What is a Bulging Disc in the Neck?
A bulging disc in the neck occurs when an intervertebral disc in the upper, or cervical, spine is damaged and weakened to the point that it protrudes outward. If the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root is compressed by bulging disc material, uncomfortable symptoms can arise in various areas of the body. Nerve root compression symptoms can include pain, numbness and tingling or “pins-and-needles” sensations that are typically localized in the neck, chest, arms and hands. Additionally, if the spinal cord is compressed in the cervical region, symptoms can include leg weakness and walking difficulties.
This article will review some of the common complications of a bulging disc in the neck, and also provide some simple methods for relieving the associated pain and discomfort. However, the information presented here is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice from a qualified physician. You should not attempt any new medication or exercise regimen without first consulting with a physician.
Possible complications of a bulging disc
If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc in the neck, you might be able to take some precautions to slow down the deterioration and prevent the condition from worsening into a herniated disc. Herniation occurs when a disc’s protruding outer wall actually gives way and tears, allowing some of its gel-like inner core to escape its confines. This can lead to complications, such as disc pain and inflammation of surrounding nerve tissue. While both bulging discs and herniated discs are highly treatable — approximately 90 percent of all cases are resolved without surgical intervention — it’s best to take some steps to help prevent bulging discs and herniated discs.
At-home remedies for a bulging disc
Usually, a physician will prescribe an initial course of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce painful swelling around nerve roots and the spinal cord. A physician also might recommend targeted exercises designed to improve the posture and stability of the spine. For example, many patients find a combination of stretching, weight training and exercise to be very effective. Your physician might also suggest ergonomic changes designed to provide more support to your neck and head as you sit, work, drive and sleep.
If surgery becomes necessary
If your symptoms persist or worsen following several weeks or months of conservative treatment, you might be advised to consider surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages over traditional open spine surgery for a bulging disc in the neck. Contact us today to learn more about our proven minimally invasive advantages and to speak with our experts who review MRIs.