Being diagnosed with a disc extrusion, another term for a herniated disc, doesn’t automatically mean surgery. In fact, a large number of people can effectively manage their symptoms by utilizing conservative therapies. While these methods may not repair the underlying cause of the pain and discomfort, they can help with symptom management as well as the strengthening of supporting muscles to take pressure off the spine, including the affected disc. Here are three specific methods that are commonly suggested by doctors before surgery to treat an extruded disc is recommended.
Alternative No. 1: Low-impact exercise
Low-impact exercise is a beneficial addition to most people’s daily routines, especially for those who have extruded discs. Gentle stretches combined with an aerobic activity like swimming can often help to keep the spine flexible, while also strengthening surrounding muscles that support the spinal column. Low-impact exercises are often recommended as opposed to higher-impact activities such as running or participating in sports like football, which may further damage spinal discs.
Alternative No. 2: Heat and cold therapy
Another method of addressing the symptoms of disc extrusion without surgery is the application of heat and/or cold therapy to the site of discomfort. Heat can help to increase circulation of blood and nutrients to an injured area, while ice can bring down inflammation by restricting blood flow. Both approaches can be useful but you should consult with your doctor to find out if one or both would better suit your needs. In either case, a heating pad or ice pack should not be placed in direct contact with the skin, nor should it be left in place for more than 20 minutes at a time, unless recommended by your doctor.
Alternative No. 3: Medications
Many patients also find relief from disc-related pain by regularly taking medications. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce swelling, which can also lessen the amount of pain that a person experiences due to their disc extrusion. Other drugs like prescription pain medications can alter pain signals to the brain, providing relief from discomfort. Only use medications as directed and with the close partnership of your doctor or spine specialist.
USA Spine Care
There are many other conservative alternatives to disc extrusion surgery out there for patients to explore. However, there are some cases when patients’ symptoms do not respond well to nonsurgical treatment methods, even after weeks or months of regular use. If you are being recommended to undergo spine surgery, contact USA Spine Care today to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time.
Reach out to our dedicated team and ask for your no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.