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There are many treatment options for a herniated disc, depending on the type and extent of the injury. There are some basic and traditional treatment options that will be suggested or prescribed by your physician. However, there may be further treatment options available to you outside of the care of your physician.
Physical Therapy Options
Physical therapy for a herniated disc often involves the patient learning various exercises that will strengthen the muscles of the back. Strengthening these muscles can help keep the disc from slipping or rupturing once it is healed, and can assist in pain management. Alternating ice with heat may also reduce pain and muscle spasms related to the herniated disc. These may be used in conjunction with massage therapy as well for the treatment of a herniated disc.
Massage Therapy Options
Massage therapy is another treatment option for pain management for a patient with a herniated disc. It is important to use a well trained, physician recommended masseuse for this type of treatment. A masseuse untrained in the medical risks of massaging a spinal injury may actually cause further harm to the herniated disc and the spine. Massaging of the back can, however, reduce the pain caused by the herniated disc as well as relax the muscles that can be tensed by pain.
Medication Treatment Options
Medication is actually used for treatment of the symptoms of a herniated disc, rather that treatment of the disc itself. An anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen may be prescribed to reduce swelling in the herniated disc that can pinch nerves or cause additional pain.
Muscle relaxers such as Demerol may also be used to take pressure off of the herniated disc, which can also cause pain. Additional medications may be prescribed for pain management and loosening of the joints. These medications may include Celebrex, Vikodin, or other pain medications.
Alternative Treatment Options
There are many alternative treatment options for a herniated disc that will likely not be mentioned by your physician. These treatment options include herbal remedies that may be a substitute for synthetic medications. You may also pursue alternative treatment options such as acupuncture.
In fact, acupuncture is said to be one of the most helpful pain management tools for a patient with a herniated disc. When using acupuncture, the patient is subjected to small needles being inserted into the spine and other pressure points. The basic idea is to release endorphins into the body that will reduce pain and discomfort.
Surgical Treatment Options
In cases of severe spinal injury, the herniated disc may require surgical correction. Most often other treatment options will be tried and rejected long before surgery is considered a treatment option for the herniated disc. This is due to the high risk of paralysis that comes with any surgery related to the spine or spinal column.
If surgery is deemed the only available and necessary treatment, your physician will review the risks and benefits of the surgery before asking for your consent or the consent of your family. After surgery, many of the treatments listed above will need to be followed as the spine heals.