non-surgical herniated disc surgery alternatives

Most people with a slipped disc or bulging disc in the lumbar portion (lower back) of their spine are treated with “conservative” treatment, meaning that the treatment doesn’t involve any kind of surgery. In many cases, lumbar herniated disc symptoms resolve with a few days of rest along with chiropractic care or physical therapy, and over-the-counter or anti-inflammatory medications. So patients are often advised to start with non-surgical herniated disc surgery alternatives to relieve the symptoms and get back into the normal life with no pain.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

To understand how any non-surgical treatment works, it is useful to first understand the symptoms of the herniated disc to seek the right treatment. However, the signs and symptoms of herniated and bulging disc are the same, they usually affect one side of the body

  • Weakness- Muscles innervated by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This can affect your ability to lift or hold objects, as well as walk distances or even arise from a chair.
  • Numbness or tingling- Those who are affected with herniated disc often have radiating numbness or tingling in the body parts. This indicates the patients should consult a MD or chiropractor who specializes in herniated or bulging discs treatment alternatives for a speedy recovery.
  • Arm or leg pain- If you have herniated disc in your lower back, you might feel pain in your buttocks, thigh, and part of the foot as well. If it is in your neck, you feel the most pain in your shoulder and arm.

Seek immediate medical attention if your neck or back pain travels down your arm or leg or if you have numbness, tingling, or weakness. If your symptoms continue, you can be suggested for non-surgical alternatives to spine surgery, herniated, and bulging discs includingchiropractic,  medication and physical therapy, and non-surgical decompression.

Treatment for a herniated disc

There is a wide range of non-surgical treatments available for a herniated disc, some of which may work better for some patients than others.

For many, the symptoms will diminish over time. While there are no hard and fast rules for treating herniated or bulging disc, the primary goals of non-surgical treatment alternatives are two:

  • Provide relief from severe pain, especially leg pain which can be debilitating.
  • Allow the patients to return to normal life and perform regular activities with no pain.


No two people experience the herniated disc symptoms in the same way. One person may hardly notice the symptoms of a herniated disc, whereas others may need medication for extreme pain.

Most of the pain associated with a herniated disc may be due to inflammation in the nerves and for treating the inflammation, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the first line of medications. If a herniated disc causes more severe pain, doctors may prescribe more potent anti-inflammatory medications.

Muscle Relaxants

If the disc slips  (bulge or herniation) from its position between vertebrae and pinches the nerve, the electrical signals that move from the nerve to muscle tissue may be disrupted, leading to painful muscle spasms. In such cases, muscle relaxant medications can calm spasms and ease pain and allow you to move easily.

Manual Therapy, Chiropractic and Other Treatments

Manual treatment often includes massage or chiropractic and special techniques for relaxing tense muscles or blocked joints. Such treatment options use warming and cooling methods to relieve pain. Common manual treatment includes:

  • Massages- Various massage techniques are used to treat herniated disc issues by relaxing muscles and ease tensions.
  • Chiropractic – Chiropractic adjustments move joints to increase range of motion, break up scar tissue and adhesions, and relieve pressure on bulging or herniated discs.  Chiropractic an improve function and help with pain.
  • Heating and cooling- This treatment options include the use of hot packs, going to the sauna, and heating patches. Heat can be a great medium to relax tense muscles. Whereas cooling techniques like cold wraps or gel packs to soothe irritated nerves.
  • Ultrasound therapy- In this method, the lower back is treated with sound waves to relax the body tissue.


Acupuncture is a therapeutic method in which the specialists insert very thin needles into various points of the body which then stimulate healing by increasing blood flow. For best results, doctors may suggest several acupuncture sessions.

The non-surgical treatment alternatives for a lumbar herniated disc will heavily depend on the length of the time the patient has had symptoms and severity of the pain. It is important to get the right treatment from a registered chiropractic professional to get out of pain and walk into the path of long term well-being.


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