BPS 3: What are the Herniated Disc Treatment Options?

The herniated disc treatment aims to provide pain relief to patients. The exact treatment plan for a herniated disc depends on different factors. Some of the factors that determine individualized treatment plan include severity of pain, the source of the pain, and specific symptoms of the pain.

In this post, we will explain the treatment options for individuals suffering from a herniated disc.

Treatment of Herniated Disc – An Overview

Individuals suffering from a herniated disc are advised to start with a conservative treatment option. For most people, non surgical treatment option provides relief from herniated disc pain. The pain subsides within a few weeks of the conservative treatment plan. If the pain persists for a long duration, a surgical treatment option is recommended.

Conservative Treatment Option

Conservative treatment option is recommended for lumbar and cervical herniated discs. The duration of the treatment is usually between four to six weeks. The aim of the conservative treatment option is not to treat the herniated disc, but to reduce pain by accelerating the recovery process. Some of the non surgical treatment options include the following.

  • -Physical exercise
  • -Ice and heat therapy
  • -Chiropractic manipulation
  • -Narcotic pain medications or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • -Oral steroids
  • -Epidural Injections

Trial and error is required to find the right treatment option. Doctors recommend one treatment at a time to find out which option is safe and effective. Sometimes a combination of treatment such as medication and activity modification helps in pain relief and recovery.

Physical therapy may be recommended to reduce herniated disc pain. The therapy involves educating the individual on good body mechanics. Individuals are taught the proper sitting posture or lifting technique that can help prevent excessive wear and tear of the discs.

Surgical Treatment Option

A doctor may recommend early surgical treatment in certain situations, such as when the individual suffers a progressive weakness in the legs and arms due to nerve root pinching. Having surgery sooner will prevent further neurological progression and accelerate the healing process. Permanent nerve damage could occur if a surgical procedure is not performed early.

A rare condition where early surgical intervention is necessary is cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome is associated with a progressive weakness in the legs or bladder and bowel dysfunction. Immediate surgery is required in this situation.

But in most situations, surgical treatment option is undertaken when the individual does not show any improvement with a conservative treatment option.

Different surgical treatment options are recommended for a herniated disc. Some of the common surgical treatment of a herniated disc include the following.

  • Anterior cervical decompression (discectomy) — It involves removing the disc material from the front of the neck and then opening up the disc space.
  • Posterior cervical laminectomy — It involves the removal of the disc material through the back of the neck.
  • Microdiscectomy — It is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that involves removing a power of the disc that touches the nerve root.

Treatment of a herniated disc depends on the nature and source of pain and symptoms. It’s important to contact an experienced spine specialist in addressing the problem. An expert spine specialist will recommend that best option that results in quick pain relief due to a herniated disc.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.