Bulging Disc – Four Common Treatment Options

What is a Bulging Disc

A bulging disc occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc (the “nucleus pulpous”) becomes displaced and pushes against the outer wall of the disc (the “annulus fibrosis”). This causes the disc to “bulge” out of the spinal column. The resulting pressure on the surrounding nerve roots may cause pain, tingling, or muscle weakness extending into the extremities. The neck, shoulder, arms, and hands of the bulging disc are located in the cervical spine. The hips, buttocks, legs, and feet it is located in the lumbar spine. 

Your Treatment Options

You should not wait to seek treatment for a bulging disc, as it may eventually rupture, thereby becoming a herniated disc. A bulging disc can increase your risk of experiencing additional back problems in the future. If you haven’t been able to find any relief using conservative methods (such as resting, applying heat/ice, or taking pain relief medication, you may want to try one of the following common bulging disc treatment options as long as your doctor approves:

Physical Therapy

Many people turn to physical therapy to treat their bulging disc issues. Physical therapy may involve therapeutic exercises, stretching, massage therapy, joint mobilization, traction, heat/cold therapy, hydrotherapy, ultrasound therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. An added benefit is that the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist will strengthen and condition the muscles in your back and abdomen that support your spine. Also increasing flexibility and range of motion, thereby lowering the chances that your bulging discs will reappear in the future. 

Spinal Decompression Therapy

During spinal decompression therapy, you’ll lie on a motorized table. The doctor will slowly move to intermittently stretch and then relax your spine. This movement creates a negative intradiscal pressure that both encourages the bulging material to move back into place and allows healing nutrients to flow into the affected area. 

Chiropractic Treatment

A chiropractor can develop a customized treatment plan designed to address your unique condition. Possibly involving spinal adjustments, stretching, therapeutic exercises, ultrasound therapy, or traction. These techniques may relieve pressure on the bulging disc and surrounding nerves, thereby allowing the disc to heal itself.


Some people have found relief from bulging disc pain through acupuncture, an ancient Chinese technique involving placing thin needles into specific areas of the body to promote a healthy energy flow and encourage the release of pain-relieving endorphins. If you’re apprehensive to try acupuncture due to the fear of needles, you may want to try acupressure. It involves similar stimulation but without the use of needles. 

BEST Health System Can Help

If you haven’t been able to find relief using the above treatments you may want to consider surgery. BEST Health System’s minimally invasive bulging disc surgery is a safer and more effective alternative to open spine surgery. We can remove the portion of the bulging disc that’s causing you pain. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient procedures.