27Mar

Should You Get Surgery for a Herniated Disk?

Young discs are made almost entirely of water. As we age, they become less pliable and more prone to damage. The vast majority of herniated disc patients are given conservative treatments because most improve within six months without the help of surgery. That said, it’s important to move onto aggressive care if other therapies don’t work. X-rays, EMGs, and CT scans will determine the source of your symptoms and thus their best cure.

Passive Nonsurgical Options

Deep tissue massage and heat therapy can help to relieve muscle spasms, and in so doing, allow you to achieve a posture that reduces further damage. Muscle spasms can also be relieved with TENS machines and hydrotherapy.

Active Nonsurgical Options

Therapies as simple as spending less time on bed rest can have a drastic impact on pain levels, so physiotherapy and occupational therapy are the nucleus around which all other therapies must revolve. Developing enough core stability to reduce pressure on the offending disc is a necessity in almost all cases. Anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers may help you cope with your symptoms, and anticonvulsants can raise your pain threshold. In severe cases, medications can be injected directly into the pain site.

Surgeries

  • Discectomies remove some or all of the offending disc.
  • Microdiscectomies magnify the surgery site to guide disc removal.
  • Anterior discectomies and fusions reach the site through the neck before fusing the vertebrae and replacing it.
  • Cervical corpectomies remove both the offending vertebra and those next to it for decompression.
  • Laminoplasties reconstruct the spinal canal.
  • Spinal laminectomies treat stenosis by reliving spinal cord pressure.

Pain leads to depression and erodes quality of life, so it should always be taken seriously. Sonoran Spine has a team of specialists who support your progress and will not only improve your odds of recovery, but reduce your sense of hopelessness.

Posted in Expert Blog

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