Do herniated discs require surgery? (2023)

Asked by: Bell Prosacco

Score: 4.5/5 (35 votes)

When & How to Seek Medical Care. Fortunately, the majority of herniated discs do not require surgery. With time, the symptoms of sciatica/radiculopathy improve in approximately 9 out of 10 people. The time to improve varies, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.

When should you have surgery for a herniated disc?

Your doctor might recommend surgery as an option for your herniated disc if: Your symptoms have lasted at least 6 weeks and make it hard to do your normal activities, and other treatments haven't helped. You need to get better quickly because of your job or to get back to your other activities as soon as possible.

Is surgery necessary for herniated disc?

Most herniated discs do not require surgery. In approximately 9 out of 10 people, symptoms will resolve over days to weeks. Some people who have a herniated disc do not experience any symptoms at all. Sometimes, however, the herniated disc presses against a nerve in the spinal column.

How long does it take a herniated disc to heal without surgery?

How long does a herniated disc take to heal without surgery? How long a herniated disc takes to heal often ranges between six and eight weeks. Additionally, patients with this condition often heal just fine without surgery.

Can you live with a herniated disc without surgery?

The good news is that the vast majority of herniated discs can be treated without surgery using manual therapy and exercise or with IDD Therapy disc treatment. It is only a small percentage of cases which go on to have surgery.

40 related questions found

Can you have a herniated disc for years?

Herniated discs are a common cause of chronic back pain, especially among people between the ages of 30-50 years. While many people with herniated discs suffer from chronic, unrelenting pain, others may find their symptoms come and go, or at least vary in their severity.

How long can a herniated disc last?

Self care: In most cases, the pain from a herniated disc will get better within a couple days and completely resolve in 4 to 6 weeks. Restricting your activity, ice/heat therapy, and taking over the counter medications will help your recovery.

Is walking good for herniated disc?

Absolutely. Walking is an excellent choice for patients with herniated discs, as it stimulates blood flow and oxygen to the cells. It also helps keep your discs hydrated, which is important for healing. Other low-impact aerobic activities to try are swimming and cycling.

How do you heal a herniated disc naturally?

1. Heat and cold therapy can help relieve muscle tension and pain.

  1. Apply heat to your back in the morning or prior to stretching/exercise to decrease muscle tension. ...
  2. Try placing a heating pad or hot compress against your lower back periodically throughout the day.

What happens if you ignore a herniated disc?

When a herniated disc presses on your spinal nerves or spinal cord, it can cause numbness, weakness, tingling, shooting pain, bowel and/or bladder problems—symptoms that can take a huge toll on your quality of life. The sooner nerve compression is treated, the more likely you'll enjoy a complete recovery.

What is the success rate of herniated disc surgery?

According to one study, the success rate for a herniated lumbar disc surgery was 78.9% among 39,048 patients. This same study reported a 94% long-term success rate for patients undergoing herniated cervical disc surgery.

Is a herniated disc permanent?

Most of the time, pain associated with a herniated disc goes away on its own over a period of weeks or months and does not cause permanent damage to the spine or nerves. A herniated disc can occur in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the lower back (the lumbar spine) and the neck (the cervical spine).

How do I know if my herniated disc is getting worse?

Some people's legs or feet feel numb or tingly. The pain from a herniated disc usually is worse when you are active and gets better when you are resting. Coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving, and bending forward may make the pain worse.

How bad can a herniated disc get?

An untreated, severe slipped disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, a slipped disc can cut off nerve impulses to the cauda equina nerves in your lower back and legs. If this occurs, you may lose bowel or bladder control. Another long-term complication is known as saddle anesthesia.

What happens if a bulging disc goes untreated?

If a bulging disc is untreated, the symptoms will become worse as the constant pressure on the nerve intensifies the sensations. This can also cause issues with walking, and even while holding objects, as the pressure impedes the ability of the nerves to transmit information properly.

What vitamins help herniated discs?

Vitamins frequently recommended for a herniated disc are:

  • Vitamin C – boosts the immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin D – promotes the absorption of calcium.
  • Vitamin E – boosts the immune system and reduces pain in muscles.
  • Vitamin K – assists with binding calcium to discs.

What foods are good for herniated discs?

The most common and most important sources of calcium are dairy products and their derivatives: milk, yogurt and cheese. Other important sources of calcium are green vegetables such as cabbages, legumes, almonds, oranges, and some fish such as sardines and salmon.

What exercises are bad for herniated disc?

Herniated Disc: Exercises to Avoid

Lifting heavy weights and doing dead-lift exercises. Sit-ups or crunches requiring bending and pulling on the neck. Running or other exercises that put repeated force on the spine. Sports activities that jar the spine (and most do!).

What activities should you avoid with a herniated disc?

Everyday Activities to Avoid with Herniated Disc

  • Sitting too much. Sitting puts more stress on your spinal discs, especially when slouching forward in a seat. ...
  • Doing laundry. ...
  • Vacuuming. ...
  • Feeding a pet. ...
  • Strenuous exercise. ...
  • Shoveling snow or gardening. ...
  • Learn more:

What is the best exercise for a slipped disc?

Gentle exercises, stretches, and activities can all help relieve the pain of a herniated disk. Exercises can also strengthen and improve flexibility in the spine, neck, and back.
...
Gentle activities that can help with a herniated disk include:

  • yoga.
  • swimming.
  • walking.
  • cycling.

Does a herniated disc ever heal completely?

Usually a herniated disc will heal on its own over time. Be patient, and keep following your treatment plan. If your symptoms don't get better in a few months, you may want to talk to your doctor about surgery.

Can a herniated disc heal after 6 months?

Long-standing evidence suggests that pain associated with a herniated disc often diminishes without surgery within 4-6 months. In fact, 80% of herniated discs get better on their own, without the need for surgery - and improve about 3 months after the onset of leg pain.

Can you become paralyzed from herniated disc?

With a herniated disc, the capsule cracks or breaks, and the nucleus squeezes out. This can irritate the spinal cord or nearby nerves, causing weakness and numbness in the arms or legs. A severely herniated disc can cause paralysis.

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