Can an extruded disc heal on its own?

Disc extrusion, also known as a herniated disc, occurs when inner disc material pushes out through a tear in the outer layer of a spinal disc. This condition can cause both local irritation as well as painful radiating symptoms if extruded disc material puts pressure on the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root. This can be an alarming condition to be diagnosed with, and it’s easy to wonder whether disc extrusion is permanent and if you will have to deal with it your whole life.

While the underlying causes of disc extrusion are often related to the natural aging process, it is possible for an individual case of this condition to heal in certain circumstances. By having a better understanding of the healing process for spinal discs and the steps you can take to improve it, you can give yourself a better chance of finding lasting relief.

The healing process for disc extrusion

Every case of disc extrusion is different and while instances of this condition can become progressively worse, patients can also experience an improvement in symptoms with time, rest and basic treatments. The spinal discs receive limited blood flow compared to other parts of the body, which is what can make the healing process for disc extrusion slow and difficult.

However, with proper care, a disc tear can heal and the extruded disc material can be reabsorbed into the body. Although an individual case of disc extrusion can heal, the underlying causes of disc degeneration are age-related and not reversible. This means it’s important to do everything you can to take pressure off the spinal discs and promote the long-term health of your spine. Commonly recommended ways to do this include:

  • Eating a nutrient-rich diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Practicing correct posture during everyday activities
  • Quitting smoking, if necessary
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the pressure being placed on the discs

Treatment options for disc extrusion

Treatment for disc extrusion almost always begins conservatively, with the goal of relieving any pain being experienced and improving range of motion while the overall progress of the condition is monitored. If weeks or months of conservative treatments like physical therapy, spinal injections, medication, massage and hot/cold therapy are not effective and the condition is not healing, spine surgery can become a serious consideration.

If you are in this situation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery, offering our patients a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication.^

To find out if you are a potential candidate, ask for your free MRI review* from a member of our caring and dedicated team.