How to treat a herniated disc: overview of options

By Michael Perry, M.D.

A herniated disc is defined as a disc in which the softer nucleus has pushed through a tear in the disc’s tougher outer layer. Most herniated discs remain undiscovered because they generate no symptoms or very mild irritation. Symptoms occur only when the extruded core intrudes upon tiny nerve endings in the disc wall, or compresses spinal nerves.

While these symptoms, including pain and impaired mobility, can be debilitating, there are many treatment options and in many cases surgery can be avoided by following your doctor’s recommendations for conservative care. By having a better understanding of the treatment process you can be a better informed patient and work more closely with your doctor to find the relief you need.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Conservative treatment is the initial management of symptoms related to a herniated disc without the use of surgery. Your physician should prescribe you a personalized treatment plan, and examples of typical conservative treatments include:

  • Periods of rest
  • Pain medication or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Massage therapy
  • Healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, eating better and exercising more

If conservative treatments do not provide the symptom relief you need, your physician may recommend surgical treatment.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

To avoid unnecessary risks and side effects, you should determine the least invasive surgical treatment possible that will still be effective. The board-certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery that has helped more than 75,000 people find relief from pain without undergoing traditional open spine surgery.

Through the use of direct visualization technology, our surgeons are able to see the exact location of disc damage and then repair or remove the extruded disc material using small specialized instruments. Because only a small incision and specialized tissue retractors are used, minimal surrounding soft tissue is disrupted, allowing for an outpatient procedure and shorter recovery time.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information on how to treat a herniated disc, and for a review of your MRI report or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.