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 vertebrae extends outside of the space that it normally occupies. This common condition is not necessarily a cause for concern as it often develops along with the natural aging process. A bulging disc is not always painful either and many people who have it are completely unaware of it.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, it may be because you saw a doctor about symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. Typically these issues are only traced to a bulging disc if the disc is pressing on the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root. While this may sound serious, treatment will typically begin with basic conservative treatment to manage symptoms while the progress of the condition is monitored.

Bulging disc treatment options

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

  • Limited periods of rest
  • A break from lifting and other activities that could potentially strain your spine
  • A weight management program, if necessary
  • Posture improvement
  • 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
  • Epidural steroid 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 doctor advises you to consider surgical bulging disc treatment to address persistent symptoms, you should be aware that a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure may not be your only option. As an alternative, the board-certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute can treat the painful symptoms of a bulging disc with minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery. To learn more contact us today.

If you’d like to find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your free MRI review.*

Browse Related Resources