Treating Your Herniated Disc: What You Should Know

When you find yourself experiencing a great deal of back pain and go to the doctor, you may find yourself surprised that you are suffering from a slipped or herniated disc in your spine. However, the good news is that once you have identified the problem, you can begin the process of healing and treating the issue. If you have never had a herniated disc, you are likely not familiar with the treatment options available to you. Get to know the treatments that can help with your herniated disc so that you can get better as soon as possible.

Rest and Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Because treating spinal issues can be somewhat complicated, many physicians will first recommend an approach that is of the "wait and see" variety. The first steps in treatment, therefore, will likely be to rest as much as possible and to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to help you cope with the pain and discomfort from your disc being out of place.

This basic treatment is designed to give your back time to heal itself. Sometimes, herniated discs do move back into place on their own without any further, more invasive treatments. Alternating cold and heat therapy applied directly to your back can also help to relieve your discomfort. 

Physical Therapy

A person with a herniated disc can benefit a great deal from regular sessions with a physical therapist, such as those at Dynamic Rehabilitation Services. Physical therapy for a herniated disc has multiple goals in mind. The first, of course, is to help relieve your pain so you can go back to your normal activities and daily routines without being couch or bed-ridden for the majority of the time.

Another important goal of your physical therapy sessions would be to try to reduce the compression on your herniated disc that is keeping it displaced. If your spinal bones (the vertebrae) can become more balance and open, the disc would have the opportunity to slip back into the correct position.

The physical therapy sessions will involve strength building exercises as well as stretches to help you get your spine aligned and properly spaced. Your physical therapist may also try whirlpool therapy and spinal decompression therapy to help with your herniated disc.

Spinal Surgery

If, after several weeks of physical therapy you are still uncomfortable and your disc is still out of place, your physician may recommend surgery. Surgery for a herniated disc often involves the removal of all or part of the disc (depending on the extent of the damage).

Sometimes, these surgical procedures also involve the implantation of an artificial disc in the spine to provide cushioning and to prevent nerve damage. The surgeon may also opt for spinal fusion in which several vertebrae are fused together to create one bone, preventing future issues and pain in the region.

Now that you know some of the options available to you for your herniated disc, you can get the treatment process started as soon as possible and get to feeling better.