A recent study conducted by Acta Orthopaedica Belgica, the official journal of the Belgian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, reveals that physical therapy as part of a “conservative treatment” plan can improve outcomes for patients with lumbar disc herniation. For the study, the patients were evaluated on the first, third, and sixth month of conservative treatment, as well as on the first and second years of undergoing such treatment. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire was used in the study.

According to a New York Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy news release, “The authors set up a prospective study of the effect of conservative treatment on a ruptured lumbar disc herniation in 89 patients, between June 2008 and June 2010.” In the conservative treatment, patients were asked to perform muscle-strengthening exercises for the abdominals and lower back three times a day while taking celecoxib for 1 to 2 weeks, in addition to once a day of the mentioned physical therapy exercises while having 3 to 4 weeks of bed rest.

The New York Sports news release notes that the results of the study show that there was an improvement more than 75% that are tagged as “excellent,” greater than 50% considered it as “good,” and 25% considered fair. Overall, seventy-two patients (81%) improved, while the other 17 (19%) needed surgery.

The results of the study revealed that the JOA score (best possible result: 29) was found to be significantly improved in the 72 patients of the conservative group, at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, as indicated in the New York Sports news release. At final follow-up, after 2 years, 84.7% of the patients in the conservative group had a good or excellent result. In addition, the volume of the protrusion decreased significantly in the 72 patients of the conservative group.

[Source: New York Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy]