Alternatives to fusion procedures for herniated disc treatment

Being diagnosed with a herniated disc can be both confusing and alarming. Maybe you aren’t sure what your next step for treatment should be, but you are concerned about the risks associated with spine surgery. Maybe you are still a little unsure about what your diagnosis means and you have some questions about your condition and the changes it may have on your lifestyle.

Many patients diagnosed with a herniated disc are able to find lasting relief without undergoing surgery such as a spinal fusion. Your doctor will most likely recommend a series of conservative treatments to help you manage symptoms and resume normal activities. A herniated disc can actually improve with time, so the goal of nonsurgical treatment is often to reduce pain while taking steps to improve spinal mobility and promote spinal health and healing.

Conservative methods of treatment

The most common methods of conservative treatment for a herniated disc include:

  • Medication. Pain medication such as acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen help many patients manage symptoms.
  • Physical therapy. Under the supervision of a licensed therapist, a patient can learn strengthening and posture improvement exercises to help spinal alignment and flexibility.
  • Exercise. After receiving proper clearance from a doctor, gentle stretching, strength training and moderate aerobic exercises can be used to strengthen back muscles and improve blood flow.
  • Lifestyle changes. You may be recommended to eliminate activities that negatively impact spine health, such as smoking, poor posture and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Alternative methods. This includes massage, chiropractic therapy, traction, contour beds and pillows, acupuncture and acupressure.

A minimally invasive alternative to traditional spine fusion

If chronic pain continues after at least several months of conservative treatment, and surgery is becoming a serious recommendation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive spine surgery can help treat your herniated disc. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures are an outpatient alternative to traditional spinal fusion for severe herniated discs.

Unlike traditional fusion, our minimally invasive stabilization procedures are performed through a small incision that limits disruption of the muscles surrounding the spine. This allows for our procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis with a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery.

To learn more and see if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, we’re happy to provide a free MRI review.*