How is a herniated disc treated? Nonsurgical and surgical approaches

Many patients ask about how a herniated disc is treated and whether surgery will be necessary after being diagnosed with this condition. A high amount of patients are able to find relief from herniated disc symptoms, getting back to a good 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
  • Exercises to improve posture

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 a herniated disc

When weeks or months pass and consistent treatment has not let you return to normal activity, your doctor may start to talk about referral to a spine surgeon. Traditional open back surgery requires large, muscle-disrupting incisions, leading to a two- to five-day hospitalization and a much longer recovery period. Advancements in technology and surgical technique 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 board-certified+ surgeons can perform a range of 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 your MRI or CT scan at no cost* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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