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Specific treatment for lumbar disc disease will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Type of condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Typically, conservative therapy is the first line of treatment to manage lumbar disc disease. This may include a combination of the following:
Patient education on proper body mechanics (to help decrease the chance of worsening pain or damage to the disc)
Physical therapy, which may include ultrasound, massage, conditioning, and exercise programs
Use of a lumbosacral back support
Medications (to control pain and/or to relax muscles)
When these conservative measures fail, surgery for removal of a herniated disc may be recommended. Surgery is done under general anesthesia. An incision is placed in the lower back over the area where the disc is herniated. Some bone from the back of the spine may be removed to gain access to the area where the disc is located. Typically, the herniated part of the disc and any extra loose pieces of disc are removed from the disc space.
After surgery, restrictions may be placed on the patient's activities for several weeks while healing is taking place to prevent another disc herniation from occurring. Your doctor will discuss any restrictions with you.
There are other experimental therapies that are being used to treat lumbar disc disease. Discuss these treatment options with your doctor.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!