So you have a herniated disc and you have followed all of the advice you can get….you have talked to doctors, made appointments with physical therapists, went to physical therapy, used typical pain relieving strategies such as using ice and cold, took all of your medications, and maybe have taken a few epidural steroid injections and yet you’re still injured and in pain….what now you might ask?
Well before I get into that lets go over some basic herniated disc facts. Fact #1 is that 70% of people who suffer from a herniated disc will recover with conservative treatment without the need of surgery. This usually takes about 2 months or so. So you’re not one of the lucky ones….meaning you’re still reading up on how to recover from a herniated disc after being in pain for two plus months. 10% of people who do have a herniated disc and heal up end up getting a re-herniation.
The second question you wanna ask yourself is how bad is your herniated disc lowering your quality of life. Does your job depend on it? Do you get bad sleep because the pain wakes you up? Can you not bend over at the waist and/or do you have trouble walking and doing the things you love?
If you answered yes I am not one of the lucky ones and you have answered yes to your quality of life being impacted then it may be a good idea to look into surgery. You may think well my back will never be the same after surgery…well look at it this way. Your back already isn’t the same is it?
What I’m trying to get at is to not be scared of surgery and for these reasons:
- Surgery can only make you better at this point.
- Microdiscectomy’s are 90%+ successful. Even better with a experienced doctor.
- The odds of a complication are very very small
- The longer you wait the less chances of a successful surgery and the less chance that your nerve heals up
My advice and conclusion
If your herniated disc is not recovering on its own then it is time to talk to a neurosurgeon and get some more opinions on what do do for your herniated disc whether its the common L5-S1 herniation or the nagging cervical herniation. Surgery may be your only option at this point though choosing to stick it out is not a bad option IF you’re showing signs of improvement or your quality of life is not impacted (because research has shown that in the long-term; surgical vs non-surgical patients end up with the same outcome).