How to treat a torn disc

If you’re wondering how to treat a torn disc, you may be experiencing the pain, tingling, spasms, muscle weakness, numbness and discomfort that are often associated with this spinal condition. Many patients are often able to relieve these symptoms through conservative and alternative treatments, although spine surgery can become an option in certain situations.

Conservative treatments for torn discs

Once a doctor has diagnosed a patient with a torn disc, he or she will typically prescribe a conservative treatment plan. This may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain medications, either prescription or over the counter
  • Hot or cold therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Periods of rest
  • Moderate exercise
  • Epidural steroid injections

It is important to note that these treatments should only be followed under the supervision of a doctor. If not done properly, exercise may cause further injury to the neck or back. Pain medications may interact with other drugs, potentially causing complications.

Alternative treatments for torn discs

Some patients may also find relief from alternative treatments such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, yoga and Pilates. Often, patients with a torn disc choose to follow these treatments in conjunction with the conservative therapies prescribed by their doctors, while others choose to utilize alternative methods as primary treatments. Like any form of treatment, alternative therapies should only be pursued in close partnership with your primary care doctor to ensure they are compatible with your existing care.

Surgical options for a torn disc

Surgery can become a serious consideration for a torn disc if weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought the relief necessary to comfortably engage in regular activities. There are two primary approaches to torn disc surgery: traditional open spine procedures and minimally invasive procedures. Although both types of surgery involve the goal of removing disc material that is the source of nerve compression or irritation, there are major differences in the way they are performed. If you do find yourself exploring surgery for a torn disc, get in touch with the caring team at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed by board-certified surgeons+ on an outpatient basis, offering many advantages to our patients.

We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.