Poor Harry has been struggling for a week with his neck pain. After searching for information on the internet, he is pretty sure that he has a herniated cervical disc. His wife wants him to go to the doctor, but it is tax season and there is no time for that. He hopes that this pain will just pass.
Spinal disc herniation is more often than not a recoverable injury. Discs heal. Nearly 85% of people with disc herniations have good or excellent outcomes. Also remember that some people have herniations and have no pain. The common misconception is that disc herniations require surgery. Sure, some herniations cause those “red flag” nerve problems that need surgery. But, most disc issues progress towards resolution naturally. A majority of herniations resolve within 12 weeks. That is why MRI’s are not considered necessary until the 12 week post-injury point. After that, with strengthening and education, some herniations take up to 6 months of healing time. Only the most severe herniations that cause significant nerve damage can take up to a 1 year for recovery because nerves take a little longer to repair. The entire healing process depends on the health of the individual. Fortunately, Harry is healthy and doing the right thing by resting a little bit and controlling the inflammation. By allowing nature take its course, he is highly likely to fully recover. Recovery and healing happens, naturally. For this reason, disc herniations do not have to be scary.