Can a Herniated Disc Heal on it’s Own?

Posted on Jan 1, 2017


While it’s possible for the symptoms and pain caused by a herniated disc to subside over time, this may not mean it can or has healed on it’s own.

How does the herniated disc cause pain?

Just hearing the term ruptured can conjure up all sorts of images involving pain. A herniated disc happens in two ways: either the disc herniates by rupturing the outer layer of the disc called the annulus, or by breaking the end plate off the vertebral body. This allows the soft gel like center to ooze out, which in turn can pinch or compress parts of the nerve sac, resulting in pain.

How does a herniated disc get better on it’s own?

The disc can become asymptomatic on it’s own through the following 3 processes:

  1. An immune response by your body when it recognizes the portion of the disc that has herniated as foreign material. It will then attack the fragment, reducing it’s size and removing the inflammatory proteins.
  2. Absorption of water by the body as the herniated fragment contains water. With time the water will be absorbed, causing the fragment to shrink in size and relieving the pressure on nearby nerves.
  3. Natural disc mechanics can also come into play. Some believe that through extension exercises the symptomatic portion of the disc can be moved inward toward the disc and away from the spinal nerve, which can relieve pain. This is a highly controversial treatment however, and does not work for everyone.

Any of these may help reduce the size of the herniation, which can make your nerve root less likely to be affected and while not technically healed, it will not cause any pain.

Managing your herniated disc

Taking the risk of waiting for the symptoms to go away is not the best way to treat your herniated disc in Murfreesboro. Instead, you may want to focus on your treatment and rehabilitation to reduce acute symptoms and prevent future problems. Whether it’s a herniated disc problem or something else is affecting your quality of life, a visit to our office is the first step. Call us now at Revolution Health Center to book your appointment.

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