What other treatment options should you consider before bulging disc surgery?
Bulging disc surgery is not necessarily required to effectively address symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling sensations and muscle weakness. This relatively common condition develops when one of the soft discs that separate and cushion the vertebrae becomes damaged and swells past its boundaries. Oftentimes, this occurs due to age-related degeneration and is not necessarily a cause for concern. In fact, many people who have the condition are unaffected by — and even completely unaware of — the injury.
If you were diagnosed with a bulging disc, you probably experienced discomfort that prompted you to seek medical attention. Your physician likely traced your symptoms to a nerve root that is being pressured by an out-of-place disc. Even though this might sound serious, there is a chance that you may not require formal treatment, mainly because bulging disc symptoms often go away on their own. Prior to discussing any type of bulging disc surgery, your physician will probably recommend a “wait and watch” approach or a simple program of home remedies that you can use to manage your symptoms as needed.
Nonsurgical treatment options
Depending on the location of your bulging disc, the type and severity of your symptoms and your own personal preferences, your physician may suggest that you try one or more of the following conservative treatment options before you give any serious thought to bulging disc surgery:
- A few days of rest
- A short break from physical activities that could strain your spine
- Weight loss (if necessary)
- Postural improvement
- Cold compresses
- A heating pad
- Stretches to enhance your spinal flexibility
- Exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your spine
- Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
The next steps
In the event that your discomfort worsens or lasts beyond four to six weeks, your physician may discuss epidural steroid injections or bulging disc surgery. If you decide to have surgery, you should know that a highly invasive open spine procedure may not be your only option. In many cases, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute can treat the painful symptoms of a bulging disc with minimally invasive outpatient surgery.
To learn more and find out if you’re a candidate, contact us today.