Herniated Disc vs. Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments

It's critical that the doctor accurately diagnoses the underlying cause of the patient’s back pain other symptoms since the diagnosis dictates the treatment options.

For example, treating a lumbar herniated disc will not do the patient much good if a muscle strain or other soft tissue injury is the actual cause of the patient's pain. This point is particularly important for patients who might be considering some type of surgery.

Surgery may be considered when non-surgical treatments, such as pain medications, injections, chiropractic care and physical therapy have not provided adequate pain relief.

With that said, spine surgery can only alleviate a patient's pain if the herniated disc or degenerative disc seen on the MRI is the actual cause of the pain. If either of these conditions are the source of the pain, the following back surgeries may be considered:

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It should be known that surgery is never appropriate in the following instances:

  • As an exploratory procedure
  • When a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease is not likely the cause of the patient's pain
  • The patient has chronic pain but the exact source or pain cannot be identified

In This Article:

Herniated disc information

Extensive information—both articles and videos about all types of disc disorders—is provided on this site. Here are a number of the more popular resources.

Treatment options on a pinched nerve (herniated disc) that causes radicular pain (sciatica):

Treatment options for disc space pain (degenerative disc disease):