Herniated Disc Treatment Options: Surgical vs. Non-Surgical

3 min read

For most people, a herniated disc causes a lot of pain and you’re likely to need to find some relief as soon as possible. A herniated disc can occur along any part of the spine and it can happen very easily. As we get older, simple things can cause a disc to rupture like starting the lawn mower or even coughing a lot. There are several ways to approach treatment including both non-surgical and surgical options. Most people do what they can to avoid surgery. Let’s take a look at what these options include. 

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae as well as joints and cushioning discs between each vertebrae. When a disc cracks and the inner fluid leaks out, it has herniated. While most herniated discs occur in the lower back they can occur anywhere along the spine including the cervical vertebrae in the neck. 

The fluid that leaks causes the nerves to be irritated, compressed, or pinched. The most common symptoms of herniated discs are intense, almost electrical, pain in the back. You might also feel tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs. 

Related Blog: What to Know About a Herniated Disc

Non-Surgical Herniated Disc Treatment

For some a herniated disc will repair itself with rest and time. But because the pain can be pretty intense, people often seek help from a chiropractor. Chiropractors are able to provide non-surgical herniated disc treatment using spinal traction. This method of spinal traction reduces the pressure on the spinal discs by gently stretching the spine for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. 

At Village Chiropractic we use Back-on-Trak technology. By increasing the space between the vertebrae it reduces the pressure on the disc, allowing it to begin the healing process. Several visits are necessary to give the disc relief and a better opportunity to heal.  For many patients it allows them to avoid surgery to repair the disc.

Surgical Treatment for a Herniated Disc

In some cases, non-surgical approaches to treating a herniated disc might not work. This may require you to try another approach to treatment. The type of surgery for herniated discs is called a microdiscectomy. It’s a type of minimally invasive surgery that can be used to treat a herniated disc. In this laparoscopic surgery, damaged parts of the herniated disc are removed. This relieves pressure that’s placed on spinal nerves. Surgery is usually only used if there is a disc that won’t repair itself with other methods and time. 

With surgery usually comes the need for:

  • Medications: Sometimes medications are used to manage the discomfort of a herniated disc. Medications for herniated discs might include over-the-counter pain medications, neuropathic drugs, opioids, or steroid injections.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can sometimes help with herniated disc treatment.  

Why Choose a Non-Surgical Treatment for a Herniated Disc?

Many people wonder if non-surgical treatments for their herniated disc are worth the effort. The answer is resoundingly: YES! Many of our patients avoid surgery because of the relief we can provide in our office.

Surgery comes with risks and requires at least some recovery period. It can also be much more expensive compared to a chiropractic treatment plan, even with health insurance.

If you can treat your herniated disc with one of the non-surgical approaches, you may save yourself time, energy, and money. Also, you will likely be placing yourself under less risks when going with a non-surgical approach to treatment. Surgery is typically a last resort option for treating a herniated disc since there are so many other treatment modalities. Always talk with your doctor or chiropractor first to determine which treatment methods will work best for you. 

Preventing Herniated Discs

Whether you’ve suffered from a herniated disc in the past or not, you’ll want to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the future. To prevent a herniated disc, always make sure to use the proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects. Focus on your posture and ask for assistance when lifting large or heavy objects. If you have a job that requires you to be on your feet often, make sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.

Certain lifestyle choices can also help prevent a herniated disc, such as maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding smoking. Regular exercise and just maintaining general health overall can also help to prevent back injuries like a herniated disc. 

Related Blog: How to Prevent a Bulging Disc or Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc Pain? See What a Chiropractor Can Do for You

If you’re experiencing pain from a bulging or herniated disc, request an appointment with our office in The Woodlands, Texas for an evaluation. We can assess your particular situation and create a treatment plan that can often begin the same day. In some cases we may need some images first to be able to see the rupture. If you have these, please bring them with you or be ready to login to your provider’s portal to share them with the chiropractor. We are ready to help you feel better by relieving your back pain!

Request an appointment

Back to Blog >


More from Our Blog on This Topic