What if conservative prolapsed disc treatment doesn’t work?

A prolapsed disc is another term for a herniated disc, which occurs when the soft inner material of a spinal disc begins to push through a weak spot or tear in the outer layer. This condition generally causes symptoms if disc material puts pressure on surrounding spinal nerves.

Treatment for a prolapsed disc is meant to reduce the symptoms, such as pain, tingling and numbness, which are commonly associated with this condition. For many patients diagnosed with a prolapsed disc, conservative nonsurgical treatments can provide effective pain relief that allows for a return to normal activity. Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medication, strength and flexibility exercises, lifestyle changes, hot/cold applications or corticosteroid injections.

Next steps for prolapsed disc treatment

While these treatments are often effective, it’s important to understand the goal and purpose of the therapies and what to do if you are still suffering after a few months.

No matter what sort of conservative prolapsed disc treatment your doctor recommends, there is a period of about two or three months that is required before you can fully measure the effectiveness of the treatment.

Make sure you communicate with your doctor about any discomfort or pain you are feeling during these treatments, and also about any steps you take that help relieve pain. This information will help you and your doctor develop a personalized treatment plan to give you the best possible outcome. Some patients with a prolapsed disc also choose to pursue alternative treatments that are outside of the medical mainstream. These options can include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Herbal remedies
  • Yoga and mindfulness meditation

Be sure to only consult with a licensed professional and keep your primary doctor informed of any new forms of treatment you pursue to ensure it is compatible with your existing care.

When to consider surgery for a prolapsed disc

Generally, doctors recommend patients fully exhaust conservative treatment before turning to surgery. This timeline may vary depending on your exact level of pain and the severity of your condition, but most doctors will recommend a period of weeks to months. Even if surgery is recommended to treat a prolapsed disc, patients are often reluctant to undergo a procedure, especially due to the risks and difficulties that go with traditional open spine surgery.

Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures^ with our minimally invasive spine surgery. Instead of requiring a large muscle-disrupting incision, our procedures can be performed with a less than 1-inch incision, allowing them to be performed on an outpatient basis.

If you have exhausted conservative treatment options for a prolapsed disc and are wondering what your next steps are, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team will be happy to review your MRI or CT scan at no-cost* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.