Can A Herniated Disc Heal On Its Own? What You Need To Know
We all start panicking once we hear the word surgery, isn’t that right? Your MRI certainly shows that you have a few herniated discs, but is that reason enough to worry about getting a surgery done? We don’t think so. You’ll be relieved to know that there is medical proof which clearly answers the big old question of how can a herniated disc heal on its own.
While it’s true that a herniated disc has the ability to heal on its own, this miracle will only transpire if you care enough and take the necessary steps to properly treat the condition yourself. And once you do that, there are very high chances of your herniated disc withering back to its normal size again. So take a deep breath and try to understand the condition better so you can take the right decision.
What is A Herniated Disc?
Your spine consists of small yet resilient discs that do the job of protecting it by acting as shock absorbers. So it only makes sense when anyone disc gets even slightly damaged or somehow injured that the condition inevitably leads to the disc either getting enlarged and bulging out or breaking open. And this is called herniated disc.
Even though these small spongy discs are located along the back of your spine, almost 80% of herniated discs are caused only in the lower back region of your spine while the remaining 20% in the neck region. Upper back discs are significantly less susceptible to developing this kind of a condition.
What are the Causes of Herniated Disc?
As we get older, there’s a process called disc degeneration that simultaneously takes its natural course in our spine. It’s called wear and tear.
The fluid that provides flexibility to the discs starts to wane, which gives rise to tiny tears or gaps on the outer surface of the discs. Once the crack is formed, the thick gel that is safely stored in the disc leaks out, forcing the disc to swell up or break open. This is simply nature taking its course.
Other not so natural causes are as follows:
- A herniated disc can be caused when your lower back suddenly experiences heavy pressure or increased strain due to some physical activity that you’re performing.
- Physically challenging activities done in the wrong manner and regularly have the tendency to increase tension in your lower back. And this can eventually lead to a herniated disc.
What are the Symptoms of Herniated Disc?
Once a herniated disc develops, it applies some pressure on the nerve roots and it is the pain, discomfort, numbness, and weakness caused by this pressure on the nerve that you should flag as a signal. This usually happens in the lower region of your body, below your spine. And such a condition is called sciatica.
If it’s not sciatica, then a herniated disc may cause a severe or a mild backache and sometimes even no backache at all. See causes of pain between your shoulder blade and spine and how to treat it here.
Other common symptoms are numbness or weakness down both the legs, which is usually paired with the loss of bladder control or loss of bowel movements. It is highly advisable to contact your doctor immediately once you notice this particular change in your body.
Can a Herniated Disc Heal on Its Own?
Yes, of course, it can. With a herniated disc, you should set out to achieve 2 goals. One should be to decrease the amount of pain you’re experiencing and the second to make your back stronger.
To Reduce Pain
In order to significantly decrease the amount of pain caused by herniated disc, it is very important and highly advisable to let your body relax every now and then. Find a position that allows your whole body to comfortably rest.
The best way to do this is to lie down on a bed that is not too hard and not too soft with a pillow under your knees as well as your head. It is imperative to keep changing your position a little too often.
How can a herniated disc heal on its own when you’re not doing what every human being is supposed to do in order to keep their spine healthy? It’s a simple exercise called walking. Whether you have a herniated disc or not, walking for at least 20 minutes every 3 hours is advisable to reduce all kinds of spine and leg pain. But don’t overstress your muscles. As soon as the pain kicks in, take a hint and walk when the pain subsides.
Applying ice or heat to the painful region does help sometimes, so don’t shy away from adopting this method. You can use a heating pad or ice pack every 3 to 4 hours. Place it on the area that is causing pain for at least 15 to 20 minutes and try using both, the heating pad and ice pack at the same time, but alternatively.
To Strengthen the Back
If you want to know how often can a herniated disc heal on its own, you should understand the benefits of physical therapy. It trains your body to remain active at all times, which contributes to helping your spine return to its normal state again.
Exercising, especially core stabilization exercises have proved to go a long way in strengthening the spine and the lower back muscles. And how can a herniated disc heal on its own if your spine and lower back muscles are not strong enough?
Be Consistent, be Careful
So you don’t need to worry about getting any surgery done if the condition is under control. A couple of protruding discs don’t have the power to defeat your spine, so take the driver’s seat and fight that herniated disc. But remember to sit up straight while driving, because you know how important body posture is in curing such a condition. Just kidding.
Don’t rush into surgery; first, follow these simple steps that will help in healing the herniated disc naturally:
- Find a comfortable position for rest and lie down in that position once every 3 hours.
- Talk a short walk on a flat, leveled surface for a span of 20 minutes every 3 hours.
- Apply a heating pad or ice pack or both to achieve instant relief from the pain.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your back.
The rewards that you’ll gain by exercising regularly will not only help you in healing herniated disc but also provide long-term benefits in terms of a healthy and active lifestyle.
Have you tried any of these methods before and have they helped you in any way? Please let us know in the comments section below.