What is a Bulging Disc
Bulging discs in the spine are a very common occurrence. It is caused by the weakening or thinning of the tough outer layer of a disc. When the disc wall becomes weakened, the gel-like center of the disc bulges out of its intended space between the vertebrae and into the spinal canal.
Bulging discs are a common effect of aging, as they tend to weaken over time. However, the risk of developing this condition can be increased by many factors. These include obesity, sports, genetics, traumatic injury, and improper lifting. To learn about symptoms and treatments for a bulging disc, read the following article.
Bulging discs are generally not a cause of discomfort. For most people, issues arise when they start to push on a nerve root or the spinal cord itself. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of fine motor skills
The location of these symptoms largely depends on the location of the bulging disc since the nerves in different parts of the spine serve their own set of functions. For example, a bulging disc in the neck can affect the hands, arms, and shoulders while one in the lower back can cause symptoms in the legs, buttocks, and feet.
Conservative Treatment Options
In most cases, patients seeking relief from symptoms of a bulging disc will not need to undergo surgery. There are several conservative treatment options available to help manage the symptoms, including:
- Physical therapy
- Hot and cold compresses
- Pain medication
- Epidural steroid injections
- Weight management
Considering Surgical Treatment
When a patient’s symptoms do not improve with several weeks or months of conservative treatment, his or her doctor may recommend surgery to treat the bulging disc itself. While traditional open spine surgery generally entails a two to five-day hospital incision, BEST Health System offers minimally invasive procedures that are safer and more effective alternatives.
If you do not find adequate relief from your symptoms, contact BEST Health System to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures. Our board-certified surgeons can provide you with relief from your bulging disc by accessing the spine using a small muscle-sparing incision to carefully remove and replace it with an artificial disc and bone graft. To learn more about our procedures and find out if you are a potential candidate for our surgical procedure, reach out to our dedicated team today.