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If a herniated disc has turned out to be the underlying cause of the pain and discomfort disrupting your life, then you are now almost certainly looking for effective and lasting treatment. When a spinal disc — usually weakened from the aging process — develops a tear on the outer shell due to internal pressure, part of the gel-like center can seep out. These are the conditions that are diagnosed as a herniated disc, but they can often go undetected because they don’t always cause symptoms. But if any disc material comes into contact with the densely packed nerves in the spinal column, the extra pressure can cause pain, numbness and muscle weakness, which can make you eager for treatment to get your normal life back.
Conservative herniated disc treatments
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, a physician will help develop a course of herniated disc treatments best suited to your exact situation. Conservative, nonsurgical options are usually very effective in relieving symptoms while your body works to break down the extruded disc material through a process called resorption. The treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and pain relievers can control the pain until nerve inflammation subsides and resorption is complete.
- Physical therapy, exercise, stretching — A trained therapist can develop an exercise program aimed at strengthening the neck and back to prevent future injury.
- Alternative medicine — Some people have found success using chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and other methods still gaining mainstream acceptance.
Other herniated disc treatments
If conservative treatment fails to provide relief after several weeks or months, surgery may become an option. Traditional open back surgery should not be taken lightly, because it involves overnight hospitalization, large incisions and a painful recovery. Severe disc deterioration can require the insertion of stabilizing hardware to fuse the spine after removal of disc material or even the entire disc.
Another option is minimally invasive spine surgery, performed using state-of-the-art technology that can access herniated discs with much smaller incisions. Our skilled surgeons can even perform minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are an alternative to traditional fusions. Contact USA Spine Care to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures and for a review of your MRI or CT scan.
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