disc.

have you experienced a disC herniation?

Take a couple of minutes to tell us about your symptoms and pain areas. Prefer to chat over the phone? Call us for a free phone consultation.

Virtual Consultation

Visit your local F.I.T. Physical Therapist

Meet the team at any of our 10 locations: Lee’s Summit, Crossroads, Blue Valley, Olathe, Leawood, Paola, Overland Park, Liberty, Kansas City, & Shawnee.


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