Ruptured disc recovery — what’s involved and how long does it take?

Upon diagnosis, how long a ruptured disc recovery takes is determined by several factors, including the location and severity of the damaged disc and the overall health of the patient. For example, if you are an athlete or are used to several good workouts a week, your body may have an easier time recovering from ruptured disc surgery than a patient who is older or who is not as active.

What are the symptoms of ruptured discs and why does a patient experience them?

A ruptured disc, which is more commonly referred to as a herniated disc, occurs when a disc in the spine develops a tear in the elastic outer layer, allowing the nucleus of the disc, which is a gel-like fluid, to leak out of the tear and into the spinal canal.

When the extruded disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord, a spinal nerve or a spinal nerve root, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Warm or burning sensation

These symptoms can present themselves at the site of the pinched nerve and/or along the nerve pathway into the closest arm or leg.

How are ruptured discs treated?

Many patients are able to recover from a ruptured disc and find lasting relief from their symptoms without the need for surgery. Doctors will typically recommend a course of conservative treatments like rest, medication, hot and cold therapy, physical therapy and spinal injections to manage pain and other symptoms while the overall progress of the condition is monitored. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, improving posture or quitting smoking may also be recommended to promote the overall health of the spine.

However if weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought the relief necessary for lasting relief and a good quality of life, spine surgery may become an option. Patients are often concerned about the risks, difficulties and long recovery time associated with traditional open neck or back procedures. If you are in this situation, contact the caring and dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.

By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly skilled surgeons are able to access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision. The result is an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our caring and dedicated team today and ask for you no-cost MRI review.*