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What is the Most Common Slipped Disc Treatment?

Deanna Baranyi
Updated May 17, 2024
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Slipped disc treatment may vary according to the severity of the injury. Treatment for the least severe injuries can often be done at home with heat or ice and little medical intervention. Sometimes treatment for a slipped disc will require a visit to a doctor’s office and a prescription for medication. In the worst cases, slipped disc treatment may require surgery.

A slipped disc is also called a ruptured disk, a herniated disk, or a prolapsed disk. It typically affects the lower back and the neck. It occurs when the pads or discs between the vertebras rupture or split open. When this occurs, the gel inside the disc can seep out, creating pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. The result is pain in the area of the damaged disc and the area controlled by the squashed nerve fiber.

For some people, slipped disc treatment can occur at home. An individual caring for herself at home will typically apply a heating pad or a cold pack to the injured area. In some cases, physical activity may be restricted, but complete bed rest is usually not suggested. Over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be used as well.

Once the injured area is feeling better, there are certain exercises that may be recommended. Some exercises for slipped disc treatment can be done at home, while some may, at least initially, need to be done with a physical therapist or a skilled instructor. For example, water aerobics and pool exercises are great ways to strengthen the muscles of the back, but a physical therapist may need to teach the individuals the exercises so the area does not get reinjured. Pilates and yoga are often quite beneficial to treat a slipped disc as well.

Sometimes over-the-counter medications are not enough to treat the pain associated with a slipped disc. In those cases, other anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended and prescribed by a doctor. Some medicines work to relax the tight muscles and muscle spasms surrounding the injured area. Occasionally, a doctor might also prescribe a round of steroids or narcotics to treat the pain.

If the slipped disc area cannot heal on its own and if the pain is too severe, surgery may be recommended. Since time and basic care often work to resolve most of the symptoms associated with a slipped disc, surgery is usually not considered until other options have been tried and have failed for the patient. There are several options for people undergoing surgery, a specialist will cover each of the options with the patient and decide which option is best.

Although treatments for a slipped disc exist, prevention is the best option. Exercising on a regular basis is very important. It will help lower the likelihood that a disc will harden and break. It will also strengthen the muscles in the back to give the spine extra support. In addition, proper form should be used when lifting, and a back brace should be used during times of heavy lifting.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.
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Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
Learn more
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