Nonsurgical treatments for a herniated disc

To the relief of many patients diagnosed with a herniated disc, nonsurgical treatments are almost always successful in bringing lasting relief. However, it can sometimes take several weeks or months to establish the best treatment plan with your doctor, since no two situations are the same. While you should always consult with a physician regarding nonsurgical care, it can help to know all options to give you the best chance of getting back to a full and active life.

Medication

A very common treatment for a herniated disc is over-the-counter medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen and ibuprofen are generally effective at relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Those individuals with certain gastrointestinal or cardiovascular conditions may be advised to take a medication like acetaminophen instead of NSAIDs. If over-the-counter medications do not provide enough relief, prescription-strength pain relievers or muscle relaxants may be ordered by your doctor.

Physical therapy

Many patients diagnosed with herniated discs benefit from working with physical therapists. Common physical therapy techniques used as treatments for spine conditions like a herniated disc include:

  • Strength-training exercises
  • Stretching
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Ultrasound

Lifestyle modifications

Sometimes, relieving the pain and discomfort caused by a herniated disc requires lifestyle changes to improve overall health. For example, losing weight has many benefits — from decreasing pressure on the spine to improving blood flow. Regular exercise can strengthen supporting muscles and relieve pain from a herniated disc as well. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption deprive the spine of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood and water and should be ceased with the help of a medical professional.

Laser Spine Institute

If medication, physical therapy, lifestyle change and other nonsurgical herniated disc treatments prove ineffective after several weeks or months, your physician may then discuss surgery with you. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery, an alternative to open back surgery. To date, our minimally invasive procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their neck or back pain. Herniated discs can be treated with either our minimally invasive decompression or stabilization procedures, depending on the severity of the disc damage.

Contact us for more information and for a review of your MRI or CT scan to determine if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

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