Symptoms and treatments for a bulging disc

Bulging discs in the spine are a very common occurrence caused by the weakening or thinning of the tough outer layer of a disc that gives each disc its shape. When the disc wall becomes weakened, the gel-like center of the disc bulges out of its intended space in between the vertebrae and into the spinal canal.

Bulging discs are a common effect of aging, as the discs tend to weaken over time. However, the risk of developing bulging discs can be increased by many other factors, such as obesity, sports, genetics, traumatic injury and improper lifting. To learn about the symptoms and treatments for a bulging disc, read the following article.

Bulging disc symptoms

Bulging discs are generally not a cause of discomfort. For most people, issues arise when the bulging disc starts to push on a nerve root or the spinal cord itself. This can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of fine motor skills

The location of these symptoms largely depends on the location of the bulging disc, since the nerves in different parts of the spine serve various parts of the body. For example, a bulging disc in the neck can affect the hands, arms and shoulders, while one in the lower back can cause symptoms in the legs, buttocks and feet.

Conservative treatment for bulging discs

In most cases, patients seeking relief from symptoms of a bulging disc will not need to undergo surgery. There are several conservative treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of bulging discs, including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Weight management

Surgical treatment for bulging discs

When a patient’s symptoms do not improve with several weeks or months of conservative treatment, his or her doctor may recommend surgery to treat the bulging disc itself. While traditional open spine surgery generally entails a two- to five-day hospital stay, a recovery period between six months to a year and a 6- to 8-inch incision, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive procedures that are safer and effective alternatives.^

If you do not find adequate relief from your bulging disc symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or to schedule a free MRI review.* Since 2005, our procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our board-certified surgeons+ can provide you with relief from your bulging disc by accessing the spine using a small muscle-sparing incision to carefully remove and replace the disc with an artificial disc and bone graft. To learn more about our procedures and find out if you are a potential candidate for our bulging disc surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today.

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