Herniated Disc Treatment
There are many options to consider for herniated disc treatment besides surgery.
Depending on which doctor (not witch doctor) you see initially will usually determine what herniated disc treatment you will receive.
If you visit a chiropractor most of the time he or she will treat you with spinal adjustments and/or decompression (traction) as an initial trial treatment. If that does not seem to be of help after 4 to 6 weeks then they will refer you to a orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon for a surgical evaluation.
If you visit your medical doctor first your early treatment will most
likely be anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, and pain killers. They may also order some physical therapy. If response is not favorable then they will refer you for surgical evaluations as well.
Herniated Disc Treatment Choices
Here are some of the more common means utilized for herniated disc treatment:
- Surgery - Most people with disc bulging or herniation do not need surgery. One study showed that after 12 weeks regardless of nonsurgical treatments 73% of disc patients showed major improvement.
- NSAID - This stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These have no positive effects on disc herniation outside of some pain reduction with continued use. They can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage and failure, cartilage degeneration and a host of other side effects. It has been demonstrated in laboratories that these drugs are actually destructive and will cause degeneration of normal joint cartilage.
- Steroid injections - This is a drastic attempt at treating disc symptoms and side effects can be serious. Any positive results the steroid injection achieved will usually be short term and destructive.
- Physical therapy and exercise - These measures are of little or no help when treating lumbar disc herniation in the early stages.
- Weight loss - This can be very helpful because any excess body weight will increase the internal disc pressure thereby increasing one's risk for disc bulging and herniation.
- Tobacco cessation - Tobacco smoking causes a decrease in oxygen to all body cells. Cellular oxygenation is necessary for healthy tissue including your disc. Another reason tobacco use can contribute to disc degeneration is because tobacco smoking creates a vitamin C deficiency. it does this by destroying what little vitamin C is in your body. Vitamin C is needed for the health and maintenance of collagen tissue. Collagen is the major component of spinal disc and joint cartilage.
- Spinal adjustments - Research shows that spinal adjustments are the most effective nonsurgical treatment and should be employed as the primary treatment choice.
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