Nonsurgical treatments for a herniated disc
To the relief of many patients diagnosed with a herniated disc, nonsurgical treatments are very often 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 doctor 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.
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 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.
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
- Hot and/or cold therapy
- Massage therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Ultrasound treatment
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 as an outpatient alternative to traditional open back surgery. To date, our minimally invasive procedures have helped thousands of 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.