A small number of patients who have suffered from a herniated disc will not respond to conservative measures such as massage, exercise, or steroid injections. These usually have gone for several weeks and have just not tolerated the pain from the nerve root compression. A very small number of patients have a huge tear (herniation) and become bedbound, with weakness in the muscles supplied by the compressed nerve, requiring early surgery (in the first week or so). In essence, it is the large herniations with clear signs of nerve root compression (leg pain, weakness in the leg muscles) and/or numbness that benefit from a disc procedure.

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