Can a Herniated Disc Heal On Its Own?

Can a Herniated Disc Heal On Its Own?

If you’re experiencing a sudden onset of back or neck pain, especially if it radiates down your leg or hips, worsens after you rest, or comes with a tingling sensation, weakness in your leg or arm, or numbness, you could have a herniated disc

This condition is fairly common, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cause problems in your day-to-day life, making you wonder how to end the symptoms. 

One question our providers often get asked here at Integrated Spine and Pain Services is whether a herniated disc can heal independently or if medical intervention is required.  

Our offices in Falls Church and Alexandria, Virginia, offer personalized help, from diagnosis to treatment. Take a moment to discover whether your herniated disc can get better without medical help and how we can treat your condition when necessary.  

Why do I have a herniated disc?

Before you can understand why you have a herniated disc and how it heals, it’s good to grasp the condition. To help you visualize, imagine the bones in your spine (vertebrae) as a stack of jelly doughnuts. 

Your discs are like jelly centers (nucleus pulposi). They cushion your spine and aid in flexibility

If the soft center pushes out through a tear in the exterior of the “doughnut” of the vertebrae (annulus fibrosus), you’re diagnosed with a herniated disc. 

This out-of-place disc puts added pressure and irritation on the surrounding tissues and nerves. The result is the uncomfortable symptoms you’re experiencing, such as pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness. 

The most common cause of a herniated disc is disc degeneration, or wear and tear related to aging. Over time, the discs in your spine naturally lose water content, making them less flexible and, as a result, more likely to tear or rupture

While this is an expected part of getting older, not all older adults experience herniated discs, and not everyone with the condition is older. That’s because other factors also increase your risk of getting a herniated disc, including:

The good news is that regardless of how you developed a herniated disc, there are steps you can take to improve your symptoms and help your body heal. 

Will a disc heal on its own after it herniates?

If you suspect a herniated disc, seeing a provider, like a team member at Integrated Spine and Pain Services, is always a good idea. A spine expert can accurately diagnose your condition and ensure that any at-home therapies you try won’t worsen it. 

The good news is that, for many people, your body can heal itself if you use conservative therapies. With a diagnosis in hand, your provider recommends the right therapy for your herniated disc, which may include one or more of the following:

Your provider monitors your progress, letting you know how your spine is healing. 

What if my herniated disc doesn’t get better?

For those who aren’t getting relief from conservative therapies and need a bit more help to heal from a herniated disc, the providers at Integrated Spine and Pain Services can provide additional treatments to address your condition. 

Depending on your symptoms, the severity of your disc herniation, and overall health, your provider may recommend:

Rarely, some patients may require minimally invasive spine surgery to address the disc herniation and provide symptom relief. In this case, your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider works with you to find the right surgery for your needs. 

Have more questions about herniated discs? Get answers by scheduling an appointment with an Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider in Falls Church or Alexandria, Virginia.

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