Herniated disc treatments — what are your options?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc, finding the best treatments for your condition is probably one of your top priorities. Depending on the location and severity of your herniated disc, there are several treatment options available to help reduce your pain and symptoms.
The first step to finding effective treatment is to consult your physician about your pain. Your physician or spine care specialist can make treatment recommendations based not only on your condition, but also on your medical history and lifestyle. Often, treatments for a herniated disc range from conservative to surgical.
Medication for a herniated disc
Over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics (pain relievers) are generally one of the most effective and most common forms of herniated disc treatment. NSAIDs including ibuprofen and naproxen interfere with the body’s production of certain inflammation-inducing enzymes, which can help alleviate the pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness that are often associated with herniated discs. Some patients are unable to take NSAIDs due to gastrointestinal or cardiovascular conditions and may be advised to take an analgesic instead, such as acetaminophen.
If over-the-counter medications fail to relieve your symptoms, your physician may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever or muscle relaxant.
Lifestyle modifications to treat a herniated disc
If you partake in particularly unhealthy behaviors, your physician may recommend herniated disc treatments that involve altering your lifestyle. This is especially true if you:
- Are overweight — Shedding excess body fat can help reduce the strain that is being placed on your spine.
- Use tobacco products — Eliminating your consumption of nicotine and other harmful substances found in tobacco products can increase the amount of nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood that flows to your spine.
- Are sedentary — Starting an exercise regimen under your physician’s guidance can help strengthen and stretch the muscles and ligaments that support the spine.
Surgery for a herniated disc
If medication, lifestyle modifications and other nonsurgical herniated disc treatments prove ineffective after several weeks or months, your physician may recommend spine surgery.
Before consenting to open spine surgery, consider a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure from Laser Spine Institute. We offer minimally invasive discectomy and stabilization surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery^. During our procedure, the compressed nerve is released by removing a small portion of the herniated disc. If the disc is severely damaged, our surgeons will replace it with an artificial disc to offer support to the spine.
Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our state-of-the-art procedures that have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain.