Resorption of a Herniated Disc

Topic Overview

Resorption of a herniated disc occurs after the jellylike material (nucleus) inside a spinal disc is squeezed through the outer shell (capsule or annulus) and is exposed to other tissues. These tissues respond by making chemicals that break down the nucleus material and other disc fragments, which are then gradually absorbed by the body. This can relieve pressure on the nerve roots, so that symptoms (such as pain, numbness, or weakness) may improve or go away.

Resorption may occur over a period that ranges from months to years. In some cases only part of the disc material is resorbed. But this is often enough to relieve pressure on the nerve roots so that symptoms improve or go away.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last Revised March 12, 2012

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