Most cervical herniated discs get better on their own over a period of 6 weeks. Even though I am a spine surgeon, I believe that it’s best to avoid unnecessary surgery and allow the body to heal naturally. With that in mind, I have listed below nearly every possible non-surgical treatment for a herniated disc in the neck being used today. The list starts with the most time-tested conservative treatments and goes on to list more alternative methods at the end. Each treatment is defined and explained. Following that, in the “Here’s The Bottom Line:” section, you will find my personal opinion about whether that treatment for a herniated disc is worthwhile.
Home remedies for disc herniation can be very effective in relieving the pain. These include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ) such as ibuprofen ( Advil , Motrin ) and naproxen sodium ( Aleve ), as well as the application of heat and ice. Alternating heat and ice is very effective for pain relief for many people. Activity modification is also important, which includes avoidance of activities that aggravate pain and may worsen the nerve impingement. Bed rest and complete inactivity are unnecessary; they hinder recovery and are not advised.
As you can guess, in the long term you’ll have to make some serious lifestyle changes in order to really treat the root problem by strengthening the right muscles and improving your posture. There is no doubt that these radical lifestyle changes will involve exercising regularly (here is a helpful article on exercising with a herniated disc ). By minimizing the pressure to the damaged disc and fixing the actual muscle imbalances you will slowly go significantly in direction of treating the condition. And remember, you simply cannot ignore all other causes.