Bulging disc diagnosis — overview and treatment

Receiving an accurate bulging disc diagnosis from a medical professional is an important part of treatment if you believe your neck or back pain is related to this condition. This is because there are many different conditions that can cause similar symptoms and also because each patient’s individual circumstances can affect treatment. To have the best chance of finding long-term relief and the ability to live a healthy and active lifestyle requires working closely with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Visiting your doctor for a diagnosis

If you experience neck or back pain that lasts for more than several days or is causing you severe discomfort, it is a good idea to visit your primary care doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. Typically, the diagnostic process involves the following steps:

  • Reviewing your medical history. Many degenerative spine conditions are thought to be influenced by genetics, so a physician may also ask about your family history.
  • Questions about your symptoms. Your doctor will also likely ask questions about the specific symptoms, origin and location of the pain to get a better understanding of the condition.
  • A physical examination. The goal of this exam is to pinpoint the source of your discomfort and also test range of motion to get a sense of the extent of the problem.
  • Diagnostic testing. Your doctor may recommend that you receive an MRI, CT scan or X-ray to confirm the bulging disc diagnosis and ensure that another underlying problem isn’t to blame for the symptoms.

The goal of bulging disc treatment

Initial treatment usually aims to relieve pain, improve range of motion and take pressure off the spine to relieve nerve compression. Common therapies include rest, medication, low-impact exercises, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections and massage. In the event that these and other conservative treatments do not provide needed relief after being fully explored, spine surgery may be considered. Rather than consenting to a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the many benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery, including a reduced risk of infection and a shorter recovery time.^

We are happy to offer a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.

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