Bulging disc recovery — what you should expect

Patients who undergo bulging disc surgery are often concerned about what to expect during the recovery period. While patients are given a general guideline of what to expect during the recovery process in terms of length and activity, the actual recovery time is largely dependent on several factors and can vary from patient to patient. These factors include:

  • The location of the bulging disc in the spinal column
  • The amount of disc degeneration present
  • The severity of the nerve compression causing pain and discomfort
  • How long symptoms have existed
  • The specific treatment plan used
  • The type of procedure performed

You can expect the surgeon to give you guidelines to follow during your recovery period to help you on your journey to wellness. These guidelines may vary depending on the severity of the bulging disc treated. For example, a person treated for a mild bulging disc may have a more active recovery period than someone treated for a severe bulging disc. This is because someone with a severe bulging disc most likely experienced a long period of inactivity due to the continual bulging disc pain and needs to ease back into an active lifestyle.

Physical therapy after bulging disc surgery

For some patients, physical therapy may be recommended during the recovery period to help increase the pain and symptom relief. Other patients may receive a guide for at-home activities and stretches to do to increase the spine’s strength and flexibility. Regardless of the activity you are advised to perform during your recovery period, you should always listen to your body in order to prevent overworking and injuring your muscles.

Returning to normal activity after bulging disc surgery

Remember, your body has had to compensate for the pain and symptoms of a bulging disc for several months or longer. Even if you feel complete pain relief after surgery, you should still gradually begin an exercise or activity routine to strengthen your muscles and get back into the habit of moving. If you feel any pain or discomfort during an activity, you should stop immediately and rest. If the pain persists, contact your doctor for medical advice.

For more information about what to expect following a bulging disc surgery, please contact our team at Laser Spine Institute today. Since 2005 we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief with our minimally invasive spine surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis. Our procedures offer patients a shorter recovery period with less risk of complication^ compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

We are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Browse Related Resources