Can physical therapy help heal an L3-L4 herniated disc?


Quick Answer

Physical therapy is one of the treatment methods for all herniated discs, including an L3-L4, according to About.com. Though physical therapy does not directly treat the disc, it helps to stabilize the lumbar spine muscles, keeping the disc protected.

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Full Answer

The treatment of an L3-L4 herniated disc depends on the patient's symptoms, age and activity level, states About.com. Rest and modifying activities are usually the first steps in healing a herniated disc. Many injured discs heal on their own in time. Individuals may speed up the healing process by applying ice and heat to the injured back. This helps to alleviate pain and relax the muscles.

Medications are also often used to treat an L3-L4 herniated disc, explains About.com. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are often given to patients in order to help with pain and inflammation. Some doctors also prescribe oral steroids such as Prednisone. Narcotics and muscle relaxers may also be given for the short-term, especially if the pain is severe and not eliminated by other types of medication. Epidural steroid injections are also available as a treatment in the form of cortisone. This helps to relieve the pressure on the nerve. Surgery is usually the final step of treatment, but it is only done if there is no improvement from other treatments.

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