6 Signs that your low back pain is a disc herniation

Muscle Strain, Bulging Disc, or Disc Herniation

Are you experiencing low back pain and have wondered how I know if I have a bulging disc, herniated disc, or muscle strain. See the following signs and symptoms to help you understand your low back pain.

Muscle strain

  • Pain with movement only
  • Traumatic event prior to experiencing pain
  • Improves with moist heat
  • Improves with NSAIDS

Bulging Disc

  • Sharp or burning pain in the center of the back or just to the side of the spine
  • Pain is worse when sitting
  • Pain worse with forward bending movement in sitting or standing

Disc Herniation

  • Burning or sharp pain that goes into the buttock or leg down the back or front of the leg
  • Pain worse with sitting and standing
  • Pain worse with sneezing, coughing, or during bowel movement
  • Numbness in leg
  • Weakness in leg
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function

When should you seek immediate medical attention? This is a Medical Emergency go tho the ER

  • If you are experiencing loss of bowel and bladder function
  • Numbness in leg
  • Muscle weakness in the leg
  • Paralysis of muscles in the leg
  • numbness in both inner thigh region

Back Pain Statistics

If you are experiencing low back pain, you are not alone. According to Georgetown Unversity, 65 million Americans complain of experiencing low back pain in a year. Low back pain is the leading cause of missed work days and results in high medical costs. You can learn more at https://hpi.georgetown.edu/backpain/.

Who Can Treat Low Back Pain?

  • Physical Therapist
  • Chiropractors
  • Neurologist
  • Primary Care Doctors
  • ER for Emergencies

At Lifestyle Physical Therapy, Our Doctors of Physical Therapy are experienced and will evaluate you to see if physical therapy or seeing a neurologist is the best immediate treatment plan. Don’t suffer from back pain there is hope to return to an active Lifestyle without back pain.

To Set up an appointment text or call 803-831-1454. Tarsha and Sydnee are ready to take your call.

These tips are not to replace recommendations by your physical therapist or physician. Never start a new exercise routine without consulting your physician, physical therapist, or personal trainer. 

The 3 Best Stretches and Tips to Know When and How to Stretch Safely.

The need for stretching before or after exercise has come into question in the last few years. Learn about different types of stretches and when to apply them before and after exercise.

6 Ways to Manage Painful Trigger Points

What is a trigger point?

Travell and Simons defined a Trigger point as, a hyperirritable spot in the muscle belly that elicits a pain response somewhere else when compressed. Pressure on the trigger point can produce a muscle twitch as well.

All of us have trigger points throughout our bodies, but they are not painful. Life, toxins, and injury can result in exciting the trigger points. The trigger point can then create satellite trigger points; which can result in pain and muscle spasms.

Managing trigger points can improve the performance of the muscle and reduce overall pain in the body.

Self-manage trigger points in the following ways:

1. Self-trigger point release with:

  •   Tennis ball
  •   Lacrosse ball
  •   Spiny ball
  •   Theracane

2. Roll tissues after exercise and athletic performance with:

  •  Foam roller
  • Massage stick

3. Compression or vibration Therapy:

  • Hypervolt vibration tool
  • Minisphere vibration tool
  • Theragun

When self-treatment does not work it is time to seek professional help:

  1. Dry Needling – Physical Therapy
  2. Deep Tissue Massage – Massage Therapist
  3. Graston Technique or instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization – Physical Therapy

These tips are not to replace recommendations by your physical therapist or physician. This is for information only.  Never start a new self-treatment routine without consulting your physician or physical therapist.

Prehabilitation Physical Therapy improves recovery after surgery

What is Prehabilitation Physical Therapy?

Prehabilitation is seeing a physical therapist before surgery to improve the outcome of surgery.

Who should receive it?

If your surgery is postponed or you are scheduled for surgery, then Prehabilitation(Prehab) Physical therapy is right for you.  It can be frustrating to prepare for surgery, have a negative COVID test, and then be told your surgery is elective and is postponed. You don’t have to fret because you can take control of your situation and enter into Prehabilitation Physical Therapy to prepare for your upcoming surgery.

Does research support it?

The research is limited, but there is moderate evidence that a person receiving prehabilitation experiences a better surgical outcome. My 30 years of experience support that individuals receiving prehabilitation have less pain, experience faster strength gains, and return to life quicker after surgery. It really makes sense that when you are strong, properly nourished, have a positive outlook, and have good blood flow, the better your healing is going to be.

What type of treatment do you receive?

  • Pain management with modalities
  • Pain education to reduce Post Operative pain response
  • Graded Exercise to Strengthen weakened muscles or awaken Inhibited muscles.pr
  • Education in what to expect after surgery, so you can plan
  • Reduce soft tissue restrictions that are limiting movement and muscle activation
  • Increase endurance and fitness level
  • Train in how to use crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs
  • Education in Post-surgical precautions
  • Train family in how to assist you in your Home Exercise Program.

Why should I do Physical Therapy prior to my surgery?

Research has shown that Prehabilitation reduces your downtime after surgery and improves your response to surgery.

  • We can help you plan and find ways to reduce your pain with modalities and mindfulness to reduce your need for opiate medication.
  • Your muscles will become inhibited from the surgery and pain. Strengthening your muscles and activating muscles that are inhibited prior to surgery will reduce their inhibition after surgery.
  • Improving tolerance to movement and exercise prior to surgery will reduce downtime after surgery.
  • Learning your Home exercises prior to surgery will allow for better understanding and compliance with exercises after surgery. It is difficult to remember what you have been taught to do after surgery while you are medicated and recovering from anesthesia.
  • Prior to surgery, we can work with you to reduce soft tissue restrictions. After surgery, our focus is modeling where the scar tissue from surgery lays down, so it does not limit your motion. After surgery, the healing process limits us from reducing tissue restrictions close to the surgical site for 6 to 8 weeks. Waiting means more time in physical therapy, after your surgery.

Does Insurance cover it?


If your surgery has been postponed or you have an upcoming surgery take control of your rehabilitation and get started with Prehabilitation Physical Therapy. We are here to help you get back to life as quickly as possible. To learn more you can set up a free Discovery visit with Dr. Hartlage or Dr. Hixson. Call or text our offices at 803-831-1454 to schedule an appointment or free discovery visit. Simply comment below if you would like to further discuss Prehabilitation Physical Therapy or visit our website to start chatting.

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Wynter-Blyth, VenetiaMoorthy, Krishna.(Aug. 8 2017) Prehabilitation: preparing patients for surgery. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online); London Vol. 358, 

 Giis C., Li C., Lee L., et al. (2014) Prehabilitation vs rehabilitation, a randomized control trial in patients undergoing colorectal resection for cancer. Anesthesiology. 2014; 121937-947

This Article is intended for education Purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or provide guidelines for treatment. Consult a physical therapist and a physician prior to starting any new exercise or rehabilitation program