What is a herniated disc in the lower back and how do I treat it?

A herniated disc is a disc in the spine that has been damaged and torn due to constant pressure placed on the spine. This type of condition is often considered a degenerative disc disease, which means that the damage occurs gradually as the spine weakens with age. Certain factors, such as obesity, inactivity and chronic dehydration, can contribute to the development of a herniated disc. This condition can also occur after trauma or injury has caused a spinal disc to tear.

If you think you have a herniated disc that is causing pain and symptoms in your lower back, such as numbness, tingling and weakness, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will run a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis and then will discuss the nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available to you to help relieve your pain. To learn about the variety of conservative and surgical treatments your doctor may recommend, read the following article.

Nonsurgical treatments for a herniated disc

The first approach to treat a herniated disc is often a series of doctor-recommended conservative treatments. Conservative treatments are nonsurgical methods that aim to relieve pain by reducing inflammation, alleviating pressure on the pinched nerve and blocking the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. The most common methods of conservative treatments include:

  • Low-impact exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Stretches
  • Acupuncture
  • Weight loss
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Epidural steroids

While many patients find relief from several weeks or months of conservative treatment, some patients are recommended to undergo spine surgery to treat the pain of their herniated disc.

Surgical treatment for a herniated disc

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Specifically used to treat a herniated disc, our minimally invasive discectomy procedure is performed on an outpatient basis through a less than 1-inch incision that uses muscle-sparing techniques. This is opposed to traditional open back surgery, which uses a large incision, cuts through the muscles surrounding the spine and a hospitalization of two to five days. Contact Laser Spine Institute today so we can help you on your journey to wellness.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Because of our minimally invasive approach to spine surgery, our procedures have a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complications compared to traditional open back surgery.^ To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures that can treat a herniated disc, contact us today and request a no-cost MRI review.*

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