A herniated disc occurs when part of the rubbery disc between two vertebrae pushes through the tougher exterior. The displacement can put pressure on nerves in the spine, sometimes resulting in significant pain. Excessive strain or injury can cause a herniated disc, but oftentimes, it’s a result of the weakening of surrounding ligaments that occurs with aging.
Not all herniated discs require intervention. For most patients, the condition improves gradually over several weeks. If discomfort persists, however, one of the following treatments may be recommended.
Many patients see improvement after just two days of bed rest. After that, it’s important to ease back into activities slowly, and take breaks as needed. Patients should be particularly careful with lifting or bending over.
Physical therapists can guide patients through targeted movements to strengthen their core muscles.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help to reduce pain levels.
Steroid injections can also be injected near the site of the herniated disc to reduce inflammation and minimize pain.
Generally, surgical treatments are only advised for herniated discs in extreme circumstances, such as when the patient has difficulty walking, muscle weakness, or loss of bowel or bladder control. Because the procedures present risks such as infection, nerve injury, and recurring disk herniation, they are often reserved as a last resort option.
Recently, another type of treatment, also known as stem cell therapy, has also been explored to address persistent back pain. While the treatment has anti-inflammatory properties, it also has the ability to promote healing, repair, and cell renewal with growth factors. If you’re seeking an alternative to back surgery for your herniated disc, exploring this regenerative medicine therapy could be right for you.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for back pain, also known as degenerative disc disease. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.