Herniated Disc Recovery – Introduction
Herniated Disc recovery begins with conservative treatments first and surgery as a last resort. With conservative methods, most herniated discs will heal naturally in about 6 weeks and do not require surgery.
Herniated Disc Recovery – Acute Phase.
The acute phase occurs immediately after the injury has occured. Resting up to 2 weeks in a comfortable bed is very important to help relieve pain and let the body heal.Â Putting a pillow under thighs and knees may help relieve tension in the back. When lying on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees and avoid laying down on your stomach. Also be careful when getting out of bed. You will want to try pushing yourself up into a sitting position rather then using your lower back.
It is important to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods while in bed rest because you want to avoid constipation. Straining when making a bowel movement will put a lot of tension on your lower back, slowing down herniated disc recovery. Prolonged bed rest will slow down intestinal function so if you have difficulty moving your bowels then a laxative is recommended.
Ask your medical provided for a prescription for muscle relaxants if not already recommended for some. Herniated disc pain in the acute phase has been shown to cause muscle spasms in patients. Although aspirin and ibuprofen are not very effective for acute pain, there anti-inflammatory properties will help herniated disc recovery in the long term.
Finally, learn to breath deeply from your diaphragm to help reduce lower back pain and apply heat or cold packs to the area of injury. Most of the time heat works better then cold although some patients find that ice packs work better. Switching from heat and cold can also help blood circulation in the area of pain.
Herniated Disc Recovery – Habits to help long term recovery
It is important to avoid quick Jerky motions, sitting in a chair for prolonged periods of time, straining, lifting, and constipation. For long term herniated disc recovery, you may also wear a brace for spinal support. Other good habits are to keep up with medications as recommended by your medical provider, keep feet flat on the floor when sitting, taking showers and not baths, applying a heating pad to your back. Most importantly, give your back plenty of rest and time to heal.
Herniated Disc Recovery – Indicated methods
Indicated methods include using proper body mechanics such as proper lifting technique. When lifting anything squat as low as needed and use your legs and not your back (keep your back straight). Physical therapy, regular epidural injections and perhaps oral steroids as recommended by your doctor, weight control, tobacco cessation, and tration therapy are all indicated methods to help with herniated disc recovery over the long term. Your physical therapists will give you a list of stretches depending upon the severity of your injury to help you recover and address mechanical factors and relieve pain. Back Traction therapy, electrical stimulation, and massages can also be used during a herniated disc recovery program.
Herniated Disc Recovery – Surgical methods
Surgery is used as a last resort to repair a herniated disc. All conservative methods should be tried first. Surgery is recommended if no progression has occured, the patient has a serious neurological defect, or if cauda equina syndrome has occured. Note that cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency and medical attention should be sought immediately. Surgery should successfully allow damanged nerves to recover and well as cessation of back pain and restoration of normal nuerological functions.
There are many types of surgical options. A disectomy or microdisectomy are the most common and are used to relieve nerve compression. During this surgery, herniated disc material that is pressing on the affected nerves are removed. A laminectomy is often performed as well. In this procedure, a small piece of bone called the lamina is removed from the affected vertebra so the surgeon can get a better view of the herniated disc. Microdisctomys are proving to be more effective at treating herniated disc and allow the patient to recover quicker and return to rehabilitation much sooner.
Tessys method is a surgical procedure for herniated discs that was developed during the early 2000s. The advantage of this type of surgery is that it is minimally-invasive and the surgeon has direct access to the herniated disc. Patients have been shown to have quicker recovery and a faster return to a active lifestyle. Immediate pain relief is seen in 90% of cases and other studies have documented a success rate of more then 93%.
References to Tessys method include
1.) A.Gibson; Transforaminal endoscopic or micro-diskectomy – Early results of a randomized controlled trial, Abstract 2010.
2.) F.Alfen et al.; Developments in the Area of Endoscopic Spine Surgery. In European Musculoskeletal Review 2006.
3.) M.Iprenburg and A. Godschalx; Transforaminal Endoscopic Surgery in Lumbar Disc Herniation in an Economic Crisis – The TESSYS Method. In US Musculoskeletal Review 2009
4.) M. Iprenburg; Transforaminal Endoscopic Surgery – Technique and Provisional Results in Primary Disc Herniation. In European Musculoskeletal Review 2007