Is conservative treatment enough for patients who have pressure on their spinal cords from a ruptured disc in their necks?

Researchers in Japan recently tried to answer this question. They studied 27 patients with mild symptoms of spinal cord pressure due to a ruptured disc in their necks.

Patients wore neck braces and restricted their activities for up to six months. Seventeen of the patients (63 percent) improved or stayed the same. The injured discs actually healed themselves in 10 of these patients (59 percent).

The other 10 patients either did not improve or got worse in six months' time. These patients eventually had surgery to get the pressure off the spinal cord.

Both groups had the same amount of function at follow-up. And both groups were satisfied with their results. This research suggests that conservative treatment may help some patients with disc herniations that cause mild pressure on the spinal cord.