A bulging disc in the neck can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms vary from patient to patient, even if the nerve root undergoing compression is the same. A localized pain in the cervical or upper spine may be sharp and stabbing or dull and radiating. In both cases the discomfort can be intense enough to make turning your head, for example, difficult or impossible. Other common symptoms include headaches, blurry vision, shoulder pain, a loss of fine motor skills in the fingers, a weakened grip and numbness, and tingling, or burning sensations anywhere along the path of the affected nerve.
Bulging Disc Treatment
If you suspect you have a bulging disc in your neck, the first step is to discuss the matter with your primary care physician, who will conduct an in-office examination and order one or more imaging tests to determine the exact location of the compressed nerve root. Once this has been determined a treatment strategy can be devised to help manage or alleviate your symptoms. Conservative therapies for a bulging disc in the neck may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – either over-the-counter or prescribed
- Physical therapy and exercise – to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility
- Cervical traction – to reduce pressure on the nerve root
- Chiropractic manipulation – to address vertebral misalignments
- Wearing a brace or collar – to stabilize the neck
- Cervical epidural steroid injections – to relieve pain and reduce swelling
- Posture modification – to keep the spine in proper alignment
In many cases, patients can achieve significant pain relief through a combination of these treatment options. Sometimes, however, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on a nerve root. Depending on the severity of the compression, removing a portion of the bulging disc can relieve symptoms. It can also be done by increasing the opening through which the nerve passes as it exits the spinal canal. Lastly, removing the disc altogether and fusing the two adjacent vertebrae into one is another way to reduce symptoms.
How BEST Can Help Your Symptoms
At BEST Health system, we are a leader in minimally invasive surgeries which require an incision that is typically less than an inch and is a safer and more effective alternative to open back surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc and conservative strategies have failed to sufficiently reduce or eliminate your symptoms, you may be a candidate for one of our outpatient surgeries.
Contact us today to learn more!