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Management of low back disc herniation

A herniated lumbar disc occurs when the material inside is displaced due to trauma or repetitive strain. This can go on to press on surrounding nerves, and even cause spinal cord compression.

Lumbar disc herniations tend to occur in those aged 30-50 years old, affecting twice as many males than females.

Depending on the severity of the disc injury, it may be advised to manage it conservatively, or surgically.

Conservative management may involve spinal manipulation, exercise, acupuncture, massage, heat or ice. Everyone's injury is specific to them, so a plan needs to be carefully implemented according to their own needs. Medication may be appropriate in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, analgesics, anti-depressants, or muscles relaxants.

To further reduce pain, and promote physical exercise, epidural injections of corticosteroids may be useful. Bed rest is not advised as this has been shown to worsen and prolong symptoms.

Depending on the case, surgery may be an option for those that are showing little improvement from conservative methods, or their pain is significant enough to warrant further intervention after a six week period.


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