How to Treat Herniated Disc. Unless the pain is unbearable and your recovery through other means is doubtful, surgery is usually the last option. Non surgical means of treatment for herniated discs often have good results; in fact the end result of both non-surgical and surgical remedies is often the same.
Control your pain before starting other therapies. Rest for a day or two, but no longer. Stretching out on the floor with your knees bent and legs elevated can help. Avoid bending, lifting and sitting in one position.
Take the pain meds your doctor prescribes or recommends. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs can relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. Your physician may prescribe muscle relaxers or antidepressants to aid with pain.
Use cold and heat therapy. Cold therapy should be used for the first 48 hours. Use and ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel for at least 15 minutes several times a day. Heat therapy, such as a heat lamp, heating pad or heat pack can be used after the second day, but you may find that cold therapy produces better results.
Wear a brace to help restore stability and make you more comfortable. Braces are only used for a short period of time, and you must do strengthening exercises regardless as braces can weaken the muscles that need to be strong to support the spine.
Start exercise therapy as soon as you can manage your pain. Exercise is the most important part of recovery and prevention. Your physician or physical therapist can teach you the proper techniques and work with you to develop a daily exercise plan.
Walk, stretch and perform range of motion exercises in water, or hydrotherapy, to help reduce pain and increase muscle relaxation. Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may just want you to sit in whirlpool until you are strong enough to do exercises.
Remove damaged parts of the disc via a tube, (endoscopic surgery). This surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure has limited effectiveness and you need to discuss this option with your doctor before making a decision.
Research laminotomy or laminectomy, the removal of part or all of the covering of the spinal canal at the site of the herniated disc. These procedures alleviate the pressure of the disk on the nerve. After one of these procedures you may experience less pain and better mobility.
Consider diskectomy, the removal of part of the actual disk, which also relieves pressure on the nerve. This procedure is often done in conjunction with a laminotomy. This procedure relieves the pain and other symptoms in most patients.