Why Is Surgery Not A Conservative Treatment for a Prolapsed Disc?

 Why Is Surgery Not A Conservative Treatment for a Prolapsed Disc?


When someone has a prolapsed disc, which can also be referred to as a disc prolapsed, is without a shadow of doubt, a very painful condition that is often described as ‘excruciating pain’.  But there is a general misconception that such levels of pain should be treated with surgery as the very first option tried.  Yet this is not the case, which can be confusing for patients.  They are in a great deal of pain and they cannot live with the pain levels, so if surgery can help with a disc that has a prolapsed.


Conservative Treatment Is Not Surgery


Surgery is safer now than at any point in history.  Medical procedures are undertaken today that would have been inconceivable even 30 years ago.  Yet surgery is not conservative treatment, because surgery is invasive in the sense that it involves going in to the body to either correct something or remove something. 


Conservative treatment on the other hand is about any medical treatment that is not invasive and therefore should be the first option tried.


This does not mean that surgery is unsafe; it is safe, although obviously there are always some small risks associated with any operation.


However, in the case of a disc prolapsed, it is always better to start off with medication to reduce the inflammation and to manage levels of pain, in conjunction with some intensive physiotherapy.


Role of Physiotherapy


The role of the physiotherapist is basically to help the body align itself again and reduce the leakage from the disc that is causing the pain in the first place.


The physiotherapy team will also work with patients to educate them about how to further prevent a reoccurrence of the condition.  This may involve educating patients about lifting techniques or even posture so that they can ensure that there is no undue stress put on the back that may result in a disc prolapsed.


This is different from undertaking surgery.  Surgery will ‘cure’ the problem usually, but is seen as a last resort, especially because even after surgery there will be a need to have a rather lengthy period of convalescence and there will also have to be input from a physiotherapist to ensure that the back is healed and that again, the patient is advised in how to avoid a further reoccurrence of the condition.


Conservative Treatment Is Quicker


Using treatment options that do not require surgery usually elicit a speedier recovery.  Sometimes patients query this; isn’t it quicker to go to hospital have an operation, have pain reduced and then get back to work?


But any surgery on a disc takes time to recover from, then there is the physiotherapy and recuperation period, which all take time.  Using the right medication, the right physiotherapy techniques and even steroid injections etc can all enable pain to be quickly and effectively brought to a manageable level and normal life can be resumed more quickly and with far fewer potential complications than are involved with surgery!

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