What should I do if I think I have a bulging disc?

A bulging disc can be a painful experience. Discs of cartilage lie between the bones of the spine, or vertebrae. These pliable discs have a strong outer layer of cartilage with a gel-like interior and serve to allow the spine maximum flexible movement. The discs lose water over time, becoming less pliable and more brittle. This can then allow the inner disc material to bulge through a weakened area of the disc and into the spinal column. If this bulge occurs near a nerve root or the spinal cord, it will inflame the location, and you may experience severe neck and back pain.

While many people have a bulging disc and exhibit no painful symptoms, it is important to know what you can do if you think you have one.

A few treatment options

  • Give it time –Pain may subside over time as the inflamed area heals, which may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months with proper rest
  • Try over-the-counter medications – A pain medication available at your local drug store can help alleviate the initial symptoms of pain that a bulging disc causes.
  • Call a professional – Severe, debilitating pain can be caused by a bulging disc. It may be best to allow your physician to do a physical exam and/or an MRI or CT scan to confirm the problem and suggest further treatment options, such as physical therapy or injections.

Make an informed decision

In some cases, you may not find relief by waiting for the pain to subside, nor through other conservative forms of treatment. Another option is to contact Laser Spine Institute. Our effective outpatient procedures use advanced, minimally invasive techniques and have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain.

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