Treatment Options for a Lumbar Herniated Disc

By Debra Rodzinak

Patient care should be individualized. This includes lumbar herniated disc treatment. The treatment options for a lumbar herniated disc greatly depends on severity of pain and length of time that the patient has suffered from the symptoms.

A rule of thumb for patients with lumbar herniated disc is to begin with 6 to 12 weeks of treatment before surgery is done. These treatment options include physical therapy, medications, injections, or chiropractic. Since every patient is different, the treatments that work or don’t work will vary from patient to patient. 

Goals of Treatment

However, many patients report that their symptoms from a lumbar herniated disc resolve on their own after an extended period of time. There are no set guidelines on healing a herniated disc, but the main goals of any treatments are to:

  • Provide pain relief in the back and leg which can be debilitating
  • Allow patients to return to normal daily activities

With the right treatment and time, the body can reabsorb the disc herniation and surgery can be avoided.

Chiropractic and Exercise

It is advised to try chiropractic or physical therapy involving exercise to strengthen the back muscles. The ultimate goal of chiropractic therapy is to reduce pain without the use of drugs or surgery. A patient often returns to a normal level of functioning with chiropractic care.  

Some exercises can help to strengthen the back muscles. Depending on the area that needs to be strengthened, the exercises will vary.

Back and abdominal exercises that focus on the supportive muscles of the spine are grouped into three categories:

Extensors - The back and gluteal muscles make up this group. They are used to stand, lift and extend, and move the leg away from the body.

Flexors - The abdominal and iliopsoas muscles make up this group. They are used to support the spine from the front and to bend over. The arch of the lower spine is also controlled by the flexors. When the hip is flexed and moved back toward the body, these muscle groups are also used.

Obliques - These are the muscles on the side of the abdomen used to stabilize the spine when upright. These muscles rotate the spine and help with good posture.

In addition to exercise, chiropractic care can help a patient recover from a lumbar herniated disc without the need for surgery or drugs. At The Joint, the expert doctors apply gentle pressure to the spine to relieve the pressure placed on the discs of the spine that become herniated. If you have been identified with a lumbar herniated disc from your primary physician, drop by The Joint for a drug-free path to pain relief.

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