Herniated disc injuries and the time it takes to heal depend on the injury’s cause, the severity, and where it occurred along the spine. Symptoms can last a few days to months. Chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, and decompression realign the spine and return the disc to its correct position. Still, the herniated disc signs it is returning to normal can take time as the rest of the spine and body adjust to the realignment.Herniated Disc Signs It Is Returning To Normal

Herniated Disc Signs It Is Returning To Normal

Most cases take a few weeks with healing time depending on health conditions, physical activity level, and age. However, in severe cases, a herniated disc can take up to several months to fully heal, but discomfort symptoms usually resolve sooner.

Expectations From a Healing Disc

  • Resting the spine and taking it easy after the injury is recommended.
  • Too much rest is not recommended as it can cause muscle stiffness.
  • While the herniated disc is healing, a primary doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants to help ease discomfort.
  • A chiropractor and/or physical therapist can teach exercises and stretches to relieve pressure on nerves, loosen tight muscles, and improve circulation.

Signs The Herniated Disc Is Healing

  • Most herniated discs cause significant pain in the back and neck from the nervous system, causing some of the muscles of the low back or neck to spasm to protect the area from further damage.
  • Usually, the muscle spasms relax within the first days of the injury.
  • After spinal decompression, neurological symptoms like the sharp, shooting pain down a nerve in the arm or leg are the first symptoms to go away.
  • Then muscle weakness along the path of the nerve goes away.
  • Numbness in the extremities can linger around longer.

Length of Time

  • The wear and tear of adult spinal discs, combined with unhealthy posture habits, job occupation, previous injuries, etc., decrease blood circulation.
  • This is why it can take some time to heal completely, as the entire blood supply needs to reset to optimal circulation.
  • Nerve compression causing aches and pain sensations down the nerves can also take time.

Regular Activity

Returning to regular activities depends on the individual’s case and condition. It is essential not to overdo things that can cause excessive loading of the spine before the disc has fully healed, which increases the risk of re-herniation and other injuries.

  • Inactivity can slow the healing process and cause inflammation.
  • Patients are encouraged to return to activities that generate gentle motion to stimulate the stabilizing muscles to function properly and increase blood circulation to the injured area.
  • Individuals are recommended to:
  • Learn posture improvement when walking, sitting, standing, and sleeping.
  • Adjust sleep patterns.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory nutrition during the healing process.
  • Engage in light, gentle exercises.
  • Keep the body hydrated.
  • Avoid alcohol during the healing process.
  • This provides a mechanical and biological environment that eventually becomes a personalized exercise physical therapy program.

DOC Spinal Decompression


Díez Ulloa, Máximo Alberto. “Role of Microangiogenensis in Disc Herniation Healing.” Journal of investigative surgery: the official journal of the Academy of Surgical Research vol. 34,6 (2021): 685. doi:10.1080/08941939.2019.1682725

Factors that influence recovery: Mayo Clinic. February 8, 2022. “Herniated disk.” www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/herniated-disk/symptoms-causes/syc-20354095

Factors that influence recovery: NHS. March 22, 2021. “Slipped Disc.” www.nhs.uk/conditions/slipped-disc/

How to speed up healing time: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. January 2022. “Herniated Disk in the Lower Back” orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/herniated-disk-in-the-lower-back/

Keramat, Keramat Ullah, and Aisling Gaughran. “Safe physiotherapy interventions in large cervical disc herniations.” BMJ case reports vol. 2012 bcr2012006864. 18 Aug. 2012, doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006864

Stoll, T et al. “Physiotherapie bei lumbaler Diskushernie” [Physiotherapy in lumbar disc herniation ]. Therapeutische Umschau. Revue therapeutique vol. 58,8 (2001): 487-92. doi:10.1024/0040-5930.58.8.487

Swartz, Karin R, and Gregory R Trost. “Recurrent lumbar disc herniation.” Neurosurgical focus vol. 15,3 E10. 15 Sep. 2003, doi:10.3171/foc.2003.15.3.10

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The information herein on "Herniated Disc Signs It Is Returning To Normal: Sciatica Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.