Treatments for a slipped disc range from conservative to surgical. The treatment typically depends on the level of discomfort you’re experiencing and how far the disc has slipped out of place.
Most people can relieve slipped disc pain using an exercise program that stretches and strengthens the back and surrounding muscles. A physical therapist may recommend exercises that can strengthen your back while reducing your pain.
While it may be tempting to refrain from all physical activity while you’re experiencing the pain or discomfort of a slipped disc, this can lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Instead, try to remain as active as possible through stretching or low-impact activities such as walking.
If your slipped disc pain does not respond to over-the-counter treatments, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications. These include:
muscle relaxers to relieve muscle spasms
narcotics to relieve pain
nerve pain medications like gabapentin or duloxetine
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your symptoms do not subside in six weeks or if your slipped disc is affecting your muscle function. Your surgeon may remove the damaged or protruding portion of the disk without removing the entire disc. This is called a microdiscectomy.
In more severe cases, your doctor may replace the disc with an artificial one or remove the disc and fuse your vertebrae together. This procedure, along with a laminectomy and spinal fusion, adds stability to your spinal column.