Low back pain is a common complaint among adults, and a lumbar herniated disc is a painful common cause. Your spinal discs are spongy fluid-filled sacs that act as shock absorbers between your vertebra. When the outer tissue of your disc is torn, fluid leaks out, resulting in a ruptured or herniated disc, sometimes called a slipped disc. Disc herniation is often associated with weak core muscles, poor postural habits and repetitive overuse of low back muscles. A ruptured lumbar disc can irritate nearby nerves, causing pain, weakness or numbness in your legs.
A herniated disc can be extremely painful and debilitating, and surgery may seem like the most expedient way to relieve your suffering. However, evidence is mounting that non-surgical conservative therapy may be a better course of action for treating a herniated disc. In a newly released Meta-Analysis of eleven separate studies, Zhong et al. (2017) found that, at least 66 percent of the time, herniated discs resolve themselves with conservative herniated disc treatment, like that offered at New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehab and Physical Therapy (NYDNR). In other words, the discs self-heal.
Zhong’s research revealed the even more astonishing finding that the worst herniated discs are the most likely to spontaneously recover. The study’s authors concluded that conservative non-surgical therapy may become the first choice of treatment for lumbar herniated discs. If you suffer from a herniated lumbar disc and live in New York City, consult with a herniated disc specialist at NYDNR to find the right treament plan for you.
Following is the original abstract from Zhong et al. (2017):
BACKGROUND: Lumbar disc herniation (LDH), a common disease, is often treated conservatively, frequently resulting in spontaneous resorption of the herniated disc. The incidence of this phenomenon, however, remains unknown.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the incidence of spontaneous resorption after conservative treatment of LDH using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.
STUDY DESIGN: Meta-analysis and systematic review of cohort studies.
SETTING: The work was performed at The Suzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
METHODS: We initiated a search for the period from January 1990 to December 2015 using PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library. Two independent reviewers examined the relevant reports. The references from these reports were also searched for additional trials using the criteria established in the PRISMA statement.
RESULTS: Our results represent the pooled results from 11 cohort studies. The overall incidence of spontaneous resorption after LDH was 66.66% (95% CI 51% – 69%). The incidence in the United Kingdom was 82.94% (95% CI 63.77% – 102.11%). The incidence in Japan was 62.58% (95% CI 55.71% – 69.46%).
LIMITATIONS: Our study was limited because there were few sources from which to extract data, either in abstracts or published studies. There were no randomized, controlled trials that met our criteria.
CONCLUSIONS: The phenomenon of LDH reabsorption is well recognized. Because its overall incidence is now 66.66% according to our results, conservative treatment may become the first choice of treatment for LDH. More large-scale, double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials are necessary to study the phenomenon of spontaneous resorption of LDH.
REFERENCE: Zhong M, Liu JT, Jiang H, Mo W, Yu PF, Li XC, Xue RR. Incidence of Spontaneous Resorption of Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Meta-Analysis. Pain Physician. 2017;20(1):E45–E52.