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Will a herniated disc heal on it’s own?

Based on a meta-analysis, 66.66% of lumbar disc herniation healed through spontaneous resorption.

“Lumbar disc herniation (LDH), a common disease, is often treated conservatively, frequently resulting in spontaneous resorption of the herniated disc. The incidence of this phenomenon, however, remains unknown.” 1

Conservative treatment of LDH means physical therapy and other forms of pain management, before considering surgical procedures. As recommended by Matthew Somma, PT, DPT, MTC, CSCS, the current Maine American Physical Therapy Chapter President.

lumbar herniated disc

  1. All individuals who present with a symptomatic disc herniation should complete some level of rehabilitation management. Whether it is a physical therapist, chiropractor or some other health care professional, it is important for the individual to know how to manage symptoms, reduce load to the spine and address positional bias so that they can alleviate symptoms and prevent future recurrence of disc herniation.
  2. 2.
  3. Interventional (pain management) Medicine should be included for patients with moderate to severe pain, unable to participate fully in conservative management, or present with mild myotomal changes.

  4. Surgery should be indicated if…
    They have failed long term conservative management
    Severe pain that limits activities of daily living or limits someone’s ability to return to work in an appropriate timeframe.
    Severe myotomal changes (ie drop foot). 2

In addition to Dr. Somma’s recommendations, acupuncture has been show to also be effective in treating LDH, according to a meta-analysis, by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.





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