What is a bulging disc and how do I seek treatment?

Bulging disc treatment can usually provide the relief a patient needs without spine surgery. A bulging disc occurs when one of the soft discs that separates and cushions the spinal bones swells outside of the space that it normally occupies. This common condition is not necessarily a cause for concern; it often develops along with the natural aging process, and many people who have it are completely unaware of it.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, it’s probably because you saw a physician about symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. Typically, this type of discomfort is traced to a bulging disc only if the disc is pressing on the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root. While this may sound serious, many people are surprised to learn that it does not always require treatment; in fact, the resulting symptoms often resolve on their own with time. That’s why many physicians initially recommend a “wait and watch” period or a simple regimen of home remedies for bulging disc treatment.

Bulging disc treatment options

Depending on the location of your bulging disc, the type and severity of your symptoms and your personal preferences, your physician might advise you to try one or more of the following conservative bulging disc treatment options:

  • A limited period of rest
  • A break from lifting and other activities that could potentially strain your spine
  • Weight loss (if necessary)
  • Postural improvements
  • Ice packs and heating pads
  • Stretching techniques to enhance your spinal flexibility
  • A targeted physical therapy program designed to strengthen the muscles that support your spine
  • Pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Epidural steroid (cortisone) injections

Additionally, some patients explore complementary and alternative treatments to find relief from their symptoms:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Spinal decompression therapy using a traction table or other similar device

Bulging disc surgery

If your physician advises you to consider surgical bulging disc treatment to address persistent symptoms, you should be aware that a highly invasive open spine procedure may not be your only option. For instance, at Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons can treat the painful symptoms of a bulging disc through a minimally invasive, outpatient approach. To learn more and find out if you’re a candidate, contact us today. Our team will review* your MRI report at no cost.

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