"People deal with disc herniations every day and we don't operate on them," said Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, chief of neurosurgery service at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta. "We actually take care of most of them non-operatively."
"The initial treatment is rest, ice and/or heat -- whichever feels better for the patient," said Dr. Stuart Kahn, director of spine and pain rehabilitation at The Spine Institute of NY at Beth Israel Medical Center.
Treatments also include pain medications, muscle relaxants and physical therapy. If limb weakness occurs, doctors will try steroids. If the pain, weakness or numbness gets worse or persists, surgery may be an option.
"But once a disc is ruptured, the part that oozes out can shrivel and shrink, but the disc will never heal," said Kahn.
In Grey's case, Bray said he will wait and see if the epidural steroid injections keep the pain away. If not, he may try a second injection.
"From there, if we can get by with epidurals, the rupture will shrink in time. If the pain persists, she'll have surgery to fix it," said Bray.
Perhaps most importantly, Grey needs to put her dancing shoes away -- at least for now.
"Now, I recommend she slow down and take time to breathe and heal," said Bray.