Herniated disc is a common condition of the skeletal system, with the highest prevalence among people of ages 30 to 50, affecting men more than women. Some of the main risk factors for herniated disc include lifting heavy weights frequently, driving a vehicle and smoking, but it can also occur as a result of certain inflammatory or metabolic diseases or a result of traumatic spine injuries. Despite the high prevalence and the innovations in modern herniated disc treatment, patients who suffer from this condition believe in many myths on how it is treated and choose methods that bring little to no improvement. Herniated disc is a highly treatable condition and you need not live with pain for the rest of your life. However, first you must know what works and what doesn’t.
How effective are pills in treating a herniated disc?
Although many people resort to pills such as analgesics and muscle relaxants to cope with the pain caused by a herniated disc, it should be pointed out that there is no evidence to support the benefits of these drugs. They do not correct the displacement of the disc on the spine and could actually cause addiction. So, even if it might be tempting to choose the simple solution and buy a handful of over the counter pills, it’s best for your health if you look at the long-term solution.
When is surgery an option?
Surgery is recommended when pain persists for more than six weeks. Although patients dread the prospect of surgery and would rather try other treatments first, herniated disc surgery methods have advanced a lot in past years, allowing more flexibility and reducing recovery time. Depending on the particularities of your condition, the surgeon can recommend one of the following:
- A discectomy – this is the classic surgery for herniated disc, involving the removal of any abnormal protrusion of the spinal disc.
- A microsurgical discectomy – it corrects defects of the spinal disc by using a microscope, which greatly increases the accuracy and efficiency of the procedure.
- An endoscopic discectomy is a cutting edge surgical treatment done with an endoscope. Thanks to this endoscope, the incised area is minimal, reducing the risk of complications, as well as the recovery time.
The efficiency of alternative methods and lifestyle changes is not scientifically proven
People who suffer from a herniated disc, as well as people who suffer from back pain in general, are bombarded with all sorts of treatment advice. Some say that a herniated disc can become less of a problem simply by trying to stay active or by applying ice to the sore area. Others advocate for alternative methods such as acupuncture and massage. While these may provide temporary relief, they are not long-term remedies, so you shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations when going in for a session.
When it comes to herniated disc treatments, everyone seems to have an opinion, but if you want to be free of pain and get the most effective remedy, it’s essential to base your decisions only on expert medical advice and proven solutions. The ideal treatment varies from patient to patient, so it’s important to talk to your doctor and receive bespoke advice. Although drugs and alternative medicine might sound like a simple way out, in the long run they will do more harm than good, so do not be afraid to say yes to surgery when advised to do so by a professional. Surgical treatments have advanced a lot and modern procedures have a reduced recovery time.