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Will My Herniated Disc Resolve on Its Own?

Will My Herniated Disc Resolve on Its Own?

A herniated disc occurs when the soft, gel-like center of one of your spinal discs protrudes through the tough outer layer and irritates nearby nerves. This can result in pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

Dealing with a herniated disc can be incredibly painful and debilitating, so it’s only natural to wonder whether this condition will resolve on its own or if medical intervention is necessary. 

While some cases of herniated discs can and do improve with time and conservative treatments, it’s important to know the limits of conservative treatments and when surgical intervention is necessary.

When appropriate, our team of neurology specialists at Link Neuroscience Institute performs minimally invasive surgery here in Oxnard and Santa Barbara, California, to treat your herniated disc and reduce the intense pain associated with herniated discs.

In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about the factors that influence your herniated disc’s resolution.

Factors influencing resolution

Several factors can influence whether a herniated disc will resolve on its own:

Severity of the herniation

The severity and location of the herniation play a significant role in determining whether it will resolve spontaneously. Small herniations may heal on their own over time, while larger herniations may require more aggressive treatment.

The intensity of your symptoms

The severity and duration of symptoms also affect the likelihood of spontaneous resolution. Mild symptoms that improve with conservative treatments, such as rest, physical therapy, and pain medication, may indicate a better chance of natural healing.

On the other hand, more severe symptoms may require prompt intervention. Some disc herniations, for example, can lead to a condition called cauda equina syndrome. When your herniated disc presses on this group of nerves, it can lead to pain, urinary incontinence, and weakness. This won’t resolve on its own and often requires surgery within 24-48 hours of your symptoms.  

Your overall health and lifestyle habits

Your overall health and lifestyle habits can impact your body’s ability to heal. Factors such as smoking, obesity, and poor nutrition can hinder the healing process, while regular exercise and a healthy diet can promote recovery.

If you’re dealing with a herniated disc, follow your physical therapy exercises as recommended, rest, and eat nourishing, healing foods.

Exploring your treatment options for a disc herniation

To return to the titular question — “Will my herniated disc resolve on its own?” — the answer isn’t the same for everyone. Depending on the factors listed above and the results of imaging studies, your Link Neuroscience Institute provider will recommend either conservative options or surgical interventions such as: 

Conservative options

The best course of action for mild cases includes rest, physical therapy, and pain medication. 

You may also benefit from steroid injections. In some cases, lumbar epidural steroid injections can help you avoid surgery.

Surgical options

If your symptoms aren’t improving or if you have a severe herniation, your Link Neuroscience Institute provider may suggest surgery.  When possible, we offer minimally invasive surgical procedures such as:

If you suspect you have a herniated disc, don’t push through the pain on your own. Get the expert care you need in either our Oxnard or Santa Barbara, California, office. Give us a call or simply click here to request your appointment.

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