3 Herniated Disc Treatment Options

Health & Medical Blog

The discs in the spine are rubber-like cushions that act as a shock absorber each time the body moves. When a disc pushes through the exterior of the vertebra, it's called a herniated disc. 1 to 5 percent of all people will incur back pain as a result of a herniated disc. Along with back pain, a herniated disc can cause other problems, which include numbness in various parts of the body, tingling and burning sensations, and muscle spasms.

The good news is that there are some herniated disc treatment options. Here are three such types of treatment.

1. Physical Therapy

The most noninvasive form of treatment for a herniated disc is physical therapy. The primary goal of physical therapy is to reduce the pain caused by a herniated disc. Pain reduction is achieved by using different physical therapy techniques.

Some techniques a physical therapist may use to reduce pain include:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Traction

A physical therapist will also recommend strengthening and stretching exercises. These exercises will increase flexibility and condition the patient's back in order to reduce and prevent pain.

2. Epidural Steroid Injection

If physical therapy does not help reduce pain associated with a herniated disc, an epidural steroid injection may be necessary. During this minimally invasive procedure, a steroid injection is placed in the epidural space of the spine. The injection helps to reduce swelling and decrease pain.

Unfortunately, the injection is not a cure and the procedure will have to be repeated on a regular basis. Some people will only experience pain relief for days afterwards, while others are pain-free for years following an epidural steroid injection. The results largely depend on the severity of the condition and on which part of the spine the herniated disc is located.

3. Surgery

For those whose herniated disc is causing pain that cannot be alleviated by any other means, surgery may be the only treatment option available. There are a few different surgical options for a herniated disc.

These surgical procedures include:

  • Discectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the herniated disc that is causing pain.
  • Lumbar decompression surgery. The goal of this procedure is to relieve nerve compression caused by a herniated disc, which will in turn relieve pain.

As with all surgical procedures, surgery to treat a herniated disc does have its risks. These risks include bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. For those who find success with surgery, the benefits far outweigh the risks.


6 October 2020

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