Can A Herniated Disc Repair Itself

Can A Herniated Disc Repair Itself

A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, is a common problem that can happen at any age but becomes more common as you get older. It can be caused by various things but is most often the result of wear and tear on the spine. When this happens, the discs that cushion the bones of the spine may press on nearby nerves, which can cause a host of symptoms, including pain and numbness.

While a herniated disc may not repair itself, symptoms often improve over time. Keep in mind that even if symptoms get better, there is a risk of flare-ups in the future. It’s time to see a doctor if you have persistent symptoms. 

Board-certified sports medicine and orthopedic surgeon Michael Klassen, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating a full range of orthopedic injuries, including herniated discs. If you’re struggling with pain from a herniated disc, Dr. Klassen can help. 

Understanding disc herniation

The vertebrae that form the spine are cushioned by round, pillow-like discs with a tough outer layer surrounding the nucleus. Located between each of the vertebra in the spinal column, these discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal bones, providing a layer of comfort and protection.

When a disc becomes herniated, it means that a fragment of the inner core has pushed through the annulus, or outer ring, and into the spinal canal. This can often lead to pain as the displaced fragment presses on spinal nerves. Often, a herniated disc is in an early stage of degeneration, meaning there is less space for the spinal nerve and the fragment in the spinal canal.

A herniated disc can develop in any part of the spine, but it's more common in the lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine).

Why do I have a herniated disc?

Herniated discs can be caused by a sudden strain or injury; however, the discs themselves can degenerate over time. As the disc breaks down, a minor twisting movement can cause a disc to herniate. 

Some individuals may be more vulnerable to disc problems and, as a result, may develop several herniated discs along the spine. 

Herniated disc symptoms

Symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on the part of the spine that is affected. If the herniated disc occurs in the cervical spine, you may experience neck pain, while a lumbar herniated disc may cause lower back pain.

If the disc is pressing against a nerve, you may also experience abnormal sensations, such as tingling, numbness, or burning. 

Treatment for a herniated disc

Don’t wait around to see whether your symptoms will get better on their own. Instead, take the proactive step of visiting an orthopedic specialist. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with, which starts with a comprehensive evaluation. 

Once Dr. Klassen reaches a formal diagnosis, he can recommend the most appropriate treatment approach. The sooner you get checked out, the sooner you can get on the road to feeling better. 

Non-surgical options, such as physical therapy and epidural steroid injections, are first-line treatments for herniated discs. In some cases, symptoms persist despite non-surgical treatment. A small percentage of patients will require surgery.

Microdiscectomy is the most common procedure for treating herniated discs. This involves removing the damaged part of the disc and any fragments that are pressing against the spinal nerve. The procedure is done through small incisions and significantly improves symptoms.

Don’t ignore symptoms of a herniated disc. With the appropriate treatment, you can relieve related pain and other symptoms. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a visit with Dr. Klassen, call or book online today. We can help you get back to the life you enjoy.  

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