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"Slipped Disc: Causes & Symptoms"

A slipped disc refers to a displacement of an intervertebral disc from its normal position.  This disc displacement can put severe pressure on nerve roots.

Causes for a slipped disc can be degenerative, traumatic (such as a MVA or falling injury), or due in part to postural dysfunction in sitting.

Slipped disc symptoms are back pain, leg pain, lower extremity weakness, and numbness or tingling in one or both legs.

Well as we are being honest, your disc never actually slipped at all.  The term slipped disc, is a layman’s term usually meant to describe a bulging disc or herniated disc.  People with a slipped disc usually present with back pain symptoms and/or sciatica.

There is however a big difference between a bulging disc and a herniated disc.  Each condition is sufficiently painful enough to put you on your back side for awhile.  Back pain therapy for a slipped disc can be quite simple, and in no way does the “disc” slip back into place.  As it were that simple, chiropractors would be more effective in the treatment of a slipped disc. 

Slipped Disc Treatment

You can render treatment for slipped disc back pain quite effectively at home.  I would recommend a multi-disciplinary approach; however, whenever possible.  This should include your physician, physical therapist, chiropractor, and perhaps even an acupuncturist.

Many back pain exercises can be beneficial for the treatment and relief of your slipped disc.  Although care must be used to avoid an exacerbation of your symptoms secondary to improper use of technique and form with each selected exercise.  Therefore, you may want to consult your physician prior to starting any slipped disc back pain exercise program.

I will warn you against performing back pain exercises for your Slipped Disc that institute a flexion pattern of your lumbar spine.  Exercises like crunches, single knee to chest and double knee to chest are contraindicated for your slipped disc.  Instead, focus treatment on extension exercises for your spine like those of the "prone press up".

1. McKenzie Method for Slipped Disc: These types of extension exercises are often referred to as the “McKenzie Method” of exercises.  Some physical therapists are even “McKenzie” certified.  It is possible to learn these types of back pain exercises on your own, and an excellent “how to” book by Robin McKenzie is available called “7 Steps To A Pain Free Life”.  Look for it as you are interested in learning more on how to cure your slipped disc from home via a self treatment option.

2. Positional Distraction Treatment for Slipped Disc: Another viable treatment option for your slipped disc is positional distraction.  This is sort of like traction, but not as aggressive.  And in my experience, much more beneficial since results typically are improved over those achieved by a traction table.  That is just my clinical experience talking as I do not have statistical data to back that up. You may want to try positional distraction for yourself to determine how much or how little it actually helps your slipped disc.

3. Cold Pack Treatment for Slipped Disc: It should be of no surprise that many people with a slipped disc reach for a hot pack for symptomatic relief.  As a physical therapist for over 14 years, I strongly urge against such a practice.  My clinical experience strenuously begs to differ.   A majority of the time, a cold pack or ice pack is the best course of action due to the enormous amount of inflammation taking place surrounding the slipped disc and possibly corresponding nerve root.

In conclusion, Healing back pain due to a slipped disc is possible with proper attention to a few of the above mentioned points.  I do caution you to quiet your activities and show patience during your recovery process.  It takes time, any you should take your “slipped disc” condition seriously.

It is always best to contact a qualified healthcare professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment of your condition.


Good Luck,

Tommy Hoffman

"Prone Press-Up" or "Upward Dog" Variation



Purpose: Decompress the lower lumbar spine. Great back pain exercise for a slipped disc. Works to drive the disc forward and away from the spinal nerve(s).


Lie face down on stomach, elbows bent, hands along side face.

Push up onto elbows, keep hips on the floor.

Do not force movement or go into pain.

Exhale completely at top position.

Return to start position.

Perform this technique for a slipped disc between 10 to 15 times.


Tommy Hoffman, P.T. By Tommy Hoffman, Licensed Physical Therapist



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