There are several options available to treat herniated discs of the neck and back including physical therapy, manipulation therapies, and gentle exercises and stretching. In severe cases of herniated discs, it may be decided that surgery is needed to permanently relieve the symptoms of this condition. Therapy for a herniated disc typically begins with the most conservative approach possible, and the doctor and patient may modify and change therapies seeking the most effective one for the patient. It is not unusual for treatment of herniated discs to be an exercise in trial and error, often utilizing more than one treatment at a time, until the correct method is found. People who suffer from herniated discs are encouraged to allow each treatment option sufficient time to work before moving onto a new therapy.
Physical therapy for a herniated disc is the most commonly employed treatment. It usually involves teaching the patient gentle stretches and movements to both promote reduced strain on the affected vertebrae and also relieve the often extreme pain associated with this pathology. Another common aspect of physical therapy for herniated discs includes instructing the patient on proper body mechanics to encourage healing and help prevent a reoccurring injury to the affected area during and after recovery.
Another form of therapy for a herniated disc frequently used is the manipulative therapies. These include chiropractic adjustments and manual manipulations. Many people have found great success in relieving the pain and discomfort of living with a herniated disc while being treated by a chiropractor. By gently applying pressure to specific points on the spine, a chiropractor is able to realign the affected areas of the spine and promote natural structure. Chiropractic care is typically painless, and can be easily combined with other therapies to provide effective treatment and pain relief for the patient.
Surgery may be used as therapy for a herniated disc in extreme cases. The two most common surgeries used address the cervical and lumbar sections of the spine respectively. Herniated disc surgery for the cervical or neck region of the spine involves removing the soft disc material, and then the open disc space is fused to ensure the bony material of the disc stays stationary. When the herniated disc is located in the lumbar or lower back, the surgery usually consists of removing the herniated portion of the disc, relieving the pressure on the nerve and providing pain and symptom relief. In most cases, these surgeries are successful and the patient is able to enjoy a normal lifestyle.