Will a herniated disc go away or will it last forever, always causing pain and anxiety throughout life? This is a very common question we receive in various forms and it is time that we provided some solid answers to our readership.
How long do herniated discs last? Do I need treatment or surgery to find relief? Will the disc heal all by itself? These questions often accompany the original request and will receive equal attention in this post.
This discussion answers the question about the timeline of most herniated discs and their symptomatic activity. If you are wondering if your disc pain will end or if it will require treatment, then this is the perfect research material for you.
Will a Herniated Disc Go Away by Itself?
Intervertebral discs are actually continuously in states of bulging throughout their lives, especially those discs in the mid to low cervical and low lumbar regions. It is a little known fact that most disc bulging is never imaged, but does occur constantly throughout life in response to stress, activity and weight/gravity. Basically, bulging is considered a relatively normal state for discs to assume and is not necessarily permanent.
Some herniations will deform the disc for an extended duration of time. These herniations might shrink over time or they may not. Most herniations tend to get better with time from a clinical point of view, meaning their anatomical presentation tends to shrink with time.
Some herniations cause intervertebral ruptures, extrusions and sequestrations. In these cases, the trauma to the disc is permanent, but it is not unheard of for the disc wall to seal back up and for the disc to remain an effective protective tissue between spinal bones even after significant rupture. Other discs will not seal up and instead will completely desiccate or even calcify over time.
Will Bulging Disc Pain Go Away?
Let’s begin this crucial section with a basic fact for those who do not already know… The majority of herniated discs are not painful at all. Most people have herniated discs and do not even know it, since they do not produce pain or neurological symptoms.
Of the discs that are symptomatic, most pain will resolve organically without treatment in a matter of days or weeks. In these cases, it is also rare for symptoms to be very severe, although it is still possible in extreme cases.
Very, very few disc herniations will cause lingering severe pain. This comes as a shock to most diagnosed patients, since countless millions of people have their pain blamed on what amounts to normal wear and tear on their discs each year. It is a medical travesty. Herniated discs can only cause pain if they negatively influence neurological tissues, through direct compression or through chemical irritation. These circumstances describe the exception to the rule of asymptomatic bulging discs.
Therefore, before answering the question of whether your pain will go away or require treatment, it is far more important to ask and answer the question, “Is my disc actually the source of my pain or has it been misdiagnosed, like most disc issues?”
Will a Herniated Disc Go Away with Treatment?
Most herniated discs do not cause pain, or do not cause severe and lasting pain, so they do not require any treatment. Of the herniated discs that do cause significant pain, symptoms should resolve organically in most cases within several weeks time, without any special treatment.
Only a small percentage of disc issues will require treatment. These describe chronic pathological disc problems that are definitely compressing nerve tissue. Even cases of chemical radiculitis from ruptured discs tend to cease organically as the body absorbs the irritating proteins around sensitized nerve fibers over time.
So what type of treatment will most pathological disc issues require? Nonsurgical spinal decompression is known to work well for many patients and features very few risks. However, most patients statistically opt for herniated disc surgery, without ever knowing that the vast majority of procedures fail over timelines of 7 years, with many failing or even worsening pain immediately.
Surgical cures are rare, but can occur when the diagnosis is sound and the procedure goes well. Before even considering surgery, be sure to learn all the facts of herniated discs and consider your noninvasive options carefully for best outcomes!