Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc Treatment

Prolapsed intervertebral discs press against nerve endings in the spine causing pain in your back, legs, and feet. In severe cases the pain can keep you awake at night, prevent you from sitting for prolonged periods, and make walking difficult. Fortunately there are a number of treatments available to reduce pain and restore your back.

  1. Exercise

    • Most prolapsed intervertebral discs will restore themselves to normal in one or two months as long as you do not further aggravate your injury. Light exercise will help the disc return to place. Swimming is the most recommended exercise because it puts almost no pressure on your back, but walking will also be beneficial. Avoid doing any exercise that is likely to worsen your injury. Contact sports, heavy weightlifting, and running can all cause the disc to worsen.

      In addition to helping the disc in your back return to its normal state, light exercise can provide immediate pain relief by lessening the pressure that the disc exerts on your nerves. If you find this to be the case, you may wish to take short breaks throughout the day to exercise.


    • Doctors will recommend that you take painkillers in order to help you continue your normal life while waiting for your back to heal. Unless you report extremely severe pain, doctors will most likely recommend a light analgesic. If these do not help you enough, or you have very severe pain, they may suggest a stronger painkiller such as codeine. If you are uncomfortable taking heavy painkillers, be sure to let your doctor know, and he may be able to provide alternative suggestions.

      You should take prescribed painkillers on a regular schedule and not only in response to flare ups of pain. This will increase their effectiveness. If you experience negative side effects from the painkillers, do not just take them less often, but let your doctor know so that he can prescribe an alternative painkiller.


    • Doctors typically wish to avoid resorting to surgery for prolapsed intervertebral discs because they normally heal on their own. Occasionally though discs will not heal and, after exhausting all other treatments, your doctor will recommend surgery. Surgery for prolapsed intervertebral discs involves cutting away the section of the disc that puts pressure on the nerves. Surgery does not always work, but normally it will. You can not return to work immediately after surgery. Expect to spend at least two weeks, and up to two months resting, but only the first two or three days in bed.

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