An accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan are important for a successful outcome. Your doctor will usually diagnose a herniated disc based on your history of symptoms along with a physical examination, where your sensations, reflexes and the strength of the muscles are evaluated. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI or CT scans or electromyography (measures nerve signals to muscles) may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of a herniated disc.
Treatment comprises of conservative and surgical options. Conservative treatment may include rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, muscle relaxants, cold or hot compresses, activity and posture modifications, physical therapy, spinal injections, electrical stimulation, traction or braces. You doctor may recommend a combination of two or more treatment modalities to enhance the potential of success of the treatment.
Surgery is not always indicated for herniated disc. It is considered if you have an unstable spine, neurological dysfunction or persistent pain that does not respond to conservative treatment. A minimally invasive spine surgery may be performed to remove the protruding portion of the disc. In rare cases, the entire disc is removed, and the adjacent vertebrae are fused or an artificial disc is inserted.
Your surgeon will discuss surgical options and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for you.