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Although a herniated disk is one of the most serious back injuries you can suffer, several types of treatment can minimize or eliminate your pain and help you regain full range of motion.

Above all else, you should never attempt to treat a herniated disk on your own. It’s critical to work closely with an experienced doctor.

Here are some of the best ways to treat a herniated disk:

  • Medication: There are several types of medication used at varying stages of recovery. These typically include muscle relaxers, over-the-counter pain medication, narcotics, anticonvulsants and cortisone injections.
  • Physical therapy: If your pain persists, your doctor may suggest physical therapy. A qualified physical therapist can help you strengthen your back and improve your flexibility.
  • Surgery: It’s not often necessary, but there are times when surgery is the best way to treat a herniated disk. For example, a discectomy is used to remove part or all of the disk. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of both open back and minimally invasive surgery.

If your herniated disk is a direct result of your employment, such as a blow to your back or repetitively lifting heavy objects, report the injury to your employer and let them know that you’re receiving medical treatment for the injury.

There’s a good chance that your doctor will suggest that you take time off from work to recover. If the injury occurred or was exacerbated by your job responsibilities, learn more about the workers’ compensation system and how to seek benefits until you’re able to return to your job.