Discussions By Condition: Back conditions

herniated disc (fluid leaked)

Posted In: Back conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: zxzkilme
  • April 18, 2009
  • 06:07 PM

so yea i have a herniated disc which the disc walls ripped i gess or popped open and the fluid is pushing my nerve.... will it heal? i heard it does... i heard over time the leaked fluid will just dehydrate and the disc will close again....

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2 Replies:

  • It will not heal, the disc will dehydrate over time (several years) but the part of the disc that has pushed out will not pull back into the disc and it will not seal back up into a normal disc. When the disc dehydrates it loses height and the bones that it is currently cushioning will get closer together and will not be as cushioned. If you are in pain from the disc pushing on your nerve the solution is to try epidural steriod injections and/or selective nerve root blocks and see if that relieves the inflamation and pain, physical therapy to build up the muscles that surround the spine and as a last resort surgery which would most likely involve either a discectomy or a decompression depending on what your MRI looks like and your physical exam.
    SpineGirl 64 Replies Flag this Response
  • A herniated disc can be very painful. Sometimes a protrusion/extrusion will resorb (or partially resorb) on its own. A complete resorption without treatment is very rare. In some cases, doctors perform a discectomy but in my opinion all of the non-surgical options should be tried prior to surgery. According to recent peer-reviewed research, the best way to get spinal discs to heal is through unloading and loading of the discs such as intermittent traction. At our physical therapy clinic, we offer the Pneu-Back Program. This involves intermittent traction (similar to spinal decompression but more advanced), unweighted walking on a treadmill (for unloading and loading of discs on a more rapid time scale), and exercises on the Pneu-Back Chair (a modified McKenzie approach). We have seen discs completely resorb. Unfortunately, the treatment is pretty new. There are only about 15 clinics like mine around the country right now. The second best option for you is spinal decompression. As long as the bulge or herniation is not bigger than 7 mm, spinal decompression can probably help. One of the issues with spinal decompression is that they do nothing to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. Your core muscles have not been used for a while because of the back injury. They need to be activated and strengthened. I would suggest physical therapy and then ongoing Pilates. If this fails, you can try acupuncture or a pain management specialist. The pain management doc will treat with a series of epidural injections to provide temporary relief. In some cases, that is enough to get a patient over the hump and allow the body to heal. Best wishes.
    PTOwner 4 Replies Flag this Response
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