Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

What are some common goals of lumbar herniated disc physical therapy?

Herniated Disc Physical Therapy

Dealing with a lumbar herniated disc can be painful and debilitating. It can keep you from sitting or walking comfortably. Fortunately, physical therapy can offer effective care for this condition. 

The lumbar region, also called the lower back, is a common place for herniated discs to develop. A herniated disc occurs when the disc’s outer shell is torn open or bulges in one direction. This allows the disc’s gel-like inner material to irritate the structures nearby. A medical source reveals that up to 20 in every 1,000 Americans develops a lumbar herniated disc annually. There are many ways that physical therapy can help address a lumbar herniated disc. 

Four goals of physical therapy for a lumbar herniated disc

Physical therapists are committed to helping you get the most effective care possible for your lumbar herniated disc. To honor this commitment, your physical therapist will create a custom treatment plan for you that seeks to reach goals like: 

  1. Reducing pain — Pain from a herniated disc in your lower back can keep you from walking even short distances. It can even make getting through a whole day of work more difficult. 

Your physical therapist will take steps to reduce the pain of your condition. Often, this will involve performing manual therapy techniques on your lower back. 

  1. Decrease nerve pinching — Sciatica, or a pinched sciatic nerve, is commonly caused by lumbar herniated discs. One study found that about 90% of sciatica cases stem from a herniated disc. 

Your physical therapist can provide help that aims to reduce the pinching of nerves near your injured disc. For instance, they may show you how to do therapeutic exercises designed to improve lumbar stability. 

  1. Easing muscle stiffness — The lack of movement and pain of a lumbar herniated disc can leave your lower back muscles stiff. This is an issue since stiff muscles can increase your symptoms. Techniques like aquatic therapy and myofascial release may be used by your physical therapist to ease your stiffness. 
  1. Improving muscle strength — Many people develop weakness in their lower back muscles. This weakness can be an even greater problem when you have a lumbar herniated disc. Your physical therapist can work to improve lower back muscle strength as part of your recovery plan. 


Strengthening exercises may first be done during aquatic therapy sessions. This is because the water helps support your body weight and reduces strain on your healing disc. Your therapist may then have you transition to land-based strengthening exercises. 

Find effective lumbar herniated disc physical therapy at Peak Performance

Are you looking to top-notch physical therapy for a lumbar herniated disc? Our team at Peak Performance Sports & Physical Therapy is primed to help you get the treatment you’re searching for.

We’ll start by doing a free screening of your lower back. This screening allows us to confirm that your symptoms are being caused by a lumbar herniated disc. Then, our team will construct an individualized physical therapy plan designed to help you meet all four of the goals above. You can even do physical therapy sessions right in your home if you sign up for virtual therapy appointments with us. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can treat your herniated disc or to schedule your initial appointment.