When Should You Visit a Doctor for Herniated Disc Pain?
New Study Shows that Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds
In many cases, patience and time (and perhaps some medication) are enough to reduce the pain of a lumbar herniated disc, but a new study suggests that waiting too long to seek medical treatment for your low back pain may end up doing more harm than good.
The findings, which were presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), showed that patients who waited longer than 6 months to report their herniated disc symptoms to a doctor did not respond to treatment as well as those who waited less than 6 months to seek medical advice.
In this study, researchers compared 927 patients who had lumbar herniated disc symptoms for less than 6 months to 265 patients who had symptoms for longer than 6 months.
The researcher team found that the patients who sought medical treatment within 6 months of first experiencing symptoms responded better to both non-surgical and surgical treatments.
On a related note, the researchers learned that surgery was better at reducing the pain of lumbar herniated discs than non-surgical treatment, regardless of how long the patients waited to seek medical advice.
The lesson patients should learn from this study, researchers say, is not to wait too long to visit your doctor if your herniated disc pain is severe. If you have low back pain that persists, seeing a doctor sooner rather than later may improve the success of your treatment.
If you'd like to learn more about this research, click here.