A bulging disc operation is a procedure that aims to reduce the stress put on the sensitive spinal nerves caused by an intervertebral disc that has shifted and extruded into the spinal canal. Because the nerve system of the spine delivers sensation to every other part of the body, any stress on those nerves can cause symptoms in the legs, arms, shoulders, hands, or feet, as well as in the back.
Those symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. When it becomes severe, a bulging disc operation may be an option worth exploring. However, since it does come with some risks, doctors generally suggest that you try more conservative treatments first. These can include rest, mild exercise, hot and cold compresses, over-the-counter pain medications, and epidural cortisone injections.
Alternative therapies for bulging disc, such as acupuncture or chiropractic treatment, are also sometimes suggested prior to surgery. During an acupuncture treatment, an acupuncturist inserts long, thin needles into certain locations in the body to improve energy flow and reduce symptoms. Chiropractic treatment involves realigning the vertebrae in the back to reduce pressure on the bulging disc.
If conservative or alternative treatment options aren’t effective in reducing your pain, your doctor may suggest a bulging disc operation, which is commonly referred to as discectomy. This would be a traditional, open-back surgery done under general anesthesia. The surgery aims to completely or partially remove the disc that is putting pressure on the spinal nerves. You should know that this procedure can include an increased risk of infection, long recovery periods, and 4-5 inch incisions.
Luckily, you do have other options. The experts at Laser Spine Institute have pioneered a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive endoscopic procedure, called a percutaneous endoscopic discectomy, that can treat your bulging disc pain on an outpatient basis. Contact us today for more information or a free review of your MRI or CT scan.