Pain Management for Herniated Disc: Injection vs. Surgery

Pain Management for Herniated Disc: Injection vs. Surgery


Herniated disc pain can be debilitating, affecting your quality of life and daily activities. If you’re suffering from herniated disc, you may be wondering about the best pain management strategies. This article will explore the options available, specifically focusing on herniated disc injections and surgical interventions. Consult a knee pain specialist like Dr Abbasi North Brunswick NJ, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan, which may include medications, injections, or other interventions.

Pain Management for Herniated Disc

Pain management for herniated disc is a critical aspect of treatment. The goal is to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals suffering from this condition. There are two primary approaches to consider: let’s check out herniated disc injections vs. surgery.

Herniated Disc Injections

Herniated disc injections are a non-surgical option for pain management. These injections are an outpatient procedure and the healthcare professionals typically consider these when conservative treatments like physical therapy, pain medications, and lifestyle modifications have not provided adequate relief. Let’s delve into the various types of injections used for herniated disc pain management:

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs):

Epidural steroid injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into the epidural space, reducing inflammation and pain around the herniated disc. Medical professionals often use ESIs to provide temporary relief from acute pain.

Facet Joint Injections:

Facet joints are small joints between the vertebrae, and when inflamed, they can contribute to the pain associated with herniated discs. These injections target and alleviate this pain by injecting a local anesthetic and steroid into the affected joint. Check Herniated Disc Specialists in New Jersey.

Nerve Root Block:

A nerve root block targets the specific nerve that is compressed or irritated due to the herniated disc. This procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication around the affected nerve to relieve pain.

Trigger Point Injections:

Medical professionals use trigger point injections to alleviate muscle spasms and pain associated with herniated discs. They involve injecting a local anesthetic and sometimes a steroid into the muscle trigger point.

Advantages of Herniated Disc Injections

Non-invasive: Injections are minimally invasive, involving a needle rather than major surgery.

Outpatient procedure: Injections can often be performed as outpatient procedures, allowing patients to return home the same day. Check why is my knee popping with every step?

Rapid relief: Patients may experience relief from pain shortly after receiving injections.

Lower risk of complications: Injections typically have fewer risks and complications compared to surgery.

Disadvantages of Herniated Disc Injections

Temporary relief: The pain relief achieved through injections is often temporary, and repeat injections may be necessary.

Limited efficacy: Injections may not provide long-term relief for all patients, and surgery may be needed eventually.

Surgery for Herniated Disc

Medical professionals consider surgical interventions for herniated disc pain management when conservative treatments and injections fail to provide adequate relief or in cases of severe neurological symptoms. They can use several surgical procedures to address a herniated disc, and the choice of procedure depends on individual patient factors. Let’s explore some common surgical options:


Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves the removal of the herniated disc material pressing on the nerve. This procedure aims to relieve pain and improve nerve function. Our knee pain specialists in New Jersey ensure they carry out personalized treatment that benefits you and aligns with your unique pain management needs.


A laminectomy involves the removal of a portion of the vertebral bone to create more space for the compressed nerve. Medical professionals perform this in more severe cases of herniated disc.

Spinal Fusion:

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae are fused together to stabilize the spine. It may be considered when the herniated disc has caused significant instability in the spine.

Artificial Disc Replacement:

Artificial disc replacement is a surgical procedure in which a damaged disc is replaced with an artificial implant. This procedure aims to maintain spinal mobility while providing pain relief. Here are some ways to quickly reduce swelling in the knee, that are worth adding to your Knee Journal

Advantages of Herniated Disc Surgery

Long-lasting relief: Surgery can provide long-term or even permanent relief from herniated disc pain.

Effective for severe cases: Surgery is often the best option for patients with severe symptoms or neurological deficits.

Address structural issues: Surgery can correct structural problems in the spine, such as instability or deformity.

Disadvantages of Herniated Disc Surgery

Invasive: Surgery is an invasive procedure that carries inherent risks and a longer recovery time.

Post-operative pain: Patients may experience pain and discomfort after surgery, and it can take time to fully recover. You can connect with Dr. Faheem Abbasi, MD, at New Jersey Pain Spine and Sports Associates for early intervention or treatment. 

Potential complications: Like any surgery, there are potential complications, such as infection, bleeding, or nerve injury.

Choosing the Right Approach

The choice between herniated disc injections and surgery depends on several factors, including the severity of your condition, the presence of neurological symptoms, and your overall health. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Severity of Symptoms:

If you are experiencing severe pain, muscle weakness, or numbness, surgery may be the most appropriate option to address the herniated disc and its associated symptoms. In less severe cases, injections may be sufficient to provide relief.

Response to Conservative Treatments:

Before considering surgery or injections, you should attempt conservative treatments such as physical therapy, pain medications, and lifestyle modifications. If these measures fail to provide relief, injections or surgery may be necessary.

Overall Health:

Your general health and any pre-existing medical conditions may impact your suitability for surgery. It’s essential to discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider to determine the safest and most effective approach.

Surgical Risks:

Surgery carries inherent risks, and these should be carefully weighed against the potential benefits. Discuss these risks with your surgeon to make an informed decision. Check can a swollen knee be dangerous?

Recovery Time:

Consider the recovery time associated with each treatment option. Injections generally have a shorter recovery period than surgery, which may require several weeks or months for a full return to normal activities.

Long-term Goals:

Think about your long-term goals and expectations for pain management. Surgery may offer the potential for lasting relief, while injections provide temporary relief that may need to be repeated.

Working with a Healthcare Provider

Making the right choice for herniated disc pain management is a complex decision that should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider. They will consider your specific circumstances, conduct a thorough evaluation, and help you understand the pros and cons of each treatment option. It’s crucial to communicate openly with your provider and ask any questions you may have.

Experience top-tier care for your herniated disc at New Jersey Pain, Spine, and Sports Associates, where Dr. Faheem Abbasi, a renowned knee pain specialist in New Jersey, leads the way in cutting-edge treatments. With a commitment to patient-centered care, we provide personalized solutions to alleviate your knee discomfort, allowing you to regain your active lifestyle. Dr. Abbasi’s expertise, combined with our state-of-the-art facilities, ensures you receive the highest quality treatment available.


Pain management for herniated disc is a critical aspect of treatment, and patients have several options to consider. Herniated disc injections offer a non-surgical approach that can provide effective pain relief, while surgery may be necessary in cases of severe symptoms or when other treatments have failed. The choice between these two approaches should be based on individual patient factors, in consultation with a healthcare provider. Ultimately, the goal is to find the most suitable and effective method for relieving pain and improving the overall quality of life for individuals with a herniated disc.

Editorial Team