Looking for nonsurgical treatment to heal a herniated disc?
Dealing with a herniated disc can be a difficult and painful experience to go through.
This spinal condition occurs when the outer layer of a spinal disc is damaged, allowing the inner material to protrude outward. It can cause leg pain and other excruciating symptoms as it puts pressure on nearby nerves.
It's also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc and can occur anywhere along the spine but most commonly in the lower back.
When left untreated, a herniated disc can worsen, leading to long-term pain and disability. While many people turn to surgery for relief, some natural remedies can help provide relief from a herniated disc.
In this article, we'll discuss a few of these remedies and the benefits they provide.
How to Heal a Herniated Disc Naturally
Getting relief from a herniated disc requires a combination of disc treatments and lifestyle changes for the best results. Here are ways you can begin your journey to recovery:
Use heat therapy
Using heat therapy can be an effective way to relieve disc pain and discomfort from a herniated disc.
This simple disc treatment involves applying heat to the affected area to loosen tight muscles and promote circulation.
Try doing this for 15–20 minutes at a time, several times a day. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm baths as part of your heat therapy routine.
Apply ice cold packs
If heat therapy doesn't work for you, cold therapy may be a better option.
It works by numbing the affected area and temporarily reducing nerve activity. This can help relieve pain and reduce discomfort in the area.
You can try cold therapy for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. You can use ice packs or take cold baths as part of your cold therapy routine.
Engage in low-impact stretches
Engaging in low-impact stretching is also an effective way to reduce disk pain and discomfort from a herniated disc.
Low-impact stretches help to improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and increase muscle strength around the affected area. Stretching can also help to reduce muscle tension around the area and relieve pressure on the nerve roots caused by a herniated disc.
Popular stretches for a herniated disc include the cobra pose, knee-to-chest stretch, and cat-cow pose. Here's how to do each of these stretches:
One of the most popular stretches to naturally heal a herniated disc is the cobra pose.
To do it, lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you.
Then, slowly lift up your upper body while keeping your legs and hips flat on the ground. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds before slowly lowering back down.
Getting relief from a herniated disc can be achieved with the knee hug stretch.
To do this stretch, start by lying on your back and bringing one knee to your chest. Wrap your hands around your thigh and pull it towards your chest as you inhale deeply.
Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds before switching legs and repeating the same process.
While the cobra and knee hug stretches focus on one side of the body, the cat-cow pose focuses on both sides.
Performing this pose requires you to start on your hands and knees. As you inhale, arch your back like a cat and lift your head towards the sky.
As you exhale, round your spinal cord like a cow and tuck your chin towards your chest. Hold each pose for 10-15 seconds before repeating the process.
This way, you can relax your back and reduce the pressure on the herniated disc.
Visit a physical therapist
Physical therapy is the most popular and effective way to heal a herniated disc.
This nonsurgical treatment involves working with a physical therapist to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your lower back. This helps to reduce pain and discomfort while also improving the range of motion and flexibility in the back.
Your physical therapist may also teach you specific exercises to help further alleviate your pain.
See a chiropractor
If you're looking for a more hands-on approach to healing a herniated disc, you may want to consider seeing a chiropractor.
Chiropractic care involves manually manipulating your spinal cord to realign any vertebrae that may have become misaligned due to the herniated disc. This can help to alleviate pressure on sciatic nerves and improve mobility in the area.
Your chiropractor may suggest lifestyle changes or exercises to help you achieve long-term relief.
Try massage therapy
Massage therapy is one of the best ways to naturally heal a herniated disc.
It involves applying pressure to your lower back to release any tension and reduce disk pain. It can also help to improve flexibility in the area, which can further relieve any pressure on the nerves caused by a disc herniation.
When opting for massage therapy, you either go to a massage therapist or try self-massage at home. Using self-massage to heal your herniated disc can be done using a foam roller or massage gun.
Foam rollers are great for providing deep tissue massage and rolling out any tightness in your lower back. Massage guns, on the other hand, are highly effective as they provide deep-tissue massage with adjustable speeds and intensities.
Popular brands like FitGun Recovery offer a wide range of massage guns you can use to treat your herniated disc.
One of its most popular models, the FitGun Elite, features a powerful motor that reaches deep into your disc tissue to help reduce pain and restore mobility.
With the FitGun Elite, you also get a wide range of massage heads that you can use to relieve disk pain for a customized massage experience.
Let's look at some lifestyle changes you can make to heal a herniated disc.
Lifestyle Changes to Heal a Herniated Disc
While the natural treatments above can help to heal a herniated disc, there are a few lifestyle changes that you can make to speed up the process.
Some of them include the following:
Get enough rest
Imagine your body is like a car. When it's running low, you need to give it a period of time to recover and recharge.
The same applies to healing a herniated disc. You must incorporate rest days into your routine to ensure your body has the time to heal and recover from the injury. This can range from taking short breaks throughout the day to getting a good night's sleep.
Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night if you can. This way, you're giving your body enough time to rest and recuperate from disk herniation.
Work on correcting your posture
Another critical lifestyle change you can make to heal a herniated disc is improving your posture.
Sitting or standing in the wrong position is widely known to contribute to herniated disk because it puts extra pressure on your spinal column and the surrounding discs.
To correct this, you must first understand what good posture looks like. This entails keeping your head up and your shoulders back while maintaining a slight arch in your lower back.
Once you have the basics down, focus on strengthening your core and back muscles to help you maintain this posture. Try some exercises mentioned earlier in the article, such as knee hugs and cat-cow poses.
Avoid strenuous activities
If you find yourself engaging in strenuous physical activity when you have a herniated disc, you're likely to make the injury worse.
Strenuous activities can increase the pressure on your spine, slowing down any progress you've made in the healing process. These activities can include anything from lifting heavy objects to playing contact sports.
Instead, focus on low-impact normal activities that don't put too much pressure on your spine. Also employ proper lifting techniques when lifting objects and engaging in physical activity to keep your spine safe.
This way, you can build strength and stability in your lower back without worsening the herniated disc with high-impact activity levels.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
What you eat can also impact and speed up the overall healing process for a herniated disc.
The best way to do this is by following an anti-inflammatory diet full of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Specific fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, avocado, and salmon are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids which can help heal a herniated disc. Avoid processed food and added sugars, as they can contribute to inflammation.
Keeping your body well hydrated
Keeping your body well-hydrated is another essential part of the healing process when treating a herniated disc.
Dehydration can lead to inflammation, which can make the injury worse. Make sure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water every day.
For extra hydration, you can also incorporate other beverages such as herbal tea and diluted fruit juices into your daily diet. This will help flush out toxins from your body, which can help reduce inflammation in the discs around your spine.
Stay away from caffeine
Staying away from caffeine is also a meaningful lifestyle change that can help heal a herniated disc.
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which can cause inflammation and muscle weakness around your lumbar spine. This can make it difficult for the herniated disc to heal properly. Caffeine also has diuretic effects, which can cause dehydration and make the injury worse.
Instead of caffeine, try drinking herbal teas or decaf coffee. This way, you can still get a pick-me-up without putting extra stress on your spine.
Drinking alcohol can also slow down the healing process for a herniated disc.
Alcohol is known to be a depressant, which means it can affect your nervous system and how you feel. This can lead to poor sleep quality, fatigue and increased inflammation, all of which are not conducive to speeding up the healing process for a herniated disc.
By avoiding alcohol for the time being, you can help fast-track the natural healing process for a herniated disc.
These are just a few lifestyle changes you can make to help heal a herniated disc without permanent damage. Following these tips gives your body the best chance of recovering for an improved quality of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions on healthy ways to heal a herniated disc, you'll find the answers here.
We'll dissect some of the most commonly asked questions we get so you can make an informed decision.
How long does it take to heal a herniated disc?
How long it takes to heal your herniated disc can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the individual person.
Generally speaking, a herniated disk takes about 4-6 weeks to fully heal. However, a small percentage of patients may need more time to experience a full recovery.
If after this time period you are still experiencing symptoms, it’s best to consult a health care for physical examination.
How long is it safe to use massage tools to heal a herniated disc?
Using massage tools to heal a herniated disc is generally safe if you stick to the recommended time and intensity.
Generally speaking, powerful deep-tissue massage tools like massage guns can be used daily in 15-minute sessions. However, it is essential to monitor your body's reaction to the massage and take breaks if need be.
This way, you can ensure that your body gets the most benefit from your massage and can heal as quickly as possible.
After I heal a herniated disc, will it return?
After you heal a herniated disc, the risk of it returning is usually low.
However, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce the risk of it recurring in the future.
First, practice good posture and work on strengthening your core muscles by doing low-impact exercises like yoga or Pilates. This will help improve your posture and strength, which can make it more difficult for the herniated disc to occur again.
Second, avoid repetitive motions or activities that involve heavy lifting. Putting too much strain on your back can increase your risk of developing a herniated disc in the future.
When is surgery necessary to heal a herniated disc?
Surgery should be considered a last resort when it comes to healing a herniated disc.
Surgery should only be considered in cases where other treatments, such as physical therapy, lifestyle changes and medications, have failed to provide adequate relief. Typically, surgery is recommended when the herniated disc is causing severe pain or spinal nerve damage that does not improve over time.
In many cases, surgery can provide relief and help you get back to feeling like your old self. But always ensure you get a second opinion or medical advice from a trusted health care provider before proceeding with any surgical procedure.
Your medical history, lifestyle and overall health will all be taken into account before deciding whether or not to pursue surgery.
Hope this article has helped you understand the healthy ways to heal a herniated disc.
While it may take some time and effort to recover fully, simple natural methods can help your body heal faster and more effectively.
Some include using heat and cold therapy, taking medications, engaging in low-impact exercises, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments or massage therapy. These treatments can help reduce your pain and improve the overall healing process.
You can also use massage tools to help reduce pain and speed up healing.
To benefit most from these treatments, remember to incorporate lifestyle changes like good posture, regular exercise and avoiding activities that strain your back. This way, you can keep your herniated disc from recurring and live a life of comfort.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our team for more personalized advice.