1. Taking it Easy
The treatment for most people with a herniated disc is usually conservative with bed rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and cold packs alternating with warm packs. Avoiding aggravating movements and activities with a slow return to normal activities is the key to long-term recovery. Too much sitting is bad because the sitting posture puts a large amount of stress and pressure on the lumbar spinal roots. Other medications include analgesics, muscle relaxants, or tranquilizers.
2. Physical Therapy & Traction Therapy
A qualified physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath can assist with decompression movements for the key area of your back, with exercises for strengthening core stability to support that area of your spine. Gentle spine traction (pulling apart) positions such as swimming can also greatly assist. Some specialty groups also offer computer and pulley assisted ‘Traction Table Therapy’ which can help manage the condition as well.
3. Spine Surgery for Pinched Nerve (Sciatica)
If a patient is not responding to conservative treatments mentioned above, then surgery may be required. Traditionally a spine surgeon might offer a microdiscectomy (a keyhole procedure performed through your back) to cut away the disc area which is compressing on the nerve. This is usually offered as a first surgery by spine surgeons.
Sometimes this type of discectomy surgery might only be a temporary solution to fix pain, because removing part of an unstable joint can cause greater instability, leading to more surgery in the future.
If conservative therapies fail and there is chance for permanent nerve damage, surgeons who are experienced in Cervical and Lumbar Disc Replacement
using ‘new-generation’ implants such as the ESP or M6 Discs may recommend Artificial Disc Replacement right away, to restore healthy height and movement to their spine, giving the patient the best chance at a healthy lifestyle without concern for ongoing surgeries. Traditional spinal fusions using Robotic Navigation
can also be offered as a ‘last line of defence’ for patients unsuitable for a motion-preserving surgery.