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What are some ways to treat a herniated L5-S1 disk?

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Remedies for a herniated L5-S1 disk include nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, manual manipulation, and heat and ice therapy, according to Spine-health. In most cases, a patient’s pain resolves in approximately six weeks or less.

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Other nonsurgical options to treat a herniated L5-S1 disk include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs; oral steroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisolone; and epidural injections of cortisone, explains Spine-health. In cases where pain and symptoms continue beyond a six-week treatment window, or if the pain is severe, microdiscectomy surgery may be necessary. A microdiscectomy involves making a small incision in the affected area of the spine and removing a small part of the disc that is pushing against the nerve, thereby taking pressure off the nerve root and relieving pain and other symptoms.

A herniated disk occurs when the spongy, shock-absorbing disks located in the spine become damaged and bulge or break open, notes WebMD. As the herniated disk presses against the nerve root, it causes pain, numbness and weakness. The condition can happen in any part of the spine, but most often occurs in the lower back, and to a lesser degree, in the neck. Herniated disks tend to occur as the result of prolonged wear and tear of the disc as it dries out and becomes less flexible, or due to some form of underlying injury to the spine that causes small tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc, explains WebMD.

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