-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Delaying treatment for a
herniated disc beyond six months may reduce your chances of
recovery, new research finds.
A study of nearly 1,200 U.S. patients found that those treated
within six months of first experiencing herniated lumbar disc
symptoms had less pain and disability years later than those who
waited longer to be treated.
The patients in the study were older than 18 years and treated
at 13 spinal practices in 11 states. They were assigned to have
either surgery (lumbar discectomy) or to receive nonsurgical
treatment such as physical therapy, education, a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug, and/or counseling with home exercise
Follow-up with the patients was conducted six weeks, three
months, six months, one year, two years and four years after
When they compared the results for the 927 patients who had
symptoms for six months or less and the 265 patients who had
symptoms for longer than six months, the researchers found that
results at all follow-up intervals were significantly worse for
patients who went longer without treatment.
The study also found that surgery was much more effective than
nonsurgical treatment, but the relative increased benefit of
surgery over nonsurgical treatment was not dependent on the
duration of the symptoms.
The study was published recently in the
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
"Patients who have had symptoms for longer than six months can find relief with either nonoperative treatment or surgery, but they may not reap as much benefit as those who have had symptoms for six months or less," study author Dr. Jeffrey A. Rihn said in a news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Surgery still has significant benefit compared with nonsurgical treatment, even in patients who have had symptoms for longer than six months."
Lumbar disc herniation can cause back pain and pain, numbness,
tingling and/or weakness in one or both legs. It occurs when the
discs, or cushions, between the bones of your back weaken, allowing
a jelly-like substance called the nucleus to push out. Symptoms
frequently abate within six to eight weeks.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.