How is a herniated disc treated? Nonsurgical and surgical approaches

How is a herniated disc treated? Will I need surgery? These are questions you may be asking after being diagnosed with a herniated disc in the spine. Most patients are able to find relief from herniated disc symptoms, getting back to a high quality of life, with nonsurgical treatments. However, surgery can become an option when a more conservative approach does not bring the hoped-for freedom from painful symptoms. Pain and limited mobility from a herniated disc can make the things you love — or even just an everyday activity like doing the dishes — difficult. Knowledge of the best treatments out there can help you return to a healthy and happy life.

Managing symptoms with conservative treatments

Conservative, nonsurgical treatments for herniated discs focus on managing the symptoms of muscle weakness, numbness, tingling and shooting pain in the upper or lower extremities. These are some of the most common conservative treatment methods:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen
  • Lifestyle changes, like exercise and weight-loss plans
  • Physical therapy
  • Hot and cold compression therapy
  • Posture modification exercises

You should always consult with your primary care doctor to develop a course of treatment that is best for your specific situation and diagnosis.

Surgical treatments for herniated discs

When weeks or months pass and consistent treatment has not let you return to normal activity, your physician may start to talk about referral to a spine surgeon. Traditional open back surgery requires large, muscle-severing incisions, leading to a two- to five-day hospitalization and a much longer rehabilitation period. Advancements in technology and surgical techniques have made a less invasive approach to spine surgery possible. These procedures treat conditions like a herniated disc using smaller, muscle-sparing incisions that have less scarring, less blood loss and a lower risk of infection.

Laser Spine Institute

If you have any questions about how a herniated disc can be treated by minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our surgeons can perform a number of state-of-the-art, outpatient procedures that to date have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain. Even if you have been recommended for a traditional open fusion because of severe disc deterioration, we have options with our minimally invasive stabilization procedures. We’ll gladly review of your MRI or CT scan and provide you with information about our procedures.

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