Will Herniated Disc Treatments Make You Well Enough to Return to Work?

by Editorial Board on November 29, 2010 · 2 comments

in Your Limitations,Bone & Joint Problems

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A herniated disc is one cause of extreme back pain which may be so severe that sufferers are virtually bedridden, or reliant on strong prescription medication to be able to function at all. Many people with this kind of severe pain are simply unable to work due to both their pain and limited mobility.

In any treatment for herniated discs, the main aim is to relieve pain and improve mobility of the patient. In each case, the degree of pain and the symptoms will differ somewhat, partly due to the location of the herniated disc, and also because of the severity of the problem, alongside any other medical issues the person may have.

For a person who can no longer work due to the extent of their pain, one of the main aims of treatment is correcting or alleviating the problem enough that they can return to regular paid work. When it comes to deciding on the correct treatment, it is first vital to get the right diagnosis, rather than simply a doctor’s opinion. Objective evidence in the form of CT scan or MRI scan results are necessary to determine the exact extent of the damage, and these tests can also provide the detailed information needed to decide the best course of treatment.

Many medical professionals won’t consider surgery until other options are exhausted; however, in some cases, early surgery can be the key to a successful recovery. Patients who experience weakening of the arms and legs due to the pinching of a root nerve by a herniated disc often benefit from early surgery to correct the disc herniation, enabling them the opportunity to heal faster and regain full use of their limbs, which is a vital step in returning to work. If surgery isn’t conducted in a reasonable time, there may be resultant nerve loss, which can cause permanent damage, and thus a permanent disability.

In the initial stages after disc herniation, a conservative treatment that reduces pain and discomfort can be utilized, but may require a certain amount of trial and error. These treatments may combine analgesia (pain medicine) alongside physical therapy and/or spinal manipulation. Patients are often also taught good body mechanics, which will help to prevent future disc damage.

In some cases, such treatments will be enough to enable a patient to return to work, especially if they are employed in a fairly sedentary job which places little stress on the spine. Many patients can continue with such treatments over the long term, which will be sufficient to manage the condition. However, patients whose pain is extreme, and for whom such conservative treatments do very little, may require surgery. In these cases, patients simply won’t be able to recover enough to return to work unless surgery is performed, and even then it may not be completely successful.

Surgery for a herniated disc usually involves what is known as a microdiscectomy procedure, where the herniated portion of the disc is removed, taking pressure off the nerve root and thus reducing pressure and relieving pain. Provided the damage to the actual nerve root wasn’t too severe, such surgery may enable the nerve root to heal in time.

Whether or not surgical or conservative treatment for a herniated disc will be sufficient to allow a person to return to work depends heavily on the extent of the problem, and whether or not there was any permanent nerve damage. Herniated discs that are treated quickly, and are followed by good after care and rehabilitation, may heal enough to enable a person to return to paid work.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivan December 24, 2010 at 2:12 am

ЎUf, me gustу! Tan clara y positiva.
Gracias

Ivan

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