- When seeking ways to resolve a lumbar disc herniation, many people want to avoid surgery and start with conservative treatments. These treatments can include rest, ice, moist heat and stretching. Other conservative treatments include seeking a Doctor of Chiropractic's help to alleviate the discomfort felt with a lumbar disc herniation. The chiropractor can use adjustment techniques, ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation or traction. A newer method for traction found at many chiropractic offices is decompression therapy. This is computerized traction that slowly and mildly pulls the hips away from the low back to allow the portion of the disc that is protruding to return to its natural position.
- Medication for lumbar disc protrusions usually starts with over-the-counter pain relievers. If these don't work, a general practitioner may prescribe a narcotic that targets nerve pain and relaxes the lower back muscles. Cortisone injections to decrease inflammation offer some relief from herniated disc pain. This type of injection is done under advanced imaging and targets the specific spinal nerve irritated by the disc protrusion.
- Lumbar disc protrusions can be treated with physical therapy. A physical therapist will give you exercises to do to stretch and strengthen the lumbar muscles. Eventually, when pain has decreased and range of motion has increased, the physical therapist will show you exercises that focus on strengthening the core muscles to support the lumbar spine and decrease the stress placed on the muscles of the back.
- Those individuals who suffer from lumbar disc protrusion and do not get relief from conservative therapy after six or more weeks are candidates for surgical procedures. People with increasing weakness or an inability to stand or walk are also candidates for surgery. Typically, this procedure requires removal of just the portion of the disc that is protruding. If all of the disc needs to be removed, a fusion of the vertebrae or an artificial disc may be used to ensure the spine is stable after the disc tissue has been surgically removed.