Slipped disc treatment methods — nonsurgical and surgical options

To the relief of many patients, slipped disc treatment does not always entail surgery. In fact, only a small percentage of patients who are diagnosed with slipped discs will require surgery, as most patients find the relief they need from nonsurgical options. If you have been diagnosed with a slipped disc, it’s vital that you consult with your physician before starting any treatment plan.

Slipped discs explained

Slipped disc is actually just a term for a herniated disc. This condition occurs when the inner contents (nucleus pulposus) of a spinal disc seeps through a tear in the disc’s outer wall (annulus fibrosus). Its most common cause is the natural aging process and the accompanying breakdown of spinal anatomy, but the condition can also occur as a result of trauma — like a car accident or a sports injury. Symptoms can include sharp localized pain as well as pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the upper or lower body.

Nonsurgical treatments

Treatment for a slipped disc almost always begins with conservative, nonsurgical methods, such as:

  • Physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the neck and back
  • Lifestyle changes to improve spinal health, like losing weight, becoming more physically active, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and abate pain
  • Hot/cold therapy to relax tense muscles and relieve inflammation, respectively

If nonsurgical treatment fails to relieve your symptoms after several weeks or months, however, you might be advised to undergo surgical treatment for a slipped disc.

Surgical treatments

At one time, the only type of surgical treatment available to patients with slipped discs required large incisions, several days of hospitalization and lengthy, arduous rehabilitations. Thanks to advancements in technology, minimally invasive procedures are now available to some patients as safe and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgeries. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization options are often the clinically appropriate first choice and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis though small incisions and many patients are up and walking within hours of their procedures.^

If nonsurgical treatments have provided you with little to no relief and your physician has recommended surgical treatment for a slipped disc, contact Laser Spine Institute. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have already helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. Call us today to find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our state-of-the-art minimally invasive spine procedures.