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Column How to Take a Bath for Patients with Disc Herniation



Most people think that taking a bath when they are suffering from back pain caused by disc herniation will relieve their symptoms, whereas in reality, there are some instances where it would be better to avoid bathing altogether because warming the back may exacerbate the pain.

In this article, we will discuss bathing when you are experiencing pain from a herniated disc.

When to bathe and when not to

To determine whether you should take a bath or avoid taking a bath, you should first examine the current stat of your symptoms.

If the back pain is a heavy dull ache, it is most likely due to muscle fatigue and may improve with a bath.

If sharp pain occurs with a change of posture or a sudden movement, tissue damage to the joints or bones are probable. When partial tissue damage is suspected, symptoms of inflammation are often present and may cause a localized sensation of heat. If you touch the area around the painful lower back with your hand and find it to be overly warm, this is an indication that inflammation is occurring. In such cases, avoid heating the area at all costs, including with baths. If there is pain due to inflammation, warming the area may aggravate the symptoms.

When you are unsure if you should take a bath

If you are not sure whether inflammation is occurring or not, it is always safer to refrain from taking a bath.

If symptoms worsen after bathing, it is also advisable to avoid taking baths for a period of time.

If disc herniation has not yet been diagnosed and you are experiencing back pain or other symptoms, the priority is to seek medical advice.

In case of acute lumbar disc herniation, avoid baths and stick to showers

In case of acute disc herniation, it is recommended to avoid taking a bath and take showers only.

In case of acute lumbar disc herniation, avoid baths and stick to showers

In case of acute disc herniation, it is recommended to avoid taking a bath and take showers only.

Acute lumbar disc herniation may also be referred to as a strained back.

The symptoms first appear in the legs as well as the lower back immediately after the disc has started protruding, which is why inflammation is occurring in the adjacent area. In this case, soaking in a bathtub may exacerbate the symptoms, so it is recommended to take a shower.

In addition, a bending forward will also cause the disc to protrude even more and worsen the symptoms, so take especially care when washing your head and feet.

In case of chronic lumbar disc herniation, hot water baths are preferable.

After the acute phase has passed, the pain will become chronic. Once a lumbar disc herniation has turned chronic, it is more effective to soak in a hot tub instead of taking a shower. Bathing improves the blood flow to the lower back and may also relieve sciatica.

Recommended bathing method

Bathing warms the affected area thoroughly, which improves blood circulation and reduces pain quickly.

Recommended water temperature, bath duration, and body posture

Warming the affected area for a long time or at a hot temperature may cause an inflammatory reaction, so the temperature should be lukewarm, and the bathing time should be limited to a moderate amount of time.

The optimal duration for a bath should be no longer than 15 to 20 minutes in warm water (40°C or lower). Higher temperatures or longer bath times should be proscribed.

The best posture is to bathe all the way up to the area around the solar plexus and to arch your body backward.

After sweating it out for some time, take a quick dip in the water up to the shoulders before exiting the bath.

Bathing on an empty stomach will consume your energy, so bathe when you are not too hungry.

Bathing in hot springs, or using bath salts

Onsen (hot springs) contain minerals and other beneficial elements that not only provide a warming effect, but also improve a variety of symptoms. If there is a hot spring nearby, you may improve your symptoms by taking a bath in a hot spring.

If there is no hot spring nearby, you can opt to use bath salts at home. In recent years, a variety of bath salts that enhance the thermal effect, such as carbon dioxide gas and hot spring mineral ingredients, have become available, and these may be used to warm the body and enhance the effects of bathing even in a low-temperature bath.

Stretching in the bathtub

If the bathtub is spacious enough, stretching while bathing is also recommended. Stretching while your body is warm is always more effective.

If you are able to straighten your knees, try stretching them as if you were doing a bend stretch while seated forward. This stretches the back of the thighs and softens the “hamstrings,” (the muscles behind the thighs), and may lead to an improvement in symptoms.

Massage while bathing.

Gently massaging the painful area while bathing can also relieve symptoms.

However, be careful not to massage the painful area as strong stimulation may lead to an aggravation of the back pain.

Prevent your body from cool down after bathing.

After taking all that trouble to warm up your body, cooling it down with cold water would amount to nothing and be counterproductive.

After taking a bath, thoroughly wipe off the moisture from your body with a dry towel.

Also, do not forget to ensure that you keep your lower back warm so that it does not grow cold.

Stretching after bathing

After taking a bath, your body warms up and blood circulation improves. Stretching at that time will be more effective.

Stretching also softens the muscles and is effective in preventing long-term back pain.

Stretching should be done to the extent that it does not trigger symptoms.

Bathing is effective in improving symptoms, but even in the event that the symptoms of a disc herniation have subsided, the damage to the disc that caused the herniation will not heal spontaneously. If you want to fundamentally cure a herniated disc, you need to treat not only the symptoms, but also the disc that is the cause of the herniation.

Our clinic offers the Cellgel method, a treatment that repairs the damaged disc.

With our Cellgel method, we inject a drug that fills in the cracks in the disc, which then becomes a gel and replaces the cracks, thus providing a fundamental treatment. It is characterized by the fact that the volume of the disc is not reduced, and the drug remains in the disc as a gel-like implant after treatment, thus preserving the disc.

If you suffer from back pain or have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, please consider taking a consultation at our clinic.

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