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When is disc protrusion surgery necessary?

In many cases of disc protrusion, surgery isn’t necessary. But, because surgery is advisable in certain cases, you may be wondering if you should consider having an operation to address your damaged disc. You should certainly consult with your own physician about this issue because he or she can provide you with the personalized information required to help you make an informed medical decision. We can, however, give you an idea about when spine surgery is typically advised.

Is the disc causing problems?

In some cases, protruding discs don’t cause symptoms. Imaging tests may show the spinal abnormality, but unless it is causing pain and discomfort, treatment, including surgery, is typically unnecessary.

Can conservative treatments improve the situation?

In the case that your damaged disc is causing disruptive symptoms, your physician will likely advise you to try some combination of conservative treatments to manage them. Also known as nonsurgical approaches, these types of therapies can include:

  • Applying heat/cold to the affected area
  • Taking pain and/or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching and exercising regularly
  • Completing at least a few weeks of physical therapy and associated at-home exercises
  • Participating in yoga classes
  • Investigating alternative and complementary therapies like acupuncture

Although it can take some trial and error to find a combination that is effective for you, patience is important, as is keeping track of which treatment plans you have tried and their results.

Are you out of other options?

Surgery is typically considered a last resort option because it presents inherent risks. For that reason, many people who have spinal disc protrusion only see surgery as an option if they have tried numerous conservative treatment approaches without seeing an improvement in moderate to severe symptoms for weeks or months.

If you have tried conservative treatments and notice that your symptoms remain the same or have worsened, you may be a candidate for disc protrusion surgery. At USA Spine Care, we provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, contact us today.

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