Herniated disc — treatment options and protocol

A herniated disc occurs when the disc between two vertebrae becomes compressed and cracks, leaking jellylike fluid into the spinal canal. In some cases, the inner disc fluid can impact a nerve root in the spinal canal and cause severe pain. Most herniated discs occur in either the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) portion of the spine, though certain injuries or spine conditions can cause a herniated disc to develop in the thoracic spine (middle back).

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, your next step is likely to search for treatment options to relieve your pain and symptoms. You should always consult your physician when try to treat your spine condition. Your physician can help you find a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and your medical needs. Most patients are recommended to undergo six to eight weeks of conservative treatment before a surgical option is considered. For many mild cases of herniated disc, conservative treatment offers effective pain relief.

In the more severe cases of herniated disc when conservative treatment does not provide relief, surgery may be necessary to properly treat your herniated disc. If you find yourself faced with a decision about neck or back surgery, please know that there are several surgical options for you to treat your herniated disc. You can reach out to our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute for more information about the treatment options available to you.

Deciding on a treatment for your herniated disc

Many patients are recommended to undergo about one to two months of conservative treatment as an initial treatment plan for a herniated disc. Conservative treatment means any type of treatment that is nonsurgical. The most common types of conservative treatment include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Pain medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Yoga
  • Stretches and exercises
  • Hold and cold compresses

For mildly herniated discs, conservative therapy will offer lasting relief of pain and symptoms. However, if you have had several weeks of conservative therapy with no lasting relief, you may want to consult your physician. Many conservative treatments can be combined to increase pain relief, so your physician may work with you to create a conservative treatment regimen to help alleviate your pain.

If you still find no relief from conservative treatments, your physician may recommend a surgical solution for your herniated disc. While some patients might be apprehensive about traditional open back surgery, we want you to know that you have other options. The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our procedures are performed through a small, 1-inch incision and have a shorter recovery time^ and lower infection and complication rate than traditional open back surgery.

In fact, because of our minimally invasive surgery, we have a patient satisfaction score of 96 and patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^

As you continue to research the treatment options available for a herniated disc, we encourage you to contact our Care Team for information on and guidance to the best treatment option for your needs and lifestyle.

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