Herniated disc treatment guidelines

A herniated disc can have a debilitating effect on your everyday life and activities, but it is possible to find relief from the symptoms of this condition. Since no two cases are exactly alike, every patient is treated differently depending on factors like the severity of your symptoms, your age and your overall health. However, there are some general herniated disc treatment guidelines you can expect to follow when seeing your doctor to find pain relief and a return to normal activity.

Herniated disc treatment begins with conservative approaches

Except in the most severe cases, herniated disc treatment should begin nonsurgically. There are many commonly recommended conservative approaches, including:

  • Exercising and stretching every day
  • Completing physical therapy
  • Engaging in a weight management plan
  • Making lifestyle changes like posture improvement and quitting smoking
  • Taking medications, either over-the-counter or prescription
  • Alternating applications of a heating pad and a cold compress to the area
  • Receiving a series of epidural steroid injections

It can take weeks or months of trying these approaches, often in combination with one another, to find the methods that can reduce the pain and other problems that accompany herniated discs. A large number of people find effective methods of managing their symptoms without the need for surgery, but in some circumstances surgical intervention might be recommended.

The guidelines for having herniated disc surgery

Surgery for a herniated disc is usually considered as a last resort, to be explored only if a patient meets certain guidelines. In addition to having tried a variety of conservative treatment options, the patient must be experiencing a significantly diminished quality of life which has made it difficult to participate in work or leisure activities. A candidate for surgery must also be well enough to undergo the procedure and go through the recovery process in a safe manner.

If you are being recommended for surgery after completing weeks or months of conservative herniated disc treatments without experiencing sufficient relief from your symptoms, you may want to consider the minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery performed by Laser Spine Institute. By using muscle-sparing techniques, we are able to offer patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine procedures.^

Contact us today for information. We can review your MRI or CT scan at no cost* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

Browse Related Resources