How does a herniated disc heal.

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In summary, the conversation discusses the difference between a herniated disc and a ruptured disc, how the body repairs a herniated disc, and the possibility of a flattened disc growing thicker with rest. The individual has experienced re-injury to their back and has found that rest and reducing pressure on the spine helps with their symptoms. They are seeking help and advice on how to manage their condition.
  • #1
Spinnor
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I may have a herniated disc in my spine. I am currious by what actions the body repairs the disc? Is the ruptured material of the disc reabsorbed into the body? Can a flattened disc grow thicker with rest, does this happen while we sleep?

I Have re injured my back 5 or 6 times to varying degrees over 3 or so years. It seems the re injury occurs with little warning other then the bad disc was over used and abused more then average over a period of a week or two.

After about two weeks of problems, rest and reducing weight on the spine seem to help. The numbness in my thigh is going away and I can work a little more each day before things get painful.

Thank you for any help!
 
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  • #2
A herniation is not a rupture, and this is a very important distinction. A herniated disc is just that, herniated, or "bulging". The disc has moved, it has not ruptured. In time, these discs CAN return to their normal position, or at least one where the nerve is no longer impinged. Reducing pressure on the spine allows this to happen by increasing separation between vertebrae.

A ruptured disc, needs surgery in many cases. The material of the disc can in fact, be reabsorbed by the body, but it never "grows back". The problems with your thigh (peripheral neuropathy) which for your sake I hope is not involvement with the sciatic nerve (ouch!) returning to normal is an excellent sign.

You need to see a doctor about this, if you have not already, and look into what is indicated and contraindicated. Based on your experience, non-surgical spinal decompression sounds like the way to go, along with working on supporting muscles with a physical therapist.

I don't know what your age is, but if you're a young man, you need to stop doing whatever it is you're doing. Discs don't grow thicker, bigger, or better; they degenerate, and surgical options often include ablation or other forms of removal; you don't want lumbar spinal fusion in your future.

So, to answer your second sentence, the repair is nonexistent, or rather it is purely mechanical.
 
  • #4
It sounds like a herniated disc but you can't really be sure until you get it checked by a specialist. I would have it checked the earliest time possible before it gets any worse.
 
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  • #5
Well done for wanting to help jaz14a but this thread is over a year old, the disc is most likely healed now.
 

Related to How does a herniated disc heal.

1. What causes a herniated disc?

A herniated disc is typically caused by wear and tear on the spine, resulting in the weakening of the outer layer of the disc. This can lead to a bulging or ruptured disc, which can put pressure on the nerves and cause pain.

2. How does a herniated disc heal on its own?

In some cases, a herniated disc can heal on its own with rest and proper care. The body's natural healing process involves reabsorbing the bulging disc material and repairing any damage to the surrounding tissues.

3. Can a herniated disc heal without surgery?

Yes, a herniated disc can heal without surgery in many cases. Non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can help reduce pain and promote healing. Surgery is typically only recommended if other treatments are not effective.

4. How long does it take for a herniated disc to heal?

The healing time for a herniated disc can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the individual's overall health. In most cases, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a herniated disc to heal.

5. Are there any long-term effects of a herniated disc?

In some cases, a herniated disc can cause long-term effects such as chronic pain or nerve damage. However, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, these effects can be minimized and managed. It is important to follow a doctor's recommendations for ongoing care to prevent further complications.

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