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Do Disc Herniations Come Back?

If you’ve ever had a herniated disc you know that it can cause significant back pain and sciatica. But if you’ve had this condition in the past, and are having pain again, you may be wondering if it’s recurring. Do disc herniations come back?

do disc herniations come back

What is a Herniated Disc?

You spine is made up of 24 bones, stacked in a column. In between each bone (called vertebrae) is a jelly-like material that prevents the bones from rubbing together. These intervertebral discs, or discs for short, have a tough outer layer. When the jelly like material inside the disc pushes through the tough outer layer it is a called a disc herniation.

If a herniated disc puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal column, it can result in significant pain for the individual. They may feel pain at the location of the herniated disc or the pain may radiate out to other locations in the body. The radiating pain is called radiculopathy. It’s also commonly known as sciatica when the pain travels down one or both legs.

Do Herniated Discs Go Away On Their Own?

Most disc herniations will resolve themselves on their own. So, nonsurgical treatments are frequently used to help the individual manage their pain.

Examples of these treatments include:  anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care, steroid injections and more.

In most cases, the body effectively heals itself in approximately six weeks.

Do Disc Herniations Come Back?

So what if you’ve had a herniated disc in the past, and are feeling pain again? Do disc herniations come and go?

They can.

There is a roughly 5 to 10% chance that a herniated disc will reoccur. One study found that recurrence often followed a physical event or injury. However, there isn’t always an event that triggers the recurrence.

If you’ve had a disc herniation which went away with treatment (either surgically or non-surgically) and it’s come back, it may make sense to have it evaluated again.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery