Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 27, 2015
We have talked a lot about herniated discs in the spine and the various treatment methods available. But we have not touched on this recent reader question: “Is it possible for a herniated disc to heal on its own?” In this article we will talk about herniated spinal discs and whether they can heal on their own given enough time.
Herniated Spinal Discs
A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc bulges out of its proper place and negatively impact surrounding nerves, ligaments, and structures. Herniated discs can be the result of an acute injury (for example, being involved in a car accident), or they can develop over time due to bodily wear-and-tear. When a disc herniates it can interfere with the nearby spinal nerves, causing pain, discomfort, and even paralysis in patients. These symptoms are not to be brushed off as they can severely reduce a person’s quality of life. Treating herniated discs is important.
Healing a Herniated Disc
Now to the question at hand – can a herniated disc heal itself? There is no clear cut answer to this question that will apply to all patients. Typically a disc will not heal itself. If a disc herniates and the patient does not take action to correct the herniation, the symptoms will likely become worse as time goes on. That being said, disc herniations come in various forms. Some cause little to no pain at all. Ultimately, treating a herniated disc boils down to controlling pain in the patient and preventing spinal nerve damage. If you are experiencing pain or loss of feeling as a result of a herniated disc, it should absolutely be treated, and you should not assume it will heal itself with enough time.
There are many options for treating a herniated disc. Surgery is, of course one such option, and often provides the most long-term pain relief. But if you want to avoid spine surgery, you can explore conservative treatments like chiropractic, physical therapy, injections, and pain control medications. Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience symptoms of a herniated disc and find out your options for pain relief.