What are the treatments for a bulging disc in the neck?

There are many treatment options for a bulging disc in the neck and the majority are conservative in nature. Conservative (nonsurgical) therapies are typically the first line of treatment for the condition, considering that in many cases, the body can heal a bulging disc on its own. Unlike herniated discs, bulging discs have simply protruded out of their normal place in the spine. With a bulging disc, the exterior wall is still intact and the inner disc material has not spilled out into the spinal canal. While the displaced disc can cause pain and discomfort if it compresses a nerve root or the spinal cord, it’s common for the disc to return to its natural position eventually and for any related symptoms to subside.

Conservative and complimentary bulging disc treatments

Often, after making an initial diagnosis, a physician will recommend that a patient try one or more of the following conservative bulging disc treatment options:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Medicated lotions
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

Some individuals also choose to use complementary and alternative therapies, which fall outside the boundaries of traditional medicine. These options include yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic care and therapeutic massage.

Surgical treatment may be used as a last resort

For many patients, conservative and complimentary therapies can help alleviate symptoms while a bulging disc heals. However, there are some situations in which the condition does not heal on its own and symptoms persist after several months of treatment. In these cases, surgery might become a consideration.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer outpatient alternatives to open neck surgery. Our minimally invasive surgeries use muscle-sparing techniques and have no lengthy recovery periods^ as a result. We can help you determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive bulging disc procedures, which are performed by board-certified surgeons+ at our state-of-the-art surgery centers.

Browse Related Resources