When a person is dealing with a herniated lumbar disk, the number one goal is to relieve their pain and any other negative symptoms caused by the herniated disk. Since no two people react exactly the same to a herniated lumbar disk, our doctor can create a treatment plan that is made to match the needs of the individual patients. Some of the factors that will be taken into consideration include where the patient is feeling the pain, how serious the pain is and what other symptoms outside of pain the patient is exhibiting.
In general, our doctor would not recommend that a person goes straight to surgery to repair their herniated lumbar disk. It is usually advisable that an individual start with conservative (non-surgical) care before having spine surgery for their disk. The only instance where our doctor might encourage a patient to have early surgery is when a patient is experiencing serious weakness in their arms and their legs as a result of the nerve being pinched by the herniated disk. When this is the case, scheduling laminotomy or laminectomy surgery sooner than later may make it easier for the patient to heal and may allow the nerve to completely recover. In instances where nerve compression is severe, if it is not treated right away, the nerve damage may become permanent.
With that being said, for most people, conservative treatments are more than enough. Non-surgical treatments can usually be given for weeks or months at a time, depending on the situation. The goal is to increase comfort and reduce pain. Since there are so many factors involved in the pain that stems from a herniated lumbar disk, finding the right treatment option can really be a trial and error type of thing. A patient may try one treatment option for a couple of days, and if it’s not useful, then our doctor may recommend another.
During a physical therapy treatment, patients are not only taught how to heal themselves, but they are also shown how to use proper body mechanics with the goal of preventing excessive wear and tear on their disks and preventing a re-herniation of a disk. Physical therapy usually includes strengthening and stretching exercises. The goal is to remove the pressure on the nerve root. During physical therapy, patients may undergo a mixture of heat and ice therapy. Both are designed to address different aspects of the pain.
If you suspect that you are dealing with a herniated lumbar disk, don’t grin and bear it any longer. Make an appointment at the office of Stanley C. Jones, MD in Houston to learn about your treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!