A disc protrusion, or bulging disc, can occur as part of the normal age-related breakdown of the discs of cartilage between the vertebrae, or bones of the spine. With aging, the usually pliable discs dehydrate and undergo protein changes, making them shrink and become brittle. The pressure caused by the vertebrae above and below the disc causes the gelatinous inner material to push outward and press upon the weakened walls of the fibrous outer layer. As a result, the fibrous outer wall may protrude or bulge. This protrusion or bulge into the spinal canal can potentially impinge upon the spinal cord or a nerve root, causing pain at the site of impingement, as well as pain, weakness, numbness, muscle spasms and tingling in the extremities. Non-surgical disc protrusion treatments range from easy, at-home options to more involved alternatives. Consult your physician before starting any treatment plan.
- Medication – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and other types of over-the-counter or prescription medications will combat pain and inflammation at the site of the disc protrusion.
- Rest – Continuing to put strain on your neck or back (sitting, standing, twisting, bending and lifting for prolonged periods) will only exacerbate a condition. Take a few minutes several times each day to lie down on your back with pillows under your knees to relieve the pressure.
- Physical therapy – In many cases, physical therapy will help people learn proper techniques for stretching and strengthening back muscles. This will increase blood flow and distribute nutrients to the muscles, ligaments and joints.
- Chiropractic therapy – Seeing a chiropractor, a specialist in spinal manipulation, may be an effective treatment for neck and back pain.
- Epidural steroid injections – Injections distribute medication directly to or near the site of nerve impingement, helping to reduce inflammation and pain around the area.
Seek alternative treatments
Perhaps conservative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic therapy or steroidal injections have provided little or no relief from your disc protrusion symptoms. If this is your situation, contact the orthopedic specialists at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures and progressive techniques have helped tens of thousands of patients find relief from neck and back pain. Schedule a complimentary initial consultation today.