Treatment Considerations for a Lumbar Herniated Disc

The decision to continue with nonsurgical treatment options or to have surgery principally depends on one's level of pain and dysfunction.

  • Patients who can still function relatively well should continue with nonsurgical care, focusing on physical therapy to help prevent/reduce the chance of recurrent symptoms
  • People with severe pain that results in a great deal of dysfunction may want to consider surgical decompression of the nerve root.

Benefits of Herniated Disc Surgery

With better and less invasive surgical techniques, surgery often represents a more cost-effective alternative than prolonged non-operative treatment.

Lumbar Herniated Disc Surgery Effectiveness

In as study by Malter et. al., statistical analysis and historical models from spine surgery literature were used to show that surgery after six weeks probably represents a cheaper option than continued nonsurgical treatment for patients that had a lot of leg pain (lumbar radiculopathy). This study factored in patient satisfaction with the results of treatment, and used a statistical tool known as Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY). Patients with a great deal of pain relief rated the procedure high on the quality ratings and this offset the costs of surgery.