Every spine comprises of a line of segments which are cushioned and separated by soft tissue referred to as spinal discs. These discs allow the spine to be flexible and also guard the spinal cord. But they are also vulnerable to degradation. Each disc consists of a soft inner portion with a tough outer portion. Spinal injury, everyday wear, and tear or poor posture can rupture the outer part of a disc. It is when this outer portion is ruptured that the inner portion also leaks out.
This damaged part also irritates nearby spinal nerves which then leads to discomfort. This is why patients who suffer from herniated discs report significant pain and trouble while performing their daily routine activities. Frequently, herniated discs do not pose serious threats to patients. MRI evidence proves that a herniated disc sometimes does not cause excessive pain or discomfort in many patients.
However, there are a few cases when patients experience many symptoms associated with a herniated disc. Some find relief with non-surgical treatment options such as pain-relievers and over the counter medications whereas others seek injections and physical therapy. For cervical and lumbar herniated discs, non-surgical treatments are applied for four to six weeks for reducing discomfort. Sometimes, a trial and error process determines the right combination of treatments required for treating a herniated disc.
Patients may benefit from one treatment at a time or can opt for a combination of treatments to relieve pain due to herniated discs. Physical therapy also plays an important role in preventing excess wear and tear of discs due to a strenuous daily routine or rigorous physical activity.
If an individual has failed to benefit from pain-relieving medications and physical therapy sessions, it is important to opt for surgical methods to treat herniated discs. One such method involves the minimally invasive spine surgery to treat a herniated disc. This surgery has recently become a popular way to correct a herniated disc thanks to minimal surgical damage to healthy tissue and a quick recovery period.
The surgery involves a series of techniques utilized to treat spine issues. However, your doctor will assess your condition and evaluate your symptoms before suggesting this type of surgery to treat a herniated disc. The doctor usually recommends a scan such as an MRI or a CT scan to detect the location of the herniated disc. He uses this information to design the treatment and recovery program for a patient.
Moreover, discectomy continues to remain the most common method of surgery to treat a herniated disc in the lumbar region. The procedure involves removing a portion of the disc that causes pressure on the nerve root. In a few cases, surgeons remove the entire disc. There are other surgical methods such as artificial disc surgery, spinal fusion, and laminectomy to treat herniated discs.
A doctor will assess the information obtained from a scan to identify the most suitable approach to treatment. He will then suggest whether a herniated disc can be treated with medication and physical therapy or requires surgical intervention.