Herniated Disc Treatment
At UPMC, we begin with conservative treatment, such as pain medication, physical therapy, or a combination of both. Drug therapy may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotics, nerve pain medications, muscle relaxers, or epidural cortisone injections.
A physical therapist can recommend muscle strengthening exercises and stretches to minimize the pain of a herniated disc.
Herniated disc surgery
Patients whose symptoms are not improved by conservative therapy may benefit from surgery. Additionally, patients who experience progressive muscle weakness from a compressed nerve can get relief from surgery.
A laminectomy removes some of the bone over the spine and the problem disc. Spinal fusion is a technique in which two vertebrae (back bones) are fused together with bone grafts or metal rods. By fusing the vertebrae, the painful motion is eliminated. A microdiscectomy may also be done to remove the fragments of a herniated disc through a small incision.