So you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc, but now what? You know that one of the discs in your spine that is supposed to cushion your vertebrae and keep the spine flexible isn’t doing it’s job because it is damaged. Should you have the surgery? This can be a pressure-filled decision to make, especially if you are in pain. But don’t worry. Here are a few things to think about when considering a herniated disc surgery.
Exhausting Non-Invasive Treatments
In the vast majority of herniated disc situations, you will begin your path to pain relief with non-invasive treatments. Common non-surgical treatment options for a herniated disc include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections
- Heat/cold therapy
- Stretching exercises and activity modifications
You may even be prescribed injections to help. Epidural steroid injections, for example, can:
- Ease pain
- Aid mobility
- Calm inflammation
While injections are not long term solutions, they can provide relief while your body is healing. For some, non-invasive treatments do not relieve the pain quick enough or to the extent needed to live a normal life. If you’ve tried non-invasive treatments with little to no progress, surgery may be the right next step for you.
What Types of Surgeries Fix a Herniated Disc?
There are 2 common reasons to consider a herniated disc surgery:
- Your herniation is so severe that it is clear a non-invasive treatment would not provide the ideal results, such as nerve damage and loss of bladder or bowel control.
- You are not improving with non-invasive treatments.
Most surgeries for a herniated disc condition are minimally invasive. This means that the incision site is much smaller with minimal postoperative pain. Other benefits to minimally invasive spine surgeries include:
- Reduced risk of blood loss and infection rates
- Less inclined to have reliance on pain medication
- Reduced risk of muscle damage
- Less rehabilitation required
- Quicker recovery
There are many different types of minimally invasive spine surgeries that can provide relief for a herniated disc. The specific surgical treatment for you will depend on the location of your herniated disc and other symptoms involved. Common surgical treatments for a herniated disc include:
- Anterior or Posterior Cervical Discectomy
- Endoscopic Foraminotomy
- Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy
- Endoscopic Laminotomy
- Endoscopic Laminectomy
- Spinal Fusion
- Artificial Disc Replacement
Do Herniated Disc Surgeries Work?
Minimally invasive spine surgery can alleviate your pain faster than other treatment options. Most people do very well after a herniated disc surgery. But there are many things to consider when assessing if a surgery “works” such as:
- The procedure you will undergo
- The details of your surgery such as location on spine
- The general state of your health
According to a Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial, patients are more likely to feel better if they had the surgical treatment before they reached 6 months of displaying symptoms. Many patients report decreases in pain, numbness, weakness, and other symptoms within days. Most can return to their normal activities in as few as 3-4 weeks.
We’ve Got Your Back
Deciding to have a herniated disc surgery is an important decision. Everything about this choice should be derived from your specific situation. At Oasis Orthopedic and Spine, your recovery, no matter the type, is a team effort. We help you get back to the life you deserve by partnering with you to achieve a shorter recovery time and improved mobility. If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc and want to learn more about what minimally invasive surgery could be right for you, fill out the Treatment Tool below.