Ruptured disc recovery hinges on a variety of factors, including the severity of the condition, the region of the spine that’s affected and a patient’s overall level of health, among others. That said, most patients can expect to find relief from their pain and discomfort in a matter of weeks or months.
What are the symptoms of ruptured discs & why does a patient experience them?
A ruptured disc, which is more commonly referred to as a herniated disc, occurs when an intervertebral disc’s gelatinous inner content (the nucleus pulposus) seeps through a crack or tear in its outer shell (the annulus fibrosus). When the extruded disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord, a spinal nerve or a spinal nerve root, patients can experience pain, numbness, tingling and/or muscle weakness along the length of the affected nerve. Patients can also experience localized neck or back pain and inflammation if enzymes in the nucleus pulposus come into contact with exposed nerves in the annulus fibrosus.
How are ruptured discs treated?
A patient’s ruptured disc recovery plan will usually focus on relieving the symptoms caused by the condition and not on healing the disc itself. Initially, this often includes one or more of the following conservative, non-surgical treatments:
- Over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- The application of heat and/or ice
A small minority of patients may experience continued symptoms despite following a conservative treatment regimen for several weeks or months. These patients may be advised to consider undergoing surgery for their ruptured discs.
Laser Spine Institute
The orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive procedures as an alternative to open neck or back surgery. If you’ve been advised to undergo surgery as part of your ruptured disc recovery plan, contact Laser Spine Institute and find out if you’re a candidate for one of our state-of-the-art procedures.