BioScience Trends. 2017;11(4):406-417. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2017.01199)

A narrative review of non-operative treatment, especially traditional Chinese medicine therapy, for lumbar intervertebral disc herniation.

Zhang B, Xu HD, Wang JT, Liu B, Sun GD


Lumbar intervertebral disc herniation (LIDH), as the main contributor to low back pain and sciatica, imposes a heavy burden on both the individual and society. Non-operative treatment or conservative treatment has proven effective in alleviation of the symptoms of LIDH and are considered to be a first-line choice for most cases. Active lifestyle, physical therapy, complementary and alternative medicine therapy or Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy, and pharmacotherapy are routinely used as effective non-operative treatment for LIDH patients. However, how to choose one or several conservative treatments with higher efficacy, less side effects, minimal injury, and low cost is still a challenge for doctors and LIDH patients. Furthermore, there are some national characteristics for some conservative treatments in different countries, which bring difficulties for the widespread use of these methods. Here we initiated a search on the non-operative treatment especially TCM therapy for LIDH mainly using PubMed, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Internet (CNKI), and Chinese biomedicine database since the 1980s with no restriction of language. According to these related references, we gave a narrative review which emphasizes up-to-date knowledge regarding the effectiveness and safety of various conservative methods with special consideration for TCM therapy including acupuncture, autonomy, Chinese massage, and Chinese herbal medicines, for LIDH treatment. We hope this review will further contribute to an understanding of conservative treatment as an important choice for LIDH patients and provide useful information for the development of more effective conservative methods for LIDH treatment.

KEYWORDS: Lumbar intervertebral disc herniation (LIDH), low back pain, sciatica, non-operative treatment, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy

Full Text: