Bulging Disc – Treatment to Consider Before Surgery

Bulging disc surgery is not necessarily required to 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. 

Often, 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 will trace your symptoms to a nerve root under pressure due to 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 short 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 Step

In the event that your condition worsens or lasts beyond four to six weeks, your physician may discuss epidural 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. 

Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott can treat the painful symptoms of bulging discs with minimally invasive outpatient surgery. Minimally invasive means we use a less than one-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques. In turn, this reduces the recovery period and eliminates the need for an overnight hospital stay. 

Our newly installed MRI can help determine if you are a good candidate for our procedures. If you’d like to learn more, contact BEST Health System today!