Back & Neck Conditions
Disc Tear Treatments
Torn disc treatment is only recommended when the condition becomes symptomatic. Vertebral discs can continue to function normally with small tears without causing any symptoms or associated pain. However, if a torn disc is causing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle spasms, a proactive treatment plan to heal the torn disc or discs may be recommended.
Initial treatment for a torn disc begins with Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, often referred to as NSAIDS, in additional to rest and ice packs. Heat treatments can begin to be applied 48-72 hours following the injury to help increase blood flow to the damaged area and encourage healing. If initial torn disc treatments have little effect, you may require physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles that support your spine.
Additionally, alternative treatments such as massage therapy and acupuncture may also encourage healing. If alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic alignment are implemented, they should be used in conjunction with traditional treatments, and not in place of them.
Light aerobic exercises such as yoga, walking, or swimming are also good suggestions for torn disc treatment and prevention. In protecting and maintaining general spinal health, it is necessary to stretch the spine and the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
When to Consider Surgery for a Disc Tear
Surgery to correct a disc tear is usually not needed as conservative treatments quite often have favorable results. However, if after 6-8 weeks of treatment the patient's condition has not improved, disc tear surgery may become an option.
A discectomy may be performed to remove any material that is causing problems. If the torn disc is not healing and there is spinal instability causing pain in the area, a Fusion Surgery may need to be performed in order to stabilize it. A spinal fusion requires a large incision, muscle cutting or tearing, and a relatively long recovery time. In comparison to endoscopic spine surgery, patients experience an increased risk of complications and other side effects.