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Herniated Disc - Pain Management Treatment

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The vast majority of people with herniated discs are successfully treated with non-surgical pain management treatments aimed at relieving pain and restoring function.  Over-the-counter medication or prescription medication may be used to ease your pain.  If your symptoms do not improve significantly with these medications, your doctor may inject your spine with corticosteroid medication to relieve pain at the source of the problem.

A short period of rest may be recommended.  Your doctor may initially restrict your activity level and body positioning.  You should avoid lifting, bending forwards, and quick abrupt movements.  You may wear a back or neck brace for support.  It can help to take brief walks and avoid sitting for prolonged periods.
Your activity level will gradually be increased by your doctor.  You may be referred to physical therapy.  Occupational or physical therapists can provide treatments to help reduce your pain, muscle spasms, and swelling.  The therapists will teach you exercises to help strengthen your neck muscles or back and abdominal muscles.
Non-surgical pain management treatments for herniated disc are designed to relieve pain and restore function, but they cannot correct structural abnormalities in a disc or the spine.  For some people, surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatments do not provide relief, if there is pressure on a nerve, and if there is considerable loss of function.  An anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common surgery for a herniated disc in the cervical spine.  A microdiskectomy or laminectomy are surgeries used to treat a herniated disc in the lumbar spine.

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