Finding the ideal herniated disc prescription can feel like an impossible mission for any patient who has already tried several different treatments for their chronic pain, but still suffers each and every day. The vast majority of patients with theorized disc pain lasting more than a year have attempted a variety of measures to end their agony, yet it continues unchecked and often worsens with time.
Doctors love to prescribe: drugs, therapy, surgery, etc. However, few of these recommendations turn out to be the actual magic bullet needed to permanently cure disc-related back or neck pain.
This article examines several of the most common prescriptions for herniated disc treatment. We will delve into why most of these recommendations typically fail and provide guidance on finding therapy that may actually succeed.
Herniated disc drugs compose the most widely prescribed treatment choice. Most patients do not understand that the drugs will do nothing at all to resolve their herniation. Drugs will not help the spine to heal and will not shrink the size of an intervertebral protrusion. Instead, the patient is lucky if they even receive adequate symptomatic relief from their pain. Most patients never even achieve this goal, despite being placed on a strict regimen of hazardous pharmaceutical substances.
Drugs that are prescribed for disc conditions are used to fight pain, reduce inflammation and relax muscles. Some are even anti-depressants that have shown promise for acting on chronic pain conditions. Patients must understand that drug therapies are not curative and simply treat pain by altering its perception, rather than resolving its true causation.
Pharmaceutical therapy may be partially or fully effective, but all drugs come with known and unknown risk factors which may be worse than the condition they are attempting to treat. Be warned about pain-management drugs in general, and especially their long-term use. We have had the extreme displeasure of witnessing many sad cases involving addiction, organ damage and even death in patients who took many common pharmaceutical products, such as vicodin, percocet and tramadol.
Many varieties of therapy are used by physicians and complementary care providers to treat disc-related pain.
Chiropractic manipulations, physical therapy and various forms of exercise treatment are typical recommendations for patients with suspected problematic disc issues. Once again, patients enter into the care program thinking that these modalities will cure them completely and permanently, but few find this to be their reality.
Statistics clearly show that most therapies provide symptomatic benefits, but do not cure herniated disc patients. Furthermore, many research studies debate whether the benefits gained are due to actual efficacy or simply due to the placebo effect. In our opinion, it is likely to be a combination of both possible factors for many chronic disc pain sufferers.
Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy is a bit more enlightened for many herniated disc scenarios, since the treatment is of fixed duration and hopes to provide an actual cure, instead of temporary respite. Decompression therapy is worth investigating for virtually any patient who has a verified diagnosis of pain that is generated by an intervertebral bulge.
Statistics provided by an ever-growing number of studies show very little hope for a cure to be provided from surgical intervention for most varieties of back or neck pain. Worse still, disc-pain is one of the most difficult symptomologies to effectively resolve using surgery.
Some patients receive no relief at all after an operation. Meanwhile, many others enjoy complete or partial relief, only to suffer a recurrence of the herniation in the same disc, or a neighboring disc, within a short time frame.
Only a frighteningly slim minority of patients cite curative results for disc pain via surgical correction over timelines of 7 years of more. Additionally, many patients undergo surgery that is not clinically needed or even considered to be a treatment choice that is likely to result in a positive outcome. This is certainly not absolute, since a few patients do require operations for specific types of structural disc issues in the spine. However, compared to the actual total number of patients operated upon, this number is inconsequential. Most surgeries are unnecessary, ineffective immediately or in the long term, and often make matters far worse, as in the depressing instances of failed herniated disc surgery syndrome.
Logic and statistics dictate to avoid herniated disc surgery whenever possible. When invasive care is truly inevitable; always make the best choices in terms of procedure and surgeon to maximize the chances of achieving an acceptable result.
After reading essays like this one, so many patients write to us saying that they received a recommendation for surgery from their doctor and wonder why undergoing an operation is a typical prescription made by all manner of surgeons. What a surprise! I guess most of these physicians think:
“Gee, I make money by doing surgery, so maybe I should recommend it, regardless of the risk, prognosis or consequences.”
What a novel concept in medical business practice. These same patients are often the ones who write again in 3 or 4 years, when they are worse-off after an operation and can not even get their surgeons to return their frantic phone calls.
There is no way to be absolutely sure that the prescription selections offered by any one doctor will be ideal, effective, safe or even worth consideration. This is why it is vital to see more than one doctor, in more than one type of medical specialty.
Get a few additional opinions, both on the cause of pain and on the recommended care options. Many patients will experience diagnostic eclecticism and treatment diversity firsthand, since so many doctors have different opinions when it comes to back and neck pain.
If a patient does receive the same diagnostic and treatment recommendation independently from multiple physicians, there is a much better chance of being on the right track towards successful therapy.
If diagnostic and treatment opinions disagree with each other, do not act on any recommendation until becoming 100% confident that it is right for you and promising for resolving your particular type of pain.