Learning you have a herniated disc can trigger a lot of questions, including whether or not you’ll need surgery. You may even wonder if a herniated disc can heal on its own.
The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. At Advanced Spine and Pain (ASAP), the orthopedic specialists can evaluate your condition to determine if your disc issues will require treatment. However, you should also understand the ins and outs of a herniated disc to make the most informed decision concerning your health.
Why does a herniated disc cause pain?
Disc herniation is when the the outer layer of the disc ruptures, which permits the gel-like center to spill out. The gel can then put pressure on the nearby nerves, resulting in chronic pain.
Can a herniated disc heal without help?
The pain of a herniated disc can resolve without medical intervention, but it doesn’t always mean your disc problem has healed.
Symptoms of a herniated disc may resolve on their own due to a number of reasons, such as:
Immune system reaction
If your body’s defense system detects the presence of inflammatory proteins, it can trigger an attack to remove them from your body. This action can relieve some of the pressure on your nerves and reduce the severity of your pain.
It may be possible that regular extension exercises can help move the damaged part of your disc away from the nerves in your spine, alleviating your pain and mobility issues.
The herniated part of your disc contains water, which your body gradually absorbs. This causes the herniation to shrink in size and pull away from the surrounding nerves.
These factors may relieve pressure on the nerve but don’t resolve the herniation. This can mean you’ll continue to have recurring nerve pain, which may require medical intervention.
Will I eventually need surgery for a herniated disc?
Typically, nonsurgical treatment options are the first path your specialist will recommend to alleviate your symptoms.
However, if your chronic pain interferes with your personal life, your job, or generally reduces your quality of life, surgical options can help you restore functionality and mobility.
If you have a herniated disc without symptoms, your Advanced Spine and Pain (ASAP) doctor will monitor your condition and recommend effective therapies to keep you moving and pain-free.
How can I relieve herniated disc pain at home?
To alleviate existing pain and prevent future pain caused by a herniated disc in your everyday life, you can use heat and cold therapy to reduce inflammation and manage pain. Start by using cold packs on the affected area for a few days then switch to heat therapy to loosen your muscles and provide relief from any discomfort you feel.
It’s also important to stay active. If you lie in bed for prolonged periods, it can cause weakness in your muscles and joints. This can complicate herniated disc pain and limit your natural recovery ability. Rather than rest for too long, try walking or low-impact aerobic exercises for at least 30 minutes a day to stretch muscles and improve your strength.
If these therapies aren’t effective in keeping your comfortable, or pain interferes with your work or personal life, schedule a consultation with an Advanced Spine and Pain (ASAP) provider as soon as possible for a thorough evaluation.