2 min read. Posted in Low back

Two-thirds of herniated discs resolve on their own!

Written by Physio Network

Too many people think that once you have a disc herniation (or disc bulge), that you’ve got it for life.

Well, a recent meta-analysis (Zhong et al 2017) has shown that 2/3 of disc bulges spontaneously «heal» on their own! Many of them within a few months too, not years.


*MRI images showing healing from a disc herniation over 3 months


Here’s a summary of the paper:



“Lumbar disc herniation, a common disease, is often treated conservatively, frequently resulting in spontaneous resorption of the herniated disc. The incidence of this phenomenon, however, remains unknown.”



“To analyze the incidence of spontaneous resorption after conservative treatment of lumbar disc herniation using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.”


Study design:

Meta-analysis and systematic review of 11 cohort studies.



“A search was performed for the period from January 1990 to December 2015 using PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library. Two independent reviewers examined the relevant reports.”



“The overall incidence of spontaneous resorption after lumbar disc herniation was 66.66% (95% CI 51% – 69%).”



“Because the overall incidence of disc de-herniation is now 66.66% according to our results, conservative treatment may become the first choice of treatment for lumbar disc herniation.”


Study Reference

Zhong M, Liu JT, Jiang H, Mo W, Yu PF, Li XC, Xue RR. Incidence of Spontaneous Resorption of Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Meta-Analysis. Pain Physician. 2017 Jan-Feb;20(1):E45-E52. PMID: 28072796.


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