How to treat bulging discs

A bulging disc can seriously disrupt your life. The pain, numbness and loss of mobility caused by this condition can make work difficult and take you away from family time, exercise or hobbies — whether that means gardening or golf. Treatment options usually begin with more conservative methods, but surgery can also become necessary depending on the situation. It can be very beneficial to learn as much as you can about the full range of treatments available to you in order to have the best chance of finding lasting pain relief and a return to your normal lifestyle.

A bulging disc occurs when the outer wall of a spinal disc weakens — usually due to natural aging or an injury — pushing the softer interior against the wall and making the disc bulge out between the vertebrae. This can cause pain, tingling, numbness and loss of mobility if the bulge compresses the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root.

Conservative treatment options

If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, your physician should first recommend an approach consisting of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. For many patients, these treatments are able to effectively relieve symptoms and bring a return to regular activity. Techniques and recommendations your physician may prescribe include:

  • Over-the-counter Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Rest
  • Lifestyle changes, like a diet and exercise plan or quitting smoking
  • Application of hot and cold compresses
  • Physical therapy

When conservative treatment is not enough

While the above options are proven to be effective, you may be in a situation where weeks and months of conservative treatment has not brought acceptable pain relief. At this point, you and your doctor may begin to discuss whether surgery may be best for you. Although traditional open back surgery does work to relieve symptoms of bulging discs for many patients, there are downsides, such as scarring, overnight hospitalization and a relatively long rehabilitation.

If you are concerned about some of the risks associated with traditional open spine surgery, reach out to Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery options. Our highly skilled surgeons treat bulging discs with both minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to relieve symptoms of bulging discs with smaller, muscle-sparing incisions that dramatically reduce recovery time^ and infection rates. For a review of your MRI report and to find out if we can help you get your life back with these outpatient procedures, contact us today.